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EbeneMagazine – US – New York to close schools


The country’s largest school system is on the verge of closing classrooms as coronavirus cases increase.

New York City, once the global epicenter of the pandemic, has community infection rates well below those of most countries, but the numbers are climbing rapidly. On Friday, the seven-day test’s positivity rate rose to 2.8 percent. If that rate reaches 3%, schools are supposed to close, and Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that could happen as early as Monday.

“This decision – which is now seen by some city hall officials as a question of when, not if – would be perhaps the most significant setback to the city’s recovery to date,” wrote our colleague Eliza Shapiro , which covers the New York City Schools.

Hundreds of thousands of parents (including Adam, who has two young daughters in public school) have cobbled together ways to send their children to class during this fractured school year, even for a few days a week.

For many, the impending reversal is a blow. Schools showed exceptionally few infections and positivity rates well below the city average. And, as regular readers of this newsletter know, experts say children, especially those of primary school age, are not at high risk of spreading the virus.

“You are less likely to meet an infected person in a school than you would be outside of school, and not just a little but a lot,” Dr. Jay Varma, the mayor’s senior public health adviser, said last month.

And the evidence that eating indoors is a high-risk activity has continued to grow. Crowded restaurants, gyms, cafes and other indoor venues that accommodate adults likely accounted for eight in 10 new infections in the early months of the U. S. coronavirus outbreak, according to new analysis using phone mobility data laptops from 10 US cities from March to May.

But in New York City – and other cities across the country that have closed schools or delayed reopening – restaurants, bars and gyms remain open.

“The fact that New York City public schools have to shut down because the city and state felt they should just let people dine inside and work out in a gym, all that which we need to know how much our society values ​​public education, “our colleague Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote on Twitter,” especially when it comes to low-income black & brown children. ”

There is no simple solution to the dilemma. Teachers are understandably worried about contracting the coronavirus at work. Their unions are firmly committed to the city following through on its promise to close schools if the virus rates cross a threshold.

But officials must also strike a balance between the livelihoods of restaurateurs and other service sector workers, many of whom are low-income and of color, and attempts to save lives during the pandemic. Policymakers also need to weigh the survival of today’s economy against the education of a generation of children, as Eliza and our colleague Sharon Otterman reported today.

Nonetheless, Eliza and Sharon wrote: “The city seems to be heading towards a new, jarring status quo, requiring hundreds of thousands of children to learn in front of their laptops even as New Yorkers are still making reservations for the. dine inside. ”

Bottom Line: New York City may soon crack down on children’s movement and learning ability, even if adults are spreading the virus. “Ending face-to-face teaching now would be a mistake,” the Times editorial board wrote this week in an op-ed titled “New York City needs to take a break from classroom meals.”

The cost: e-learning has had serious consequences for the academic progress and mental health of students, for the lives and livelihoods of their parents, and for the rate at which cities and countries may begin to grow. recover from the health and economic disasters virus had unleashed.

The global context: Many Western European countries have prioritized keeping classrooms open over bars and restaurants, although cases are increasing. NPR wrote a smart analysis of how Europe did it.

“I felt like I was trapped in my own little house and everyone was far away,” Aya Raji, a 14-year-old student in Brooklyn, told our colleague Emma Goldberg. “I was so alone. All the sad things I used to clean up, I realized I couldn’t erase them anymore. ”

Before the pandemic, she took classes, organized movie nights for friends, and did kick-flips with her skate club. Then when the schools closed, she stayed at home. Nothing could distract her from the grim news, as she stared at her laptop for hours on end during virtual lessons. She stayed awake until 4 a.m. mr. , his mind races with anxiety.

“A lot of adults think it’s easy for teens,” she said. “But it hits us the hardest. ”

A recent study found that nearly a third of 3,300 high school students reported feeling miserable or depressed in recent months. Warning signs include severe risky behavior, significant weight loss, excessive drug or alcohol use and drastic changes in mood, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

An Academic Perspective: “Students in desperate need of mental health resources during a global pandemic have been left in the dark,” wrote Bridget Early and Andrew Favakeh, student journalists at Butler University, in an opinion piece on the mental health effects of quarantine.

The Ivy League has canceled all athletic competitions this winter and postponed the spring season, Eugenio Garza García reported for The Yale Daily News.

As cases escalate, the University of Connecticut has placed all dorms in quarantine a week before students plan to return home for Thanksgiving and the rest of the semester, Ashley Anglisano reported for The Daily Campus.

Tulane University is working with a local hotel to house quarantined students. At least 60 students who have tested positive are there, and there is room for more than 150 more, Gabby Abrams reported for The Tulane Hullabaloo.

Syracuse University in New York has moved online classes as cases soar, ending in-person classes early for the semester, Michael Sessa reported for The Daily Orange.

After weeks of single-digit cases, the University of West Virginia reported more than 60 positive test results over a three-day period last weekend. Social gatherings and coronavirus fatigue are to blame, a Duncan Slade reported for The Daily Athenaeum.

Good read: When students at Loyola University in New Orleans test positive, they get a call from another student. A team of eight student-employees is responsible for calling infected peers to perform contact tracing. Now the cases are increasing. “It has been absolute chaos,” a student plotter told Emma Ruby at the Maroon. “It went from four to five calls a day to 26 or 27 calls. I have been working for 15 minutes and called 11 people. ”

New Jersey does not yet plan to close its 3,000 schools, the state governor said Thursday. But some individual districts will suspend in-person learning until 2021. Others have had to switch to learning. remotely as many staff are in quarantine.

In Bellevue, Wash. , a small group of parents and students gathered to protest the closure of schools. “I want my teachers to know that I am having difficulty in school and that I need help,” said a 15-year-old.

In Boston, students at four public schools may be able to return to class on Monday, although the teachers’ union has yet to approve the plan.

Chronic absenteeism increased 89% among elementary school students in 11 districts in California, compared to the same period last year, reported The 74.

Rising cases in Minnesota have kept teachers out of classrooms. Now schools are struggling to find substitute teachers, although classroom transmission is less than what experts feared.

A good read: the pandemic is tearing education apart. Erika Christakis, an early childhood educator, writes in The Atlantic that distance learning exposes in-person education issues that have harmed students for years.

Our colleague Dani Blum asked parents across the country what raising children was like during the pandemic. The health crisis started when Cece Flores’ son was 4 months old. Since then, they have barely left their Montreal neighborhood.

“From the moment I wake up until the moment my son falls asleep, I’m just over him,” she said. “I don’t really have a lot of time for myself. It’s just 100% parental. ”

New York, school, Bill de Blasio, coronavirus

EbeneMagazine – United StatesNew York is on the verge of closing schools

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