Schools Look Forward to Reopen Under President-Elect Biden’s Reopening Programs

As the U.S. COVID-19 number of infection cases and deaths continue to rise uncontrollably, schools holding in-person classes are now shifting to remote learning. While President-elect Joe Biden is already on the cusp of transitioning to his role as new president come Jan. 20, 2021, school administrations, teachers, parents and students are looking forward to having a clear path in which schools can reopen safely even while still amidst the ongoing pandemic.

As it is, the country has not made genuine progress that will allow schools to operate safely. Safe reopening in schools denotes that educational institutions will at least have regular and rapid testing in place; as well as have established quick methods of contract tracing.

School Reopening Initiatives Under the Trump Administration

Under the Trump administration, resuming in-person classes was largely problematic because the soon-to-be terminated Secretary of the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos, simply echoed out the orders of her outgoing boss. Trump wanted schools to reopen because other countries have done so.

However, the Trump administration forced schools to reopen without presenting clear and specific guidelines other than those released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which the White House made sure did not contradict the views held by the seated U.S. president.

Devos’ Department of Education practically absolved itself from the responsibility of coming up with workable solutions or even of tracking how the COVID-19 virus affected schools that reopened by way of in-person classes. As a result, many schools in America today have closed down and shifted to remote learning as a significant number of teachers have either become infected, or in quarantine as virus transmissions continue within most communities.

A Quick Look at What Incoming President Biden Announced as Plans for School Reopening

According to the new president’s coronavirus task force, the Biden administration will give priority to school reopening over other nonessential establishments like bars, restaurants and gyms. One of the members of the task force, Dr. Celine Gounder said that they look to providing education as an essential service.

President-elect Biden is aware of the problems schools are facing since he stated during the presidential debate that schools need funds to open safely. Now that he won the presidential election, his coronavirus task force shares that President Biden’s plans include not only providing schools with money needed through local and state governments

The soon-to-be-POTUS promises to find ways to send as much as $88 billion for schools to use in making school classrooms and facilities functioning safely, including expenses that will be incurred in compliance with the protocols prescribed by the national guidelines that the Biden administration will set forth.

Moreover, the group also said that the Biden administration will address the systemic racial and socioeconomic inequality in the U.S. education system, which Trump had exacerbated. As President-elect Joe Biden’s wife Jill is a community college professor in Virginia, the first couple vows to work toward substantially increasing public school resources.

At this point, we wish to remind the coronavirus task force not to overlook the plight of the seniors who have gone back to college after going into retirement. The pandemic had placed them in a situation which they avoided by going back to college— that of having too much time doing nothing.

There’s a huge population of seniors out there who are also raring to go back to their respective community college. As seniors are the most vulnerable group of students, higher education officials should make sure there are distance learning courses available for the elderly. In colleges and universities that will accept senior citizens for in-person classes, steps must be taken to ensure that this group of adults will be provided with something as simple as senior-friendly comfort rooms, in which basic health care provisions, like a tested non slip shower mat for elderly students is in place.

Can Schools Run Normally Again After The Corona Pandemic

Returning to school has always been exciting. In times of Corona, this may no longer be true. And this not only applies to students, parents, and teachers but also to politicians, doctors, virologists, and other professionals who are also looking forward to the start of school with anticipation or concern.

Is there a threat of new outbreaks or even the dreaded second wave? If contacts between children increase again? What should the new normal in classrooms look like? And does it lead to schools being closed again?

While in other parts of the world, modular education and online classes are going on? Would this be true to other parts of the world?

How to reopen schools without spreading the coronavirus

The fears

There’s a lot to be worried about in these times of health crisis. When children are introduced back to school, there could be a mix – and the number of infections could increase. The fear is that schools and daycare centers could contribute to this in normal operation.

Everyday school

life with risk: Living with uncertainty – from the perspective of the experts surveyed, this will still be important for some time. The risk of school openings does not go beyond what we see in other social contexts. There is a risk everywhere. Local outbreaks are inevitable, even a corona vaccine is not yet introduced. We have to learn to deal with outbreaks.

Schools should prepare in the event of a renewed closure, whether of individual classes or the entire facility, so that they can quickly switch back to distance learning or other models, for example. It is an illusion to assume that there will be continuous regular operations in autumn and winter.

Final Thoughts

Reopening schools to children may not be a good option but there are alternatives to continuing education for students of all levels – from primary, collegiate, and even technical schools such as those learning the skill of printing and choosing the best printer for cardstock. This is the new normal that we, as a nation should cope up with.

 

Florida Gov. Pushes for In-Person School Attendance; Educators Say NO

Florida governor Ron DeSantis is pushing for in-person school attendance when classes reopen in August, but educator groups want to carry on with online classes only. This is in light of Florida’s worsening health crisis, especially now after test results of 16, 797 Florida kids aged 18 and below revealed they were infection positive.

The pediatric COVID-19 cases represented 31% of the 54,022 Florida children who underwent testing. Although only 1% of the pediatric cases have been hospitalized, which resulted to four (4) deaths, the main concern is that children can also be transmitters of the disease even if they do not show any signs or symptoms.

Educators are Against Holding of In-Person Classes Upon School Reopening

Alberto Carvalho , Superintendent of Miami-Dade Public Schools considers DeSantis’ call for in-person school reopening as somewhat fair and balanced. Mr. Carvalho was making reference to DeSantis’ tweet, which he said respects local decision-making, which will be based on actual conditions at the time of school reopening.

However, Karen Resciniti, president of the Martin County Education Asso. disagrees. She said making decisions for school reopening based on current conditions could spell catastrophe. Many educators in Florida counties are hesitant to return to in-person teaching in classrooms.

Florida county teachers’ unions are also against the holding of in-person classes as there are still no signs that cases of infections in Florida is on a downward trend. In contrast, Florida now is a leading hotspot as the number of active cases continue to grow at a rapid rate.

Debra Robinson, a county School Board member, who is also a retired physician said that a majority of school board members are likewise not comfortable with the idea of reopening classrooms.

Even if Governor DeSantis is all for school reopening, he acknowledges that the final decisions on how schools will resume, will come from county school boards.

Reopening Dilemmas Faced by Schools

Educational institutions face reopening dilemmas that require plans for addressing not only health safety issues, but also their capabilities to earn revenues.

Unless a vaccine is already in place, schools cannot just reopen without instituting plans for addressing prevention and control of coronavirus spread.

Such plans must be built on three basic necessities: safe-distancing, testing and contact-tracing. If schools are to reopen, they have to consider the number of students in each room, which of course must conform to safe-distancing measures of at least 6 feet apart.

The Impact of Safe-Distancing Measures on School Revenues

Instituting safe distancing measures means limiting the total population of students who will be occupying the existing number of classrooms available. As a consequence, bringing down the student population number will likewise yield revenues that might not even be commensurate in meeting overhead costs.

After all, private educational institutions are tuition-fee dependent, and can operate profitably only if the number of students enrolled for each semester, will bring in tuition fees that will exceed total operational costs for the year.

Given that advancements in videoconferencing technology can now support the holding of remote classes, many students, particularly those belonging to the low-income bracket do not have access to reliable Internet connection. Moreover, not a few, face living conditions that cannot provide them with spaces conducive for online or distance learning.

As a result, many students could forego attending classes and  instead, simply wait when everything goes back to normal; or when an anti COVID-19 vaccine is already available.

Changes Could Intensify Problems Faced by Schools

Smaller Class Size but with Increased Class Sessions Per Subject

Educators will also feel the impact of potential changes since subject lectures and discussions will spread thinly across several class sessions. If the number of students attending each session is reduced, the number of sessions presided over by every subject teacher could double, or even triple. In effect, it also increases efforts exerted by teachers. Since revenue generation will become an issue, hiring of additional teachers will be out of the question.

Increased Efforts in Instilling Discipline

School administrators and teachers will have to intensify methods and efforts in instilling discipline among students, in and outside of classrooms, campus, and dorms.

Students coming in and out of the campus must be constantly monitored for signs or symptoms of coronavirus infection. Schools therefore must have a quick-response team trained to handle situations whenever monitoring results reveal potential signs of infection.

Decisions for Reopening School During an Ongoing Health Crisis

Although the decision to reopen even during an ongoing health crisis is up to the school board officials, any decision to do so must be backed by commitments of enrolling students and their parents in abiding with new rules that the school will impose. That way, school administrators will not be detracted from carrying out their core mission of providing education, albeit under modified teaching conditions and environment.

Moreover, resource availability is also a determining factor for reopening decisions. Availability of technology for providing safe and efficient approaches to learning amidst a coronavirus crisis, are factors that college students will consider before deciding to enroll once the school reopens this fall semester.

Even faculty members and administration staff will have to weigh the safety and workable situations in which they are expected to function as educators and support personnel.

In the meantime, school administrators can consider collaborating with a provider of call center outsourcing service to handle incoming and outgoing calls. Putting in place an efficient crew who will be in charge of answering queries with reduced wait-times, and on a round-the- clock basis immediately sends a sign of a school’s preparedness. Besides, there are local call center outsource firms that render their service under a no-contract agreement in order to make a low-cost arrangement flexible.

Saugus High School Shooting Tragedy Indicates Need for Further Study

The recent school shooting incident that occurred in Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California last November 14, 2019, has once again sowed terror and fear in the hearts of students, parents, teachers and school administrators alike.

Despite previous studies that aim to strengthen school security measures and early detection of potential perpetrators, questions on how and why such incidents happen remain unanswered.

Where schools already implement varying methods, as well as impose rules and regulations governing student conduct, it became apparent that anti-bullying programs, student counselling of troubled-students and closer mediation, are not complete solutions that can prevent school shooting incidents.

Whereas before, bullying was pinpointed as the foremost reason on why young victims harbored hostility that drove them to counter with violent reactions. The Saugus High School shooting incident made it apparent that more research is needed to determine not just a single factor but all factors that combine and lead to school violence.

Saugus High School Shooter Baffles Friends, Teachers and Police Authorities

District Supervisors and school administrators are tasked to utilize as many resources as possible, including increasing security guards, using metal detectors, CCTVs and performing student-profiling.

Yet after 16-year old Nathaniel Tennosuke Berhow, a student of Saugus High School took a gun to school to commit one of the most dreaded acts of aggression, including suicide, school administrators are once again in a quandary. The incident is said to be the 30th crime that transpired within a school premise, this year.

Friends and neighbors knew the shooter from childhood as a smart and non-violent kid, albeit of the introvert type. There was hardly any indication that the young man had the potential to turn hostile and violent.

 

Authorities are baffled about young Berhow’s motive since he never figured as a victim of bullying, nor manifested support for violent ideologies. He lived in a modest home with his mother, while his father died two years earlier.

However, investigators found a number of unregistered guns in the Berhow household, in addition to the licensed firearms owned by the young man’s deceased father. The shooter’s father who was described as an avid hunter, was said to have a history of chronic alcoholism and had been jailed before for domestic abuse.

Not even young Berhow’s girlfriend had an inkling that the boy was harboring thoughts of comitting a crime and later suicide right, on the day of his 16th birthday. Up to this date, the young man’s motive was still unclear.

Saugus High School administrators temporarily suspended classes up to December 02, but took to addressing the trauma experienced by their students. They invited school-shooting expert, Dr. David Schonfeld of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement, to help students, parents and teachers cope with tragic incident upon resumption of classes.

Teach Children How to Know if Water is Safe to Drink

Parents often times make it a point to stress the importance of drinking water in order to stay in good health. However, when on his or her own at school, in camps or in any place away from home, will a child know if the water he or she is about to drink, is safe?

It is important therefore to give children, at least some basic guidelines on what to drink or not to drink.

Safety Pointers that Children Must Know When Drinking Water

Most adults know that for a drinking water to be safe, it must not contain metals, chemicals, bacteria, fluoride, chlorine and other similar contaminants. When on their own, children do not have an inkling how to know about those..

The best way therefore is to orient them about the sources of safe and unsafe drinking water, in addition to explaining what makes a source safe or unsafe.

  • Let your children know that schools in the US are required to provide clean and safe drinking water. Water must be derived from protected sources such as piped water, dug wells, tubewells, or by way of commercially delivered purified water.
  • As part of their knowledge, make them aware that a water source is not protected if it shows signs of leakages. In most cases, contaminants coming from wastes have potential to enter through a pipe breach.
  • Tell children not to drink from the protected water source if there is flooding in the area. As parent, it is your responsibility to provide them with safe drinking water that they can bring to school. Do this until you have ascertained that school administrators have had water coming out from protected sources, checked and tested as free from contaminants.

  • When eating in malls or fast food outlets, advise them not to drink water provided by the establishment. Even if water comes from a protected source, or even if purified water is served, they might drink from tumblers that have not been properly washed, or stored protected from crawling insects. To satisfy thirst, it would be better to buy bottled drinking water to stay safe.
  • Children often spend their vacation outdoors, usually swimming with friends in community lakes, or in a friend’s private swimming pool. Instill in your children the importance of not taking chances in dirty bodies of water or in swimming pools that have not been cleaned and treated. Contaminated water entering through any body openings will allow microorganisms to invade their body. The important microorganism to avoid is e.coli, because having them in one’s bloodstream can result to severe health disorders.

In time, as your children get older, they will have learned how to determine if the water they are about to drink is safe or not.

When Will Students Learn the Consequences of Bringing an Airsoft Gun to School?

Despite stricter laws imposed by state governments regarding replica firearms such as airsoft, air or BB guns, incidents in which a realistic-looking airsoft gun is brought to school, still happen.

 

Apparently unaware of the consequences of such action, some students still cause alarm and apprehension to fellow students by bringing a replica gun to school even if for a harmless reason. As a result, other students will send text messages to their parents or to a school authority, or approach an adult in charge.

In 2 separate school incidents in Michigan, school authorities alerted the local police after receiving text messages that a student brought a firearm to school. One of which took place in Lapeer County’s Almont Community Schools in Feb. 20, 2018. The other incident happened in Mt. Morris City at Montague Elementary School. The Mt. Morris City Police Department school liaison officer was able to immediately get hold of the replica gun.

In both cases, local police authorities handled the confiscation actions and investigations, and if called for, the student’s detention.

The Mt. Morris officer stated that even if the gun was found unloaded and inoperable, the state prohibits the act of bringing any type of gun to school. Severe school disciplinary actions must be carried out, even if necessitating the involvement of law enforcers.

Apparently, not a few children are aware that in Michigan, the penalties for bringing a replica or real firearm in school include up to 93 days imprisonment, 100 hours of community service, a fine of up to $2000, which in all probability will be imposed on a parent if the erring student is a minor.

Why the Presence of Airsoft Guns in School is Not a Trivial Matter

 

The bringing of a replica gun to school is no longer treated as a trivial matter that can be addressed later. First off, it is not easy to instantly tell if a gun in the school premise is only an imitation firearm. Mainly because airsoft guns are intentionally designed and built to resemble a genuine firearm. If a brand or edition of an airsoft rifle is touted as the best airsoft sniper rifle, then it practically looks the same as its real-life counterpart.

Secondly, there were past incidents of school mass shootings that could have been prevented, had school and law enforcement authorities, been notified as soon as the assailant’s firearm was spotted. That being the case, parents and school administrations have raised children’s awareness about the criticality of alerting school authorities, once they see or detect the presence of a firearm; regardless of whether the students think the gun is real or not.