Reopening of schools

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Teachers in at least five states have died with coronavirus since fall semester started

Teachers in at least five states have died from COVID-19 since the fall semester started, The Washington Post reported Thursday

At least six teachers across Iowa, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma and South Carolina have died since early August as students return for the school year. It is unknown whether these teachers became infected at school, but several attempted to quarantine to avoid infecting other students and educators. 

Special education teacher AshLee DeMarinis died on Sunday after showing symptoms four days after the start of school for John Evans Middle School in Potosi, Mo. The 34-year-old, who suffered from asthma, spent three weeks on a ventilator in the hospital, the Post reported. 

In Columbia, S.C., third grade teacher Demetria “Demi” Bannister from Windsor Elementary School died this week after experiencing complications from COVID-19, according to newspaper The State. High school history teacher Tom Slade, 53, who worked at Vancleave High School in Mississippi, died on Sunday of the coronavirus, the Biloxi Sun Herald reported

Assistant high school football coach Nacoma James, 42, also died of the virus. He was a teacher at Lafayette Middle School, Mississippi Today reported.....

Aristotleded24

epaulo13 wrote:
How race, income and ‘opportunity hoarding’ will shape Canada’s back-to-school season

Privileged families are isolating children from COVID-19 in ‘learning pods,’ while racialized and lower-income families are hesitant to return to public schools, transit and communities with unknown risks. Can Canada seize the opportunity to close the gaps in education?

Two weeks before vice-principal Brandon Zoras was to welcome a group of students back to the classrooms at Toronto’s Westview Centennial Secondary School, a message appeared in his LinkedIn inbox from a stranger.

I agree that the assault on our public spaces while the rich enter their pandemic pods leaving the rest of us to contend with the dangers of the world is a problem. The solution, therefore, is to stand up for public spaces and take on the wealthy, not to construct our own pandemic pods.

Aristotleded24

Pondering wrote:

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Of course it's unfortunate for the children who do catch covid, but is all this necessary over a virus that has impacted 0.05% of the population?

The concern isn't just children catching it it is children bringing it home with them. Also I have to ask did they do general population testing or did they only test people who were symptomatic or had been in contact with someone symptomatic?

That is a very good question, and unfortunately Sweden did not collect enough data that would have helped answer to some of those questions. If you take a look at the infection curves, as of today Sweden's curve is flat, Finland's curve is on its way up.

Pondering wrote:
What you want is for "the left" to adopt this as an infringement on civil rights but the grand majority of us recognize this as a health crisis that disproportionately impacts people living in poverty and essential workers physically not just economically.

Why should I consult with the majority before I decide what I think or how I feel about something?

Pondering wrote:
If there is anything good to come of this it will be in the form of pharmacare and basic income which will benefit people well after Covid is gone. We see an opportunity to accelerate the switch to a green sustainable economy.

I don't know why you think this is on the agenda at all. Last year Australia re-elected a right-wing government in the back pocket of the fossil fuel industry. I have seen nothing to sugges that this is on the agenda of the Conservative government in the UK. It certainly will not be addressed by whomever wins the Presidential elections this Fall. It is not on the agenda of the Liberal government, which has also given public money to fossil fuel companies. Furthermore, the Trudeau government is preparing to wind down the CERB. The Conservatives have a reasonable chance of forming a government in the next election, and basic income is certainly not on their agenda. These items have been highlighted by the NDP, but they will have no sway as a third party in a majority government, which is a very realistic possibility in the next election.

Pondering wrote:
Lifting restrictions so more people can die is an unlikely position for "the left".

Public health is a vastly complex thing. You can make an argument that the measures implimented have cost lives with things like delayed cancer and heart screenings, victims of domestic violence, drug overdoses, suicides, and large scale famines in Africa and Asia. Taking everything into account, to say that "more people will die" if restrictions are lifted is, at best, speculative.

Pondering wrote:
Working from home exploded for middle and upper class populations. As the economy opens up many companies and workers have decided working from home has many benefits and are not intending to ever return to the old model of everyone coming to the office.

This has been a logistical nightmare for many employers and employees alike.

Pondering wrote:
Universities will continue to do a lot of distance learning.

Any qualified educator will tell you that the academic instruction portion of learning is a small part. There are so many aspects of learning that come from collaboration with others, not to mention the soft skills like social schools. To say nothing of the benefits from on-campus social clubs and other chances to meet with people. I think a largely distance-ed model will make for a much poorer experience all around.

Aristotleded24

This is what school is like in Denmark:

Quote:

Every seat in Jens Rodgaard's Grade 5 class is full — there is no physical distance at all. 

When a student raises their hand with a question, Rodgaard is by their side in an instant and leans in to help.

"You have to be around them and help them, help them with spelling, help them make choices, and for proper teaching we can't do that with the distance," Rodgaard said.

Students must sanitize their hands every time they enter the school and the grades aren't supposed to mingle with each other. But there isn't a mask in sight. 

This is what Phase 2 of school reopening looked like at Ålholm public school in Copenhagen, Denmark, this week, a month into the second semester.

"Right now we are trying to make things as normal as possible, [to] not scare any kids," said Rodgaard, who has taught at Ålholm for 28 years.

Surely Denmark must have crushed coronavirus by now in so that schools can safely reopen? Actually, as of today they are currently on the upswing of a third wave that might eclipse their first wave.

NDPP

University of Michigan Graduate Students Vote to Extend Strike as Opposition Erupts at Campuses Throughout the US

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/09/14/umic-s14.html

"...The strike has garnered immense support from undergraduate students, Residential Advisors, faculty, university staff, local workers and high school students, as well as students and workers from campuses across the country. The groundswell of support is an indication of the immense opposition that exists in the working class to the reckless drive to reopen schools and workplaces as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep through the country.

The result of reopening campuses for in-person learning, as was widely predicted, is producing a catastrophe. On Sunday, the State of Wisconsin reported a new record of 1,582 cases, driven largely by the reopening of schools and the broader impact. The campaign to reopen schools and universities is part of the ruling class's policy of 'herd-immunity' - that is, to allow the virus to spread without restraint.

This policy, spearheaded by Trump but implemented by Democrats and Republicans in states throughout the country, has already led to almost 200,000 deaths in the US. The University of Washington now estimates that the number of deaths by the end of the year could rise to above 200,000..."

Pondering

Aristotleded24 wrote:

This is what Phase 2 of school reopening looked like at Ålholm public school in Copenhagen, Denmark, this week, a month into the second semester.

Denmark provides an illustrative example, although the argument could be generalized to other countries in northern Europe. Denmark was one of the first countries in Europe to begin locking down its economy, before this became a widely accepted and politically safe response to the virus. High levels of interpersonal trust and confidence in public expertise helped, but even with this reservoir of social capital, the government did not act unilaterally.

https://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/june-2020/learning-from-denmark...

Too bad Canada didn't do the same or we could be reopening like Demark did. Demark reopened schools instead of bars.

You cherry pick information to the point of being misleading in your zeal to prove that anything other than a 100% reopening is just the government trying to control us.

If Canada had kept bars and restaurants closed our schools could have reopened more safely than they have.

Pondering

Aristotleded24 wrote:
  If you take a look at the infection curves, as of today Sweden's curve is flat, Finland's curve is on its way up. 

However, on a per-capita basis, Sweden far outpaces its Scandinavian neighbors in COVID deaths, with 567 deaths per million people compared with Denmark's 106 deaths per million, Finland's 59 deaths per million, and Norway's 47 deaths per million. The Swedish figure is closer to Italy's 581 deaths per million.....

"In Sweden, the strategy has led to death, grief, and suffering," they wrote. "On top of that, there are no indications that the Swedish economy has fared better than in many other countries. At the moment, we have set an example for the rest of the world on how not to deal with a deadly infectious disease."

Swedes have been asked to keep their distance in public, refrain from non-essential travel, and work from home when possible. Gatherings of more than 50 people are also banned. People age 70 and over are advised to stay away from others as much as possible.

Aristotleded24 wrote:
  I don't know why you think this is on the agenda at all. Last year Australia re-elected a right-wing government in the back pocket of the fossil fuel industry. I have seen nothing to sugges that this is on the agenda of the Conservative government in the UK. It certainly will not be addressed by whomever wins the Presidential elections this Fall. It is not on the agenda of the Liberal government, which has also given public money to fossil fuel companies. Furthermore, the Trudeau government is preparing to wind down the CERB. The Conservatives have a reasonable chance of forming a government in the next election, and basic income is certainly not on their agenda. These items have been highlighted by the NDP, but they will have no sway as a third party in a majority government, which is a very realistic possibility in the next election. 

First, we are not in Australia or the UK (or the US for that matter) Top issue at the Liberal convention in November is Basic Income not that the government can be forced to adopt it. Pharmacare has been in their campaigns. Trudeau has spoken loudly of the opportunity this presents to use recovery to green the economy. He needs NDP support to stay alive so he wants to make the NDP looks bad if they vote against the throne speech because the Conservatives and Bloc will vote it down.

85% of Canadians were not happy about the purchase of TMX. The mood is "we bought you a damn pipeline and you are still not happy". Not "give the oil industry more money".

The Conservatives have virtually no chance of winning the next election nevermind a majority. The election of O'Toole over MacKay, the strong support given the social conservative wing, and the nose dive of the oil industry make it next to impossible that O'Toole will come up with any policy that can compete with the goodies Trudeau will be offering.

Aristotleded24 wrote:
 Public health is a vastly complex thing. You can make an argument that the measures implimented have cost lives with things like delayed cancer and heart screenings, victims of domestic violence, drug overdoses, suicides, and large scale famines in Africa and Asia. Taking everything into account, to say that "more people will die" if restrictions are lifted is, at best, speculative.  

You have yet to convince a single person that the negative health impacts of the lockdown come even close to the deaths from covid without taking any precautions. Nor have you proven that lifting health measures would save those people. There is zero chance that we are going "back to normal" within a year even if all restrictions are lifted. Many school bus drivers are not going back. Same goes for teachers.

Aristotleded24 wrote:
  This has been a logistical nightmare for many employers and employees alike. 

For some absolutely. We don't know what percentage will go back to the office towers. There is no denying that it has been a catalyst speeding up what was already happening.

Mobo2000

Packed my 11 year old kid off for his first day of school day.   Class size was 17, not too bad for Toronto.   At his school it's masks in the halls, optional in class, outdoor recess and lunches are staggered.  I'm in a high risk area, the school is next to a long term care facility.  I don't think there is anything to do but wait and see.   

For me the regressive risk in the current secnario around education is the inevitable attempts by the Ontario government to privatize as much of the services and service delivery around e-learning as they possibly can.   Brightspace, the elearning software used in Ontario, has tons of metrics baked in to track teacher time/activity.  Most e-teachers will be teaching from home in Ontario using this software, and I expect there to be a push in the next few years around "teacher performance" in conservative media.   

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Masks and class sizes are weak points as schools reopen, Sick Kids study suggests

quote:

On class size — the most contentious issue the province has faced — the study found that in an average-size classroom “it was not possible to maintain a two-metre distance between students and accommodate more than 12 to 15 students in the class, even with the desks against all four walls.”

Some Ontario high school teachers are now reporting classes of more than 30 students, with upper elementary classes and kindergarten classes nearing that number. In larger, urban boards, high school classes sit at about 15 students, but around the province classes are much larger.

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Ontario Families for Public Education

Stephen Lecce just enthusiastically said that covid funding will allow boards to hire 2000 new teachers.

That works out to less than half a teacher for every school.

Context matters.

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COVID-19 cases in schools and child care centres

Learn about coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Ontario schools

Last updated: September 15 at 10:30 a.m.

School-related cases (total) 14  Cumulative total 29

School-related student cases Total 4  Cumulative total 9

School-related staff cases Total 4  Cumulative total 14

Individuals not identified Total 6  Cumulative total 6

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Aristotleded24

NDPP wrote:
University of Michigan Graduate Students Vote to Extend Strike as Opposition Erupts at Campuses Throughout the US

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/09/14/umic-s14.html

"...The strike has garnered immense support from undergraduate students, Residential Advisors, faculty, university staff, local workers and high school students, as well as students and workers from campuses across the country. The groundswell of support is an indication of the immense opposition that exists in the working class to the reckless drive to reopen schools and workplaces as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep through the country.

The result of reopening campuses for in-person learning, as was widely predicted, is producing a catastrophe. On Sunday, the State of Wisconsin reported a new record of 1,582 cases, driven largely by the reopening of schools and the broader impact. The campaign to reopen schools and universities is part of the ruling class's policy of 'herd-immunity' - that is, to allow the virus to spread without restraint.

This policy, spearheaded by Trump but implemented by Democrats and Republicans in states throughout the country, has already led to almost 200,000 deaths in the US. The University of Washington now estimates that the number of deaths by the end of the year could rise to above 200,000..."

As of today, the death count in the US is close to 200 000, so unfortunately it's quite likely they will reach that number well before that.

In terms of guesses, is the University of Washington using the same estimation methodology that came up with the ridiculous 96 million cases in the US that was circulating around earlier this year?

Aristotleded24

Pondering wrote:
Aristotleded24 wrote:
  I don't know why you think this is on the agenda at all. Last year Australia re-elected a right-wing government in the back pocket of the fossil fuel industry. I have seen nothing to sugges that this is on the agenda of the Conservative government in the UK. It certainly will not be addressed by whomever wins the Presidential elections this Fall. It is not on the agenda of the Liberal government, which has also given public money to fossil fuel companies. Furthermore, the Trudeau government is preparing to wind down the CERB. The Conservatives have a reasonable chance of forming a government in the next election, and basic income is certainly not on their agenda. These items have been highlighted by the NDP, but they will have no sway as a third party in a majority government, which is a very realistic possibility in the next election. 

First, we are not in Australia or the UK (or the US for that matter) Top issue at the Liberal convention in November is Basic Income not that the government can be forced to adopt it. Pharmacare has been in their campaigns. Trudeau has spoken loudly of the opportunity this presents to use recovery to green the economy.

Reminds me of the 1993 Red Book that the Chretien Liberals campaigned on in 1993. That had a whole ton of progressive goodies, along with a promise to eliminate the GST. How much of that did we actually get?

Pondering wrote:
He needs NDP support to stay alive so he wants to make the NDP looks bad if they vote against the throne speech because the Conservatives and Bloc will vote it down.

The Liberals are in a much stronger position than the NDP at the moment. They have cash, and their leader is taking credit for the "successful" response to covid. He could very easily slip in a poison pill he knows the NDP will not accept, and then blame them for being unreasonable.

Pondering wrote:
85% of Canadians were not happy about the purchase of TMX. The mood is "we bought you a damn pipeline and you are still not happy". Not "give the oil industry more money".

When has that ever stopped politicians before?

Pondering wrote:
The Conservatives have virtually no chance of winning the next election nevermind a majority. The election of O'Toole over MacKay, the strong support given the social conservative wing, and the nose dive of the oil industry make it next to impossible that O'Toole will come up with any policy that can compete with the goodies Trudeau will be offering.

We're discussing in the other thread why O'Toole's recent political moves are great. His "Canadian First" idea will resonate. He also recently visited Quebec and said he supports provincial autonomy along with Quebec's religious symbols ban. It's true that the oil industry is crashing, but the mood in the oil producing regions is that it's all Justin Trudeau's fault. Those votes aren't coming away from the Conservatives any time soon. If he manages to gain seats at the expense of the Bloc, he will be in a very strong position.

Pondering wrote:
Aristotleded24 wrote:
 Public health is a vastly complex thing. You can make an argument that the measures implimented have cost lives with things like delayed cancer and heart screenings, victims of domestic violence, drug overdoses, suicides, and large scale famines in Africa and Asia. Taking everything into account, to say that "more people will die" if restrictions are lifted is, at best, speculative.  

You have yet to convince a single person that the negative health impacts of the lockdown come even close to the deaths from covid without taking any precautions. Nor have you proven that lifting health measures would save those people.

I've posted many news stories, articles, and interviews in describing my opinions on the topic. It seems from the comments people are making that they aren't even looking at those sources before responding to my ideas. I've even started a thread dedicated to providing more context around some of the big headlines that have come from this crisis, which has garnered no comments. If I post information and someone else doesn't look at it, that's on them, not me.

Aristotleded24

Pondering wrote:

Aristotleded24 wrote:
  If you take a look at the infection curves, as of today Sweden's curve is flat, Finland's curve is on its way up. 

However, on a per-capita basis, Sweden far outpaces its Scandinavian neighbors in COVID deaths, with 567 deaths per million people compared with Denmark's 106 deaths per million, Finland's 59 deaths per million, and Norway's 47 deaths per million. The Swedish figure is closer to Italy's 581 deaths per million.....

"In Sweden, the strategy has led to death, grief, and suffering," they wrote. "On top of that, there are no indications that the Swedish economy has fared better than in many other countries. At the moment, we have set an example for the rest of the world on how not to deal with a deadly infectious disease."

Swedes have been asked to keep their distance in public, refrain from non-essential travel, and work from home when possible. Gatherings of more than 50 people are also banned. People age 70 and over are advised to stay away from others as much as possible.

That Sweden got a few things wrong in their covid response is obvious. Even Dr. Tegnell has admitted mistakes. I find it refreshing that someone in that position of power and with his expertise would admit that. It beats the intransigence of the medical officers of health we are up against in this country.

Pondering

Aristotleded24 wrote:
I've posted many news stories, articles, and interviews in describing my opinions on the topic. It seems from the comments people are making that they aren't even looking at those sources before responding to my ideas. ....If I post information and someone else doesn't look at it, that's on them, not me.

I have and you have yet to point to a jurisdiction that has taken zero measures and no lockdown or limitations on size of gatherings. Not even the US. Not one developed country in the world has taken zero precautions including Sweden.

Aristotleded24 wrote:
Reminds me of the 1993 Red Book that the Chretien Liberals campaigned on in 1993. That had a whole ton of progressive goodies, along with a promise to eliminate the GST. How much of that did we actually get?

It doesn't matter. The tactic will still work to get them re-elected to at minimum a minority.

Aristotleded24 wrote:
The Liberals are in a much stronger position than the NDP at the moment. They have cash, and their leader is taking credit for the "successful" response to covid. He could very easily slip in a poison pill he knows the NDP will not accept, and then blame them for being unreasonable.

That is possible. I don't think they will because they need time to rebuild their reputation to get another majority. But you could definitely be right.

Aristotleded24 wrote:
When has that ever stopped politicians before? (on supporting oil industry)

The Liberals are pragmatic. They may help out the east coast but it won't be what the oil companies want. The west will get clean up money. The Liberals were more popular and not facing a possible election when they bought the pipeline. They had not already spent 4.5 billion with much more to come. The pandemic had not arrived with job losses across the country.

Aristotleded24 wrote:
We're discussing in the other thread why O'Toole's recent political moves are great. His "Canadian First" idea will resonate. He also recently visited Quebec and said he supports provincial autonomy along with Quebec's religious symbols ban. It's true that the oil industry is crashing, but the mood in the oil producing regions is that it's all Justin Trudeau's fault. Those votes aren't coming away from the Conservatives any time soon. If he manages to gain seats at the expense of the Bloc, he will be in a very strong position.

Trudeau is never going to get votes from the Conservative base anyway. There is no point in trying. "Canada First" may sit well in republican north territory but not elsewhere. His support for provincial autonomy is lip service and based on the conservatives to divest as much responsibility away from Ottawa as possible. So he supports Bill 21. So what. It isn't under threat. What is he offering Quebec voters and will it be more than what the Liberals offer? The Liberals will be offering $$$$$. Quebec is perfectly willing to be bought.

Back to the schools. They are opening right across Canada so what is your complaint? The grand experiment is on.  We will have the results by mid-October at the latest.

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Summary of cases in licensed child care settings

This report provides a summary of COVID-19 activity in:

  • licensed child care centres
  • home child care agencies

As of August 10, 2020, there were over 5,500 licensed child care centres and over 120 licensed home child care agencies in Ontario. Licensed child care centres and home child care agencies continue to gradually reopen across the province.

Last updated: September 17 at 10:30 a.m.

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NDPP

Tracking Ontario's COVID-19 Cases in Schools and Child-Care Centres

https://www.cp24.com/news/tracking-ontario-s-covid-19-cases-in-school-an...

"CP24 will be updating this...

September 21, 18 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Ontario schools over the weekend..."

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Some Ontario special-ed teachers must teach students online and in person

Special-education teachers at several Ontario boards are learning that they are expected to teach in-class and online at the same time despite the unique challenges faced by their elementary-age students with autism and other learning disabilities.

Many boards have different teachers who provide instruction to students learning online and to those in the classroom. But a handful of boards, including the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and Peel District School Board, are requiring teachers in self-contained classrooms to also teach those children whose families have opted for online learning.

Self-contained classrooms are typically small with around 10 students with severe learning disabilities, developmental disabilities or speech and language disorders. There are multiple adults in the room, including a teacher and teaching assistants.

Gail Bannister-Clarke, president of the Peel Elementary Teachers' Local, said even though there are other adults in the room, the teacher is responsible for the curriculum and also the safety of students in the classroom, who are considered high-needs. She said that teachers in these classrooms deliver highly specialized and differentiated instruction.

“I have no idea how that’s going to work, how that’s going to happen. It’s a huge issue," Ms. Bannister-Clarke said of educators trying to meet the needs of students in-class and online at the same time.

She added that the provincial government is responsible for not providing enough resources to school boards so that special-needs students receive a similar education to their mainstream peers. “It is a cost-saving measure,” she said......

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School’s back in Ontario, and COVID-19 cases keep rising

With Ontario’s students now largely learning again after a long hiatus, COVID-19 cases tied to schools are showing up as cases provincewide surpass 400 a day.

School cases are emerging mostly in bigger population centres, such as Toronto and Ottawa, where most of the new cases overall are occurring, according to government data.

The rate of infection at and tied to schools will be a key test of Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce’s decision to send children back to elementary classes without reducing their numbers per classroom.

An additional 18 school cases emerged on Monday, bringing the cumulative total to 90 COVID-19 cases related to 75 Ontario schools; 33 students and 26 staff, plus 31 unidentified people.

“Three schools have declared outbreaks, and two of them have closed,” Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario associate chief medical officer of health, said at an afternoon news conference.....

NDPP

Prof David Fisman

https://twitter.com/DFisman/status/1308720236749901829

"I think someone (maybe me, can't remember) suggested school opening would be followed by the start of a fall wave if we weren't smart about school opening. As was the case with H1N1 in 2009.

Yep."

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Ontario’s back-to-school plan is ‘morally unconscionable,’ teachers tell labour board

The Ontario government’s back-to-school plan is “morally unconscionable” and even dangerous, the province’s teachers’ unions are arguing in an appeal now before the labour relations board.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation noted in its filing that at the time it was writing its appeal, Premier Doug Ford had “just limited social gathering sizes to 10 indoors and 25 outside across the province because COVID-19 cases continue to rise. And yet the (ministry of education) has maintained normal indoor class sizes of between 20 and 35 or more across most of Ontario.”

The OSSTF also said that student cohorts remain at 100 under the return-to-school guide “even as social bubbles are maintained at 10. In respect of our children and their teachers and other education workers, the Crown offers protection to them which is manifestly less than for the rest of us.

“This is morally unconscionable and legally wrong.”

The labour board appeal was launched by the high school teachers’ union, as well as the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO), the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, which collectively represent more than 190,000 teachers and support staff.....

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Safe September MB

“Recent cases of COVID-19 reported in Winnipeg have been associated with "large numbers of close contacts," the province said in a news release Tuesday. Close contacts are those who have been within two metres of a person with COVID-19 for longer than 15 minutes.”

This sounds like many classrooms.

With the inability to physically distance 2m/6 ft in many classrooms, our Province is knowingly putting everyone at risk. Our schools need smaller class sizes, more spaces to deliver classes, and more delivery options.

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As COVID-19 cases rise, parents sound alarm about class sizes in elementary schools

Jana Trembinski says she watched with alarm as Ottawa’s medical officer of health warned that the city is heading toward the COVID-19 red zone and the province slashed the number of people allowed to gather indoors to 10.

So when she received an email from the school her two sons attend warning that classes will be shuffled and combined early this week, Trembinski says, she lost it.

A heated conversation with the school principal that “did not end well” was followed by a flurry of emails to Premier Doug Ford, the school board and fellow parents at  Francojeunesse elementary school to discuss how to prevent classes from being made larger.

“So when everyone else is limiting to 10, in these exceptional times, our school is doing the opposite?”

The letter from the school said students from three classes that have low enrolment would be moved into other classes.

Trembinski’s older son is in Grade 6 with a class of 26 kids; her younger son’s Grade 3 class has 16 students.....

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Nearly 280,000 U.S. schoolchildren have had coronavirus: study

Almost 280,000 school-aged children were infected with the novel coronavirus between March 1 and Sept. 19, according to detailed data released Monday in a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The figure accounted for roughly four percent of the total U.S. caseload over this period, with children aged 12-17 approximately twice as likely to be infected as those aged 5-11.

The rate of new cases rose steadily during the spring and then shot up over the summer, peaking on July 19 with an average weekly incidence of 37.9 per 100,000.

The new cases then plateaued for several weeks before declining in late August -- though it appears they are now rising again towards summer levels.....

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Students from Lasalle Community Comprehensive High School walk out of class to protest COVID-19 safety concerns Thursday, October 1, 2020 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

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NDPP

Almost Half of UK Coronavirus Infections in Schools, Colleges and Universities

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/10/05/surv-o05.html

"...Figures from the latest Public Health England's COVID-19 epidemiology surveillance summary show that educational settings now account for 45 percent of all positive cases in the UK. This is the highest level of infection of any sector of society. The Boycott Unsafe Schools web site has produced a valuable map showing the evidence of infections at over 2,000 schools from every corner of the country..."

Pondering

In Quebec it makes no sense to have open schools with little physical distancing and mask wearing but then forbid family members from seeing each other. 

NDPP

Youth Who Led Montreal High School Strike Against Unsafe School Reopening Speaks Out

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/10/07/mont-o07.html

"We want the government to stop using us like guinea pigs..."

Aristotleded24

[Wrong thread]

NDPP

72 new cases in Ontario schools today. For a number far fewer (10-12 cases), Chingdao, China is testing 9 million citizens in 4 days to isolate and eliminate the virus from their city. Meanwhile, New Zealand has already sold 47,000 tickets to a football match against Australia on Sunday. In both places COVID is crushed whenever and wherever it is found. Here our children and their loved ones are in constant danger of infection. Citizens go along for the ride. Politicians lie that they are working on it.

NDPP

"Ontario schools with covid-19 cases jump by 96,  total of 1,040 since classrooms reopened: Five schools closed due to coronavirus spread." - Toronto Star -

This isn't working.

NDPP

Parkdale Parents and Teachers Rally For Smaller Class Sizes, Safer Schools

https://www.cp24.com/news/parkdale-parents-and-teachers-rally-for-smalle...

"Teachers and parents united in Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhood Wednesday morning to rally for safer schools and smaller class sizes amid a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dozens of parents, children and teachers marched along the streets of Parkdale chanting 'What do we want? Safe schools. When do we want them? Now!' Parent Andrea Mcphail says the province is not helping school boards enough to create a sufficient plan to combat the virus..."

This isn't working. Why COVID-19 numbers are rising.

Aristotleded24

Denver parents protest online learning:

Quote:

About 80 parents joined a protest outside of district headquarters Friday afternoon, upset that the district ordered third- through fifth-graders back into remote learning starting on Monday. Most elementary school students had just returned to classrooms a week earlier — after spending months at home.

DPS middle and high schoolers never made it inside classrooms as skyrocketing COVID-19 infection rates in the community pushed the district to delay their turn to schools.

Preschool children through second grade will remain learning in-person because district officials argued they are developing readers and cannot read or type on a computer. Tyler Carlson, a parent of four DPS children, and a protest organizer, said his children are languishing after months out of school.

“Our children are being crushed by this,” he said, his voice breaking with emotion, during a Wednesday parent town hall meeting that attracted 500 parents. “I had to watch my fifth grader cry her way to school because she's going to be back spending eight more hours of zoom starting on Monday.”

He said the district is not considering the mental health of children, and that his children are falling behind academically.

“They're atrophying, emotionally, physically, and educationally,” Carlson said.

Aristotleded24

Why students belong in class and why all forms of digital and remote learning need to go:

Quote:
Lockdown in the United States has been miserable on several levels. First, it has led to our physical schools being shuttered for a full year. We have been forced to teach entirely remotely. This has been terrible for the students and downright awful for me. Education under capitalism is an exercise in indoctrination and preparing future workers for accepting their continual exploitation at their work, but the one element of my job I actually believed in was the relationships I formed with students and their families. Also, working and talking with my colleagues in person made the job less soul-crushing.

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I also began to see a future where the working class was being physically separated and atomized in a process that looked to me like ‘reverse enclosure’. I worry that this physical separation, where all our work is eventually done remotely (which I believe is where this is headed), may actually turn the working class effectively into a peasant class (or gig workers). We will still be exploited, but no longer a class that understands itself or experiences itself as a collective class. To me, this takes the Marxist notion of working class revolution off the table, making me wonder if this is part of what is in operation right now. Nevertheless, I know the capitalists are wanting to separate us, and I know that is part of their plan for accumulating profits and competing even more aggressively with each other for a share of those profits in the coming decade. All of this, by definition, comes at the expense of the working class unless we oppose all aspects of the changes being implemented today.

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I think we need to get back to our source of power – our workplace and centers where we congregate to do work – immediately and begin figuring out how we can stop what is coming. The remote learning experience we are going through right now is not a momentary mirage of a world trying to escape COVID. What we are witnessing and participating in (as either educator or student) is the future of education that is preparing future workers for what work will be like in the coming years: remote, on a screen, mediated through data flow and transmission, overseen, monitored and directed by AI. Students are experiencing education (seperated, individualized, isolated, controlled and obscure) as they will experience their future work.

Participating in remote learning today isn’t ‘safer’, it’s actually far more dangerous to all our futures. It means our lives will be more separated, more surveilled, more scrutinized and more controlled than ever before. Physical schools will be replaced with laptops and drop-in centers. Teachers will be replaced with screens and AI. Education itself will be a lifelong chase, not of learning, but of job skills so each worker can compete in a global labor market where ever-centralized capitalist centers get their pick of the litter to screen for and exploit workers not as a class but as an isolated worker connected via a screen.

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At the same time, capitalists are using all the fear they have whipped up to push for a return to school experience that will emphasize masks, social distancing, mass vaccinations and PCR testing, and of course, hybrid learning. Many people will mistake hybrid learning as a ‘transition’ back to full in-person learning at a future date (2023, 2024). That is false. Hybrid learning is the transition state to full online learning which is not yet workable for the capitalists but COVID made possible to begin the shift to the ‘experiment’ in education we’ve gone through this last year.

In a nutshell, education and educational workers have been smashed this last year, and we don’t even know it happened. Our situation, in my opinion, is dreadful.

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Fundamentally, we have to remind ourselves that our project is a collective one and that any attempt to separate workers instituted by the capitalist class must be seen as an attack on our class and resisted as such. We will not be able to wage ANY sort of resistance to what is being instituted through the Fourth Industrial revolution behind our laptops. No matter how big our virtual meetings, we have to understand those meetings are in a controlled, corporate space that can be shut down by them any time. No fundamental change will come through participation in those spaces. So our starting point must be to challenge the mainstream narrative that is being used to terrify us of each other and then actually reassemble at work or other physical spaces to figure out what we do to try and turn the tide.

At schools, I think that means ripping up the Silicon Valley software and hardware infrastructure that is being used to dismantle in-person learning and prepare future workers for an all-remote experience and to use the work of current educators to lay the groundwork for replacing us with AI. In my opinion, that means uprooting the entire digital apparatus that’s in place and returning education to a physical, sensory experience of the world and in relationship with each other. How deep does the uprooting have to go? I am not sure, but I would say that the fight is not just about ‘returning’ to our pre-COVID educational system (that system has always been about exploitation), but seeing our schools as a center of struggle against the machinations of the Capitalists trying to reorganize all of society to maximize profits by maximizing their data collection on us.

Pondering

And telephones mean people won't visit their neighbours anymore!   

Plenty of kids are delighted to be home schooled where they won't get bullied by other kids or bored to death. Putting kids the same age into large classrooms isn't the best way for them to learn. The main reason children want to go to school is to see their friends or play sports. From the government perspective it is for babysitting so parents can be in the workforce. 

If the goal of capitalists is to separate people they will have to shut down the internet. 

Aristotleded24

This is troubling:

Quote:
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tapped the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the powerful philanthropic player in the education space, to work with state education officials to reimagine the K-12 system when schools reopen in the fall.

"Bill Gates is a visionary in many ways, and his ideas and thoughts on technology and education he's spoken about for years," Cuomo said Tuesday during his daily briefing at which he announced the partnership. "But I think we now have a moment in history where we can actually incorporate and advance those ideas."

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As it stands, schools are closed for more than 55 million children because of the pandemic, and the majority of governors, including Cuomo, have ordered them shut for the rest of the academic year. States and school districts have a monumental task before them as they begin to consider what learning will look like in classrooms when they reopen, including, among many other things, how to ensure smooth transitions to remote learning should new outbreaks occur and close schools again.

Many school districts have been slow to transition to distance learning, crippled by the number of students without internet access or digital learning devices. Some have even thrown in the towel for the remainder of the school year. Most are using video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Google Meets to hold daily lessons or check in on students individually, but attendance is spotty and without time to develop a well thought-out plan to shift from in-person to virtual curriculum, most educators expect major learning losses.

Cuomo said Tuesday that by partnering with Gates the state will be able to understand how it can better capitalize on technology to improve education for students, especially how it can be most effective for English learners and students with disabilities.

First off, this guy should be in jail after what he did with the nursing homes, especially after left-wing partisan Democrats villified anyone who so much as left their house to gather with anyone outside was a monster for killing old people.

There is a great deal of money for tech companies to make to offer remote education platforms. This goes beyond local teachers delivering content online. I can easily see educational companies developoing learning packages and curriculum materials that can be sold to school districts that the students complete without ever having to interact with any teachers. Imagine chatting remotely with a "consultant" or with an AI chatbot, or having the AI mark the children's work. Much cheaper than having to pay actual teachers. I could easily see cash-strapped school districts going for something like this. Or, what if there is a labour dispute with state, provincial, or local teachers? What's to stop the district from contracting to a service like this for a 2 or 3 month period in an attempt to play hardball and break the teacher's unions? After being one of the lead voices calling for school closures and remote learning for over a year, do you think teachers unions are going to have any credibility with the public if they try to push back on a scheme like this? Do you think parents who had to quit jobs, make arrangements to work from home, or have their children be watched by grandparents while the children work are going to have any sympathy for teachers, when it's the teachers unions that advocated for such closures?

Andy Libson is right. Teachers unions are shooting themselves in the foot over the long-term in order to experience a temporary feeling of safety. Remember that children have a next-to-zero chance of experiencing a bad outcome from covid, teachers as a professional group are at no greater risk of covid than other occupations, and both groups are more likely to be injured or killed on the way to or from school than from any infection they pick up while there. What do these teachers think they are doing?

Aristotleded24

Guess who's now questioning online learning?

Quote:

Ontario education unions, advocacy groups and parents are raising concerns about a government plan to offer an online learning option for the next school year, saying it could be the start of a permanent change with serious implications for students and workers.

At a news conference hosted by the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) on Wednesday, the groups argued the change would divert funds from in-person learning and weaken the public education system.

"At a time when the top education priority for the (Premier Doug) Ford government should be to ensure schools across Ontario remain open safely for in-person learning, they're planning to make virtual learning permanent," said ETFO president Sam Hammond.

He and other union and stakeholder panelists argued that in-person learning is crucial to student development, and raised concerns about pressures placed on educators balancing in-person and online teaching demands during the pandemic.

So after being the leading voice calling for schools to be closed for the pandemic, teachers unions are now calling for more investment in in-person learning? Anyone with any foresight could have predicted that this would happen, and I detailed above the incentive that school divisions have to go the remote way. Do the teachers really think cash-strapped governments are going to spend money on their demands when they have a remote option avialable? Especially when we live in such a safety-obsessed culture that there are parents who would literally keep their children at home forever to protect them from whatever danger is out there? That's the problem with safetyism culture, is that there is always someone who feels unsafe, and if that is the standard, nobody will ever be allowed to do anything.

I can assure Hammond that his fears about teachers having to balance online and in-person teaching are unfounded. The toothpaste is out of the tube. Online learning is here to stay, eventually delivered in pre-packaged lessons with no need for interaction with an actual teacher. To purchase a temporary feeling of safety, Hammond's organization essentially threatend the jobs of current and future members of his union. Congratulations, well done sir.

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