Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/02/22/politicizing-schools-and-science-again
Remote learning most definitely increases the tendency toward inequity in educational outcomes as disadvantaged households do not possess the resources to “compete” with those that may be able to provide a screen and a high speed connection for each learner therein. As the issue of bringing back in-school learning proceeds, I hope that this issue is kept in mind. In addition to a likely paucity of electronic resources, disadvantaged households are in more need of affordable daycare (school) and subsidized nutrition resources. The pandemic has re-revealed great built-in inequities between the haves and the have-nots in our rather lumpy melting pot.
Suggesting that, in essence, “babysitting” is the most valuable contribution of the nation’s highly skilled and educated teachers is beyond offensive to those very professionals who, from the beginning of the outbreak, quickly and creatively figured out ways to educate youngsters via Zoom and other video conferencing platforms in order to slow the spread of the virus.
Ah yes: babysitting. One of those thorny issues everyone understands, without anyone being allowed to say it out loud, because in our incendiary horrorshow of sponsored media noise substituting for public discourse, any mention of that word gets ground into more grist for the war-against-public-education mill, further absurdities to promote a mythical conflict between teachers and parents, over Covid.
You’ve heard of the school board’s open-mic moment, with that word, leading to another sickening episode of this, the most depressing comedy show to ever continuously run. In USA, the perplexities of schools in dealing with Covid are just a microcosm of shockingly lethal inequalities drenching our communities.
There is no scientific evidence that politicians give a flying fuck about science, other than to serve their own agendas
Gratifying to see, moderation checking-out pertinent links, we’re no longer permitted to post. It’s pretty spooky to read all the Panglossian, cherry-picked obfuscation & lies, both in media and the blog-aggregators, spinning already complex experiences of all the countries that’d seriously tried to re-open schools, over the preceding year, using similar types of purported oversite. Correlation might not be causation, but the resulting community spread events were muddled by simultaneously reopening restaurants, bars, houses of worship; basically all the enclosed, long duration contact, insufficiently ventilated venues; specifically discouraged from the very first East Asian epidemiologist’s cautionary studies (that several of us have cited in links, posted here, repeatedly). Now, that the consistently astute, prescient clinicians & researchers have been repeatedly & cynically ignored by both parties, media, employers, unions and we’re about to be innundated by a panoply of virulent, mutated strains, likely to predominate exponentially over the coming weeks; well, Biden was obviously candid about “nothing, fundementally changing?” Going to be a real scary spring.
~https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-02-19/cuomo-s-covid-19-death-count-problem-goes-beyond-nursing-homes (Bloomberg after Cuomo? Wonder why?)
“…I often get the impression that political leaders want schools to reopen for in-person instruction because they need childcare for workers in order to jump start the economy…”
Bingo!! We have a winner. And still no discussion about HEPA filters in our schools, proving politicians don’t give a dam about our kids lives.
Nobody’s really arguing, there’s not AMPLE need to cope with special-needs and radically underserved kids: urban AND rural; along with the obvious: kids will simply have to acquire immunity through exposure, since no appropriate vaccine is available. But sending millions of EXCEEDINGLY vulnerable adults with tens-of-millions close contacts into poorly ventilated, hygiene theater, BS social-distancing silly ass charades, NO proper HVAC remedy and crap PPE is tantamount to the opening scene of “Enemy At The Gate!” Germany, Korea… simply EVERYBODY’S had the exact same murderous waves, when this was done to babysit kids, while parents were sent back to “essential” jobs, only to infect elderly or vulnerable loved ones and survivors THERE are NOT Indentured into gig peonage by their chronic illness & disability. Doing this, HERE, with the mutant strain infection rate being purposely concealed; that’s simple murder of those most vulnerable, to harvest equity, flip homes, 1099 indentured survivors? And to employer, government, union & media: we’ve NO say!
Yup, I’ve been saying this since they reopened schools here close to where I live, within weeks, teachers were testing positive, one in his 50’s died 25 miles from my house. My state schools start earlier than most, the first or second week of August, within two weeks a high school in the northern part of the state had to close down, with an almost 50% infection rate. This should have been the warning for the rest of the country where schools start sometime in September, but no one seemed to notice.
While the California Department of Public Health allows public schools to reopen elementary to in-person education only once community spread dips below 25 new transmissions/100k population/day, the idea that doing so would be “safe” is contradicted by much scientific work.
Epidemiologist and biostatistician Dr. Zoe Hyde, for example, writes in her study, “COVID‐19, children and schools: overlooked and at risk”:
“We can no longer afford to overlook the role children play in transmission if we hope to contain the virus. Schools are clearly neither inherently safe nor unsafe… The risk associated with these settings depends on the level of community transmission and must be continuously evaluated. Schools must not remain open for face‐to‐face teaching in the setting of substantial community transmission. In regions where community transmission is low, risk reduction strategies should be implemented in schools as a matter of urgency.”
“Low transmission” is widely defined as below 1 new case/100k population/day.
Furthermore, Dr. Hyde makes plain in a Twitter series beginning December 9, 2020, “further evidence children and adults are equally susceptible, and similarly likely to transmit. Schools have been a driver of the second wave in Europe, Canada, and elsewhere… The largest contact tracing study published to date suggests even young children transmit at meaningful rates. A prospective study conducted by the CDC also showed children, adolescents, and adults were similarly likely to infect other household members. We would therefore expect to see transmission occurring in schools, at least when community transmission is high. When good records are kept, we see this is clearly occurring.” In this wonderfully concise summary for laypersons like us, Dr. Hyde documents and supports every claim she makes.
I encourage everyone who cares about fully ending COVID-19 to read The Lancet’s February 11, 2021 editorial "The COVID-19 exit strategy: why we need to aim low.” Could we even now employ an elimination strategy to reduce the losses in coming months of even more livelihoods, health, and lives?
Covid Action Group and End Coronavirus are a few organizations working for this. (I watched an illuminating townhall organized by End Coronavirus about community-level work in Ghana towards fully ending the pandemic there.)
Dr. Peter Hotez, and Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, and Dr. Peter Osterholm all warn about the B117 variant (and other variants) creating a new rise in cases in the U.S. in about March, 2021.
Is planning to keep schools open or open schools right about then the wisest thing to do right now?
What if we really shut down community spread first?
I’ve a fit, younger DC friend going back to teach secondary school, one week after 1st BioNTech: they’ve simply put on a ridiculous show, and we’d scrambled to buy her USABLE & verboten PPE. She’s step-daughter to a liver transplant recipient and she’s TERRIFIED by how many of her mostly Black, older immune-challenged coworkers have caved to their union’s concessions, leaving them and associated workers unnecessarily exposed, just as we’re starting to discover media’s ignoring the upswing in mutant strains?
~https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2021/02/17/suny-f17.html (I really HATE that lefty blogs IGNORE or simply cherry-pick, cheerlead or gaslight union, strike shut-downs)
Will kids really have to acquire immunity through exposure, as you say? Is it impossible to crush COVID-19 through worldwide cooperation in a “Green Zone” exit strategy (see The Lancet’s Feb 11, 2021 editorial: “why we need to aim low”)? And can vaccines also be developed to protect kids, too?
I see you liked my questions, so maybe you agree. I appreciate all your other points, thank you.