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

As someone who pays OOS rates for FL public college- my kid only had one class in person all year. Her friends in NY had all in person classes. They were shocked as they assumed FL is open…

2 Likes

I’m sure there are examples in most states of schools that were open to in-person learning and schools they were not. We can go back and forth all day long.

My son’s college in Maryland was virtual this year. I’m hoping it will be in-person in the fall. It appears that is the case. Hopefully more schools shift to open up.

2 Likes

The absolute lowest risk population is made up of people who are vaccinated. Everyone else is vulnerable.

4 Likes

Schools are hopefully talking to each other about their best practices, what worked, what didn’t, etc. It would be a darn shame if we emerged from this pandemic not having gathered data and information on what works for modes of learning or operations - either during a public health crisis or during a normal year.

3 Likes

He was accurate. They were open for in person education. They also offered online for those that chose not to go for in person classes. The fact that students had a choice doesn’t mean he’s lying.

2 Likes

But I believe most, or a large number, of those deaths in NY/New England were in April-May 2020 before anyone truly understood how it was transmitted and how widespread and sneaky a disease it was. It’s not surprisingly it was there first with all of the international travel and mass transit. The rest of us should have known better.

4 Likes

Many (most?) publics across the country had remote for large lecture classes and even smaller ones. Were the NY uni’s state schools or private? Urban or rural? What was the student population of the campus? These factors matter, as does university philosophy about the faculty and freedom to teach using their preferred modality.

2 Likes

MN had lock-downs that mimicked NY and NJ, and yet our fall 2020 case rate per 100k was higher than either of those states had reached. Deaths were notably lower. A couple of reasons for this, including understanding how to respond to the virus better, and the mutated strains that hit our state eventually. But it didn’t prevent us from having a significant spike in cases and that’s hardly surprising: it’s an infectious virus and there was no available vaccine at the time. No state wasn’t going to get hit, regardless of Covid policies.

2 Likes

NYS colleges are all governed by the NYS Board of Regents. The same Covid rules apply to all of them. When colleges were told to send students home last March, they all (public and private) sent them home

1 Like

If there’s anything certain about this pandemic, it is that no one can be certain of anything about it. What we thought we knew at the beginning were incomplete, and often incorrect. Experiences at different places are often different, and even conflicting sometimes. This pandemic made a lot of people look foolish. And it still does.

3 Likes

Oh - undoubtedly. It was the same everywhere! I was referring to any re-opening in the fall, in response to @jeneric’s post about NY vs FL state colleges.

She is on a smaller campus of a huge university with small classes. Already some classes are being scheduled online for the Fall that typically are in person- it’s frustrating. Just pointing out that people assume that going to school in a state that is “open” means in person classes- that is not necessarily true.

1 Like

Agree with that point. My kids’ university is the same: “open” but not all in-person courses. Most of theirs have been remote. Fortunately, dorms, cafeterias, libraries are open and friends are back. That’s a huge plus compared to some of the peer schools (although many had a more in-person experience 2nd semester than in the fall). Also, some people took the year off or did remote for the entire year from home so not everyone’s back. It’s not “open” the way that a normal year would be “open.”

To me the discussion should be about education funding. Instead of saying don’t close schools, it hurts minority children, let’s increase funding so that minority children have the same access to small classes and ventilated buildings as the private schools who have been able to open safely do.

If I was president, last March I would have immediately made an executive order stating a maximum 15: 1 student to teacher ratio for k-12 all over the country on public health grounds to allow face to face instruction for all with enough social distancing. To allow that first fund intense recruitment of college graduates and provide them with emergency fast track teacher training, maybe entice phd holders who can’t get on college tenure tracks to teach AP courses. Then fund year around schooling to further lower individual class sizes, so instead of a kid having enforced 2 semesters over 9 months they have a choice of 2 quarters over 12 months, the same number of classes but spread out more. Not everyone is Christian, some families may prefer to send their kids to school in mid December.

1 Like

Interesting idea, but I point out that 1. Not all PhD holders have any interest or ability to teach K12 and 2. While I support year round schooling, most Americans do not. Large public school systems in my county managed to offer full time in person instruction without drastic changes and there were not the catastrophic consequences some expected. Masks, some expenditures for cleaning, but otherwise a pretty normal year.

2 Likes

How big where the classes in those schools pre pandemic though and how good was the existing ventilation system ? IE how much change was required to make them pandemic safe?

I doubt that 30 + size high school classes continued with no change made at all to mitigate spread.

It is a large district. 65,000 students. I expect the conditions varied among schools and classes, but they managed.

The devil is in the details.

If a school already has low student to teacher ratios and the budget for plexiglass screens, masks, regular cleaning and good ventilation then “ no change “ was required for them to open.

The districts where teachers unions opposed in person classes was where that environment wasn’t there, where it wasn’t safe to reopen.

The options are not just open or closed.

No reason to believe there were low teacher student ratios here. The schools aren’t that well funded, and some are Title I. Windows can be opened for ventilation in most schools. The point is, many, many schools could have made it work, but did not even try. Children will pay a staggering price for that, in dropouts, mental health, and learning loss. I would like to see actual data about what was gained from that-was community spread really prevented like all had hoped? It doesn’t appear so, given this year’s infection rates. Hopefully there will be studies of what actually worked.

I think we can just disagree about the role of teacher’s unions in some places.

2 Likes

Massachusetts just released chronic absenteeism numbers. Not surprising to see but actual data to look at.

“Seventeen percent of Massachusetts students have been categorized as chronically absent — meaning they missed 10 percent or more of their enrolled school days — through March of the 2020-2021 school year, according to Department of Elementary and Secondary Education numbers updated Friday.
With a statewide enrollment total of 911,465 students, that figure works out to more than 154,000 students absent for 10 percent or more of their school days.
Through March 2 of last year, 13 percent of students were chronically absent students, and the percentage hovered near that point in the 2018-2019 (12.9 percent) and 2017-2018 (13.2 percent) school years.”

“This year’s chronic absenteeism percentage is higher among students who are economically disadvantaged (29.6 percent, from 21.5 percent last year), English learners (29.6 percent, from 19.5 percent last year) and students with disabilities (26.3 percent, from 19.9 percent last year) than the statewide 17 percent.
That figure also varies by race and ethnicity — 6.8 percent of Asian students, 12.7 percent of white students, 23.9 percent of African American and Black students and 28 percent of Hispanic/Latino students fall into the chronically absent category.
Among the largest school districts, the department’s data show 26.7 percent of Boston’s 48,112 students are chronically absent, along with 23.2 percent of Springfield’s 24,239 students, 21.7 percent of Worcester’s 23,986 and 21.1 percent of Lynn’s 15,587.”

Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner this spring set deadlines for districts that had not already done so to phase out remote learning. Except for cases where the state approved waivers, elementary and middle schoolers were due back in classrooms in April, and May 17 is the date for high schoolers.