My closest friend, Roland, is an elementary school teacher in Compton, California. He feels strongly, as an educator, that it is essential that students get back to learning-- and that means in person. He keeps telling me that remote learning isn't working for the vast majority of his students, not even a little. He is a big advocate of reopening the schools. He is also a big advocate of staying healthy and alive. He's the only person I know who wears three masks. He is offended when self-serving politicians talk about opening the school without make the environment safe for teachers and staff as well as for students.
On Saturday, CNN reported how just two days after San Diego schools reopened for in-person instruction, "about 100 students and staff across the district were ordered to quarantine due to COVID-19 infections reported across various K-8th grade campuses-- raising questions about whether schools in the region are ready to reopen their doors... In Escondido, 8,700 students across 23 campuses were enrolled in their hybrid model learning program that began Tuesday, with students divided into cohorts and attending school in-person at different portions of the day. Yet, despite those measures, seven individuals tested positive across various Escondido school sites and attended in an infectious state, resulting in the quarantine of 81 students and 15 staff members."
One concern I have is how the worst politicians in the country-- this story in Education Week highlights Josh Hawley and Mitch McConnell, but it could just as easily be California's slimy neo-Liberal governor, Gavin Newsom. "Republican senators are growing impatient with schools that aren’t holding in-person classes," wrote Andrew Ujifusa, "and are using the COVID-19 relief package being negotiated in Congress to put public pressure on them. Their efforts-- including budget amendments from GOP members of the Senate education committee and comments from the Senate minority leader-- might not have a direct impact on negotiations over more coronavirus relief for schools... But pressure from Republicans, and Biden’s own drive to reopen most K-8 schools within 100 days of his inauguration, could indicate that whatever help for remote learning becomes available in the weeks and months ahead, in-person learning could continue to dominate the national conversation about K-12 schools and the pandemic. Already, fights over school reopening have pitted unions against district leaders in cities including Chicago. And San Francisco has sued its own school district to force it to reopen. Democrats, particularly at the state and local level, aren’t necessarily opposed to efforts to resume in-person learning. Yet national survey data doesn’t clearly show that the public has turned decisively against teachers and teachers’ unions due to school closures during the pandemic. If nothing else, Republicans’ comments will add to the political maelstrom surrounding the decisions of more than 13,000 school districts making decisions about remote, hybrid, and regular classes-- although many schools are already holding in-person learning."
There are few senators more blatantly opportunistic than Marco Rubio (R-FL) and last month he was bellowing that "not one penny of taxpayer COVID money should go to schools that want to get paid not to work" while students are at home and "falling behind academically." I know every school district does it their own way but in Compton, the teachers already work inside the school every day, 5 days a week and it is only the students who are working remotely. Rubio has always been bag of flatulence.
On Wednesday, during his Senate conformation hearing, Biden Education secretary-designate Miguel Cardona "promised senators that 'we will work to reopen schools safely,' but said many disadvantaged students will need more support to help them academically and otherwise.
The same day, I heard a big problem though, coming out of the idiot director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rochelle Walensky, who stated that "vaccinating teachers isn’t a prerequisite for reopening schools safely." She should be fired and replaced this afternoon. Fortunately White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki quickly followed up by saying that Walensky’s comments did not represent official CDC policy.
This morning, USA Today reported that one cowardly governor, neoliberal shit-stain Gavin "French Laundry" Newsom, who is about to be recalled for how badly he mishandled the pandemic said, broke with the teachers unions and said "If we wait for the perfect, we might as well just pack it up and just be honest with folks that we're not going to open for in-person instruction in the school year" because he opposes waiting for teachers to be vaccinated before opening schools.
Teachers say they feel especially vulnerable when the virus is running rampant in a community, but health experts don’t agree on exactly what that means. “We don’t know a definite threshold,” said Dr. Neha Nanda, medical director of infection prevention and antimicrobial stewardship at Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California.
In Montgomery, Alabama, four educators died within 48 hours in January, spurring the city’s district to go remote starting Feb. 1.
“We have educators who are dying from this. We know they’re taking it home,” said Theron Stokes, associate executive director of the Alabama Education Association teachers union.
...Decisions about returning to school have often been driven by ideology in the absence of firm scientific guidance about community spread. Politics plays as big a role as health, said Bree Dusseault, practitioner-in-residence at the Center on Reinventing Education, a nonpartisan research center that has tracked 477 school districts since March.
“Because the pandemic became so politicized, districts found themselves in political debates in their own communities.”
For instance, some politically motivated decisions to reopen schools were made despite dangerous surges in COVID-19 cases over the summer. In Texas, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott told schools in July they’d have to transition to in-person education after the state attorney general declared “sweeping” school closures unlawful. In Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis threatened to withhold state funding from schools that did not reopen in person. In Democratic strongholds such as New Jersey and Chicago, powerful unions have protested and delayed school reopenings.
...[T]he Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest in the country, has taken a number of measures, including installing upgraded air filters, purchasing an ionized cleaning system to sanitize surfaces and rearranging furniture in classrooms, said Kelly Gonez, president of the school board.
But like the local and state teachers unions and the district superintendent, Gonez believes the spread of COVID-19 in the region must be addressed first.
“Once the broader COVID conditions are in a safer place in the community, I think we will be ready,” Gonez said. “We have the protocols in place to do this successfully.” On Wednesday, the local American Academy of Pediatrics chapter countered that schools should reopen immediately because the social isolation, anxiety and lack of structure are “causing undue harm” to children.
“‘Safe’ is a relative term,” said Schleiss, the Minnesota professor. “Continuing to attend school with careful monitoring is reasonable. We don’t want the perfect to be the enemy of the good.”
Another idiot who probably has already been vaccinated. It was easy to blame Trump for everything-- and he deserves much blame-- but with him gone, we can see other useless political hacks-- Newsom just being one of the most obvious-- who have been unable to get teachers vaccinated because of their own lack of competence and grotesque inability to lead. Getting teachers vaccinated is hardly some unattainable "perfect" and any politicians who say so should face the same kind of career-ending recall Newsom is about to experience. The new variants are rapidly spreading across this country now and any politicians who rush into premature openings of schools, are going to be responsible for lots of deaths.