School in the 2020-2021 Academic Year & Coronavirus (Part 2)

My daughter is supposed to start Friday. One day and then spring break when people will undoubtedly travel. Quarantine is encouraged but not required. We are in California and they just are opening to get the extra funding incentive. It is a big school and I think they will have issues even though our cases here are very low. I hope I’m wrong.

My S has his first day on Wednesday. I still hold hopes that somehow things will go well and the kids will get to have a little bit of senior year. Your story tempers that hope, which is probably a good thing. Realistically I know that things will not go smoothly.

My kids applied and was accepted, but I am getting more nervous about study abroad in europe and fall 2021. With fourth waves, Germany and Italy in renewed lockdown, sluggish vaccine roll out.

Worthwhile commentary from the NYT newsletter where I learned about this article, "But while interviewing students struggling to learn English in remote school, Juliana saw students in hockey gear walking around the Upper West Side of Manhattan, about to go to a game. She realized some students were still doing their after-school activities.

It’s not only a safety issue anymore, but it’s an equity issue,’ Juliana said. ‘The loss of after-school activities is no longer happening across the board.’"
The chasm between the haves and have-nots is widening.


Good news for those planning to visit schools in April.


While not in the spirit of the rule, I stay in NJ or PA and drive into NY when I travel there. I go the NY State website and answer the questions truthfully. It tells me I don’t have to quarantine. Glad to hear some school visits may be able to happen.

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U of MN expecting to be back to normal this fall: University of Minnesota announces return to campus for Fall 2021 Semester | University of Minnesota

Also, UChicago is offering socially distanced in-person tours of the campus and a chance to speak to Admissions to all admitted students (edit to add: I think this is set for this April). They must adhere to city of Chicago travel order which requires a negative Covid test for some areas of the country.

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Pitt announced today that they will be full in person in the fall.


My son went back 3 weeks ago at 50%. You either went in the mornings or half days depending on your cohort and the other half were remote. It worked so well that after the 3 weeks and our spring break, we will be returning to 100% in person. We were one of the last districts in our area to open and a lot of it was based on fear of our Superintendent. Every kid has mandated twice a week testing and the first day there were a lot of cases but only 3 were from the school testing the rest from outside testing. Virus was spread by one person who went to Florida over a long weekend then spread it by going to a party with other students. That is the key. Then all these kids had a 2 week quarantine. But, no issues since. Even my kid was afraid to go back but after one day he realized it’s not so bad.

I work in a school and have been back with students on and off all year, then there was a short adaptive pause from Nov-Jan and have been back since. I understand his and everyone else’s fear but it can work if everyone cooperates. The testing and tracing is key. I have seen the same issue at one of my daughter’s college and they crack down on the cases immediately. My other daughter’s college no dice. I wish they would all learn and take notes because this is how all the schools could open and operate safely.


It’s official. Penn is planning to return to in-person learning this fall. The following excerpt is from an email sent by President Amy Gutmann to the Penn community:

With the widespread distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine now underway, with projections of more ample supply in the several months ahead, and with the many safeguards we have been able to establish on campus, at this time we expect to be able to return to an in-person teaching, research and residential environment for the fall of 2021.


University of Delaware announced today that they intend for a return to full campus experience in the fall, with 95% classes in person and full occupancy of residence halls.


Amherst College just announced they will be holding an in-person commencement for all members of the Class of 2021, whether currently on-campus or off-campus, and every senior will be allowed to invite up to two guests.


In May?

Yes. May 30.

The four time frames for K-12 school reopening:

  1. No vaccine available, or there is no assurance that teachers, other staff, and parents can get it.
  2. Teachers and other staff at the school have been fully vaccinated, but parents and other adults have not had a chance to get vaccinated (i.e. there can still be concern about kids spreading it among themselves and back to their parents or other family members).
  3. All adults have been able to get fully vaccinated if they want. Risk of kids bringing virus back to their parents is much reduced.
  4. A vaccine has become available for children, and all children have been able to get fully vaccinated.

Based on the above, it looks like K-12 school reopening can reasonably be considered in the following scheme based on each time frame:

  1. School reopening depends on the space, ventilation, etc. of the classrooms to minimize the risk of losing teachers and staff. Classrooms would have to be regulated to minimize virus spread among the kids, and no unsupervised recess or lunch periods where kids share viruses.
  2. Some mitigations and regulations may be possible to relax because teachers and staff are less at risk, but added regulation still needed to prevent kids sharing virus brought from home and bringing it home to their parents.
  3. In-school regulation can be reduced, depending on how the school views the virus risk to kids (generally considered low) and the optics involved, since the parents have been vaccinated if they want.
  4. Can go back to full normal if not already so in the previous time frame.

Of course, if a vaccine-evading highly contagious mutant shows up, it could disrupt a lot of plans (not just at schools).

Lehigh is holding in person graduation for class of 2020 and 2021. Each senior is allowed 2 guests. If there are too many rsvps then they’ll divide the class and hold 2 different ceremonies one in the morning and one on the afternoon.


Williams will be in a person as well for graduation. Also, four more students just tested positive:

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I like that they are doing a graduation for 2020 too. My D graduated college in 2020. At the time, her school cancelled in person graduation and had a one hour zoom graduation instead. They promised there would be a real in person ceremony when COVID cleared, though at the time I’m sure they were thinking it would just be a couple months. Now, the school has scheduled the 2021 graduation with two guests allowed, but there hasn’t been a peep on 2020 yet.


Bentley University announced today they will have in person graduation at Fenway Park on May 1st. Class of 2021 in AM and Class of 2020 in PM. Students each get 2 guest tix. As a Class of 2020 parent, I am thrilled! I had given up hope on seeing my son graduate.