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'In-person instruction is essential.' Santa Clara County issues guidance for reopening schools

Original post made on Jun 30, 2020

The Santa Clara County Public Health Department released on Tuesday its guidelines for reopening public and private schools this fall, which leaders said aim to provide as much in-person instruction as is safe.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, June 30, 2020, 6:35 PM

Comments (12)

Posted by Don't worry
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 30, 2020 at 10:02 pm

This will change 2 more times before school starts. Then someone will get sick on the third day of school and it will all go back to online.

Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 1, 2020 at 9:21 am

Good to have a plan for a time when the virus is not spreading. That time has not arrived. Maybe run an experiment over the summer using elementary school children. Put 30 children in a classroom - duly volunteered by parents who need a babysitter and are willing to sign waivers of liability - add cornovirus and see how long it takes for each one to test positive. Then see if family members also test positive, get sick, get very sick, suffer permanent harm and die. Report the results.

Posted by Science
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 1, 2020 at 9:37 am

@Gary, there is already a plethora of science on this topic, it is unlikely that COVID-19 will be spread by students when schools reopen at the same rate that is has amoung adults. This Wired article (with primary source refrences) sumerizes the science pretty well: Web Link We know a lot more now than we did in March thanks to many hard working scientists around the world. Please educate yourself!

Posted by Lots of questions
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 1, 2020 at 10:44 am

About to read the whole 23 page document but a few questions came immediately to mind:

Classrooms aren't designed to hold 30+ students at 6 foot distances. How are they suggesting schools accommodate all students in-person all day? Is there a minimum threshold of in-person time (2 days) or are they suggesting we need more teachers (more $$)?

There are fewer and fewer teachers being trained by teaching programs at colleges/universities (mostly due to a lack of societal respect and compensation for their job prospects). What's the suggested replacement plan for what happens when those close to retirement or those who are just fed up leave? You still will need that certificated individuals to provide instruction. Where will they come from?

With so few substitutes available in the county pre-pandemic, what are the suggestions for substitutes when teachers must quarantine due to exposure?

Also, how exactly do you have stable cohorts of students in middle/high schools who may share a level of class in one subject but not others (e.g. same English class, but some students in Geometry, some in Algebra II, some in Calculus). You can't differentiate and effectively cover standards with such a diversely skilled group. And generating student cohorts with matching skill sets to be taught by existing available teaching staff in limited space environments will be extremely difficult if not just plain impossible without bringing in more teachers to handle the extra cohorts. Success of cohort assignment seems to be left to the luck of the draw each site has with their student populations. The more educationally diverse the school site, the more cohort channels you'll likely need.

What extra services are we providing staff (classified and certificated) who have regular, close interactions with students? Suggested PD for behavior issues, health care, teaching models? PPE provisions for schools ($$)? Testing supplies? Child care for teachers/staff whose children's school is in a distance learning state while their site is not? COVID-19 patients who experienced severe symptoms are now believed to suffer from PTSD, do we have expanded services being offered by the county for mental health of staff and students? Are we preparing grief counseling for deaths of students and staff? [Portion removed]
What mitigation efforts are being suggested to alleviate or at least mitigate students' anxieties and the all too often source of stress, their parents' demands?

Maybe the answers to all these and other questions I have are in the document.

Time to get another cup of coffee and sit down for a read and a hopeful mindset.

Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 1, 2020 at 10:51 am

@ Make-believe "Science": i did check your link to a story in "WIRED " whiich argues that children under 10 are less likely than adults to get sick from the virus. Less likely. That has been said all along. The question is how many will get sick in the setting proposed and whether the virus, in turn, will be passed to others including family members and then even somebody pretending to be "Science." Instead of conducting an experiment on millions of school children and society starting in August, I suggest 30 students this summer. Better to use 30 guinea pigs than 3 million.

Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 1, 2020 at 10:56 am

And beyond how many children will "get sick," there is the matter of transmission from children who develop no symptoms at all. But the experiment I propose will take into account that aspect.

Posted by Enough
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 1, 2020 at 11:11 am

"The county guidance notes that school closures disproportionately harm disadvantaged students... School closures magnify socioeconomic, racial and other inequities among students."

Yes then by all means we should open the doors of all the schools and sacrifice the health of everyone to soothe the liberal consciences of a few. And when the teachers and doctors start dropping like flies, and the high achievers and contributors to society suffer the same fate at least we can say what? What exactly is the point? That everyone was deliberately put at a disadvantage? Pure genius. Regardless, just one student of teacher dies and the whole plan will come apart.

Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 1, 2020 at 11:57 am

Make sick and kill everyone equally. No thanks. I read that all school children here had gotten access to remote learning. If not, start replacing those in charge. Not all parents are out of work or cannot work from home, of course. But remote learning - sometimes in school groups - could be the new model. I noticed something odd about the county health department report linked to the article. It tells a story about the importance of in-person schooling and then cites two non-existent state statutes as mandating reopening when feasible. The report says these state laws (Education Code sections) are "in the process of being enacted." Maybe the MV Voice or sister papers will look to see where those proposed laws are in the legislative process.

Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 1, 2020 at 12:45 pm

I meant to say "small groups" in the last post - not "school groups." Here is the idea: For students that cannot be left at home to access and actually participate in remote learning, form neighborhood groups of students with a stay-at-home parent in charge. The smaller group is far less likely to spread the virus than a classroom of 30 students or a school of 500 students. Maybe even these groups will not be safe enough. This much is clear. It is time to start thinking outside the box - not toss 500 children back into a box and hope for the best.

Posted by Scott S.
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 1, 2020 at 2:26 pm

The socialization and emotional benefits of in-person learning (physically being with teachers and peers) cannot be underestimated. Distance learning has been incredibly hard for our family, and we have no problem with Internet access, bandwidth, or materials. It's mentally and emotionally draining (and in many cases devastating) for the whole family. Just about every parent talk to has similar stories.

It's easy to talk about the benefits of online learning (and there certainly are some), but unless you have kids and see the emotional trauma, you don't have the whole picture.

Here is the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics: Web Link

(And a summary from NPR: Web Link

Posted by Gerard Shonk
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 1, 2020 at 9:59 pm

@Enough - The people they’re talking about are the families who cannot afford to stay home while their kids are stuck in distance learning. You know, the parents who are the essential workers who made your life possible these last 4 months. The argument to get kids back in the classroom is based on hard data, while the arguments to keep them home is based on speculation and fear. Santa Clara County did a good job articulating this in their guidance.

Posted by BDBD
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 2, 2020 at 10:10 am

It is definitely good news that people who study this stuff think that schools can open safely. The guidance points out that this virus is not like the flu, that other countries have been able to reopen schools successfully, that teacher-to-student transmission is more likely than student-to-student, and other evidence-based reasons supporting each requirement and recommendation. Those of you who are worried about catching it despite all of this can certainly keep your kids home, but there's a bit more "workable optimism" here than there used to be.

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