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COVID and School


58 replies to this topic

#1
Darth Ender

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I hear an office assistant explain to a parent over the phone, "we are still finalizing student schedules at this time..."  Ummm okay. 

 

Right now, we are a week and a half from teacher's reporting.  The district has no idea what it is doing.  Communication to everyone, school leaders, parents, teachers, has been non-existent.  This week we had our beginning of the year trainings.  Everything was as if it was status quo.  I went to one on school safety.  "Make sure to do your fire drills within the first two weeks".  The question was asked, "how do you do a fire drill while social distancing"?  Crickets.  This is just one example.

 

As of now, we are following a cohort model.  A class of students and a teacher together all day.  No interaction between cohorts.  Other adults can only be in a classroom for at max 15 minutes and have to stay in a boxed in area.  Cohorts are limited to the number of adults that can interact with cohorts.  If someone in the cohort tests positive for COVID, the whole cohort shuts down and goes to online learning.

 

If a student has a sibling is in a cohort that is shut down, are both cohorts shut down?

 

We are relying a lot on paras to help with coverage...we can't even fill our current para roles. 

 

How do students do specials (gym, art, PE, etc) when a specials teacher is only allowed in the classroom for 15 minutes and cannot interact with the students?  Does the classroom teacher have to assist and manage the classroom?  That is when we have PLCs and teacher planning.  Right now I do not have any time (except for mornings) for teacher planning. 

 

Lunches are in the classrooms.  How are lunches delivered?

 

Teachers are expected to teach both online and off simultaneously....ummm okay...

 

Breakfast used to be students come to the cafeteria, no more.  Students have to stand in designated areas when they arrive at at school...how do they get breakfast?  Who is supervising all these areas?

 

If a teacher calls in (and we have a list of symptoms they must automatically call out for), what do we do with those students if we don't have a sub?  We can't use paras for emergency coverage.  Speaking of which, we have a sub shortage already and had to use emergency subs nearly everyday last year.  Who watches that class?

 

Students that do show symptoms in the morning are required to go home.  Where do they go while we are waiting for parents to pick them up?  What if parents don't pick them up?  Who is supervising them?  We are already stretched super thin.

 

Buses are running limited routes so carpooling will increase...so much for cohorts.

 

Students that refuse to wear a mask are sent home and can be dismissed from in person learning.  Easy way to get around truancy...

 

How are we pulling intervention groups?  What about special education?  Providers cannot push-in and we can't pull students out in a manner that will meet IEP minutes. 

 

If we are remote:

 

It is just ridiculous to expect students of any age, let alone primary students, to be engaged in online learning for any meaningful amount of time. 

 

How do we expect a 5 year old to navigate a browser, apps, etc using a touch pad...  I just ordered $5000 in math manipulative but most kindergartners cant open up a milk carton....

 

What if parents aren't there to help students? 

 

What about students without access to technology?  I just bought 450 Chromebooks to bring us to 1:1, but what about internet?

 

I have been told to prepare for anything and these are just a FEW questions I am struggling with....

 

If I was in charge put 2 paras and 2 specials in each wing of the school...staff can only serve those wings...but in those wings, everyone has to wear masks, sanitize, wash hands, etc all day but within those wings it is generally BAU.  But I can't do that because that would be too many adults interacting with students and have a few teachers for students whom opt for home learning.  No idea for transportation, but who fn knows. 

 

 



#2
Tank

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My kid's high school announced their plan a few weeks back-- they were giving a choice of part time at school and online, or fully online.

 

The on-campus part would divide the student body to come on alternate days, and have classes half-full. Mask required at all times.

 

We weren't sure. Obviously, fully at home was safer-- but my kid already loves video games, especially now that it is the only way for him to socialize with friends-- is to get online and play. That means he's in front of a screen constantly outside of sleep and meals. (He's 15, he doesn't want to hang with us).

 

Even though it didn't feel right, we were considering the split way, letting him go to school a bit just for a change in routine... but we had a LOT of questions about procedures and What Ifs from the school that they could not answer.

 

Then Cali got re-locked down, and now they are saying the first semester will be online only and then they will re-assess.



#3
Darth Ender

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My kid's high school announced their plan a few weeks back-- they were giving a choice of part time at school and online, or fully online.

 

The on-campus part would divide the student body to come on alternate days, and have classes half-full. Mask required at all times.

 

We weren't sure. Obviously, fully at home was safer-- but my kid already loves video games, especially now that it is the only way for him to socialize with friends-- is to get online and play. That means he's in front of a screen constantly outside of sleep and meals. (He's 15, he doesn't want to hang with us).

 

Even though it didn't feel right, we were considering the split way, letting him go to school a bit just for a change in routine... but we had a LOT of questions about procedures and What Ifs from the school that they could not answer.

 

Then Cali got re-locked down, and now they are saying the first semester will be online only and then they will re-assess.

We have announced we are going back fully and parents have the option to opt out, however that hasn't been approved by our board.  Watch for a lot of school districts have the rug pulled out from under them days before students return.



#4
Ms. Spam

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We're trying to do small for kids who need hands on. So they have identified certain students and age groups and parents that would be willing to let their kids come to school for half days. No lunches. No recesses.  We are cleaning and cleaning and pushing hand washing and other protective things. Basically they're going to take the bigger kids classes who can do more online type learning for my Charter school and use them for smaller kids so there will be one teacher, one person to help clean and keep things organized and kids masked and six kids in a classroom.

 

Until October 1 I am going to do online learning and grading for my 4th and 5th graders with one meeting at school a week in the auditorium stretched out so they can sit at one table and we're going to have plastic shields between us. 


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#5
Cerina

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I do not envy you guys, Ender and Spam. Or any of you with school aged children actually. This is an impossible situation with no right answers but a whole lot of wrong ones (that keep being pushed anyway). 

All of my homeschooling groups have seen a HUGE surge in membership this week, but we keep having to explain that while, yes, we do typically have a co-op and park days and field trips and parties and classes and other opportunities for socializing and group learning, we probably won't this year. We can't do our normal thing either. This seems to upset a LOT of new homeschooling parents. Like...they really do believe this is just a government conspiracy to gain control over the population, so switching away from government run and funded schools somehow means this virus isn't an issue any longer. 

People are massively unhappy no matter what our district decides. And with every decision they make, it seems like our governor or TEA or the county judge comes right behind them to undo those decisions. It's making my head spin, and I don't even have a dog in this fight anymore! 


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#6
Destiny Skywalker

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We dont start until after Labor Day. Daughter's private school is offering in person or fully virtual, but the disclaimer to switch to virtual said you will be waitlisted for in-person should you change your mind and potentially for next year. I can understand this year but I think that was a poor decision to say next year, too. Maybe they are trying to encourage people not to choose virtual? That said, they are really really good at operations at this school. I would not be surprised if they really do have a plan for everything. So far we are going to let our daughter attend full-time in person but I think eventually the state or county will step in and force them to go virtual. They have been running their preschool program and summer camp without issues. Honestly, if my daughter is virtual, I can handle it.

My son's school district announced they are not making a decision until 8/10, which I think is smart because making a decision in June is just getting everyone worked up for no reason. That said, Seattle public schools and the adjacent school district announced 100% virtual this week. Many schools that announced early picked the hybrid, 2 days a week model, which has all the working parents screaming. I can tell you that I am feeling like I will eventually lose my job if the kids aren't in school. My boss started asking who can come back so they can plan for seating. My coworkers and I are all very uncomfortable with this line of questioning because it feels like parents are being targeted. I'd love a stay at home wife but I wasn't blessed with one of those.

Obviously, I would really prefer that special education students be prioritized for in-person learning. The state has also stated that last spring's excuses for not doing IEPs will not be accepted this year. I was super pissed to discover at my son's IEP meeting that the PT was really not meeting the hours even before COVID and made excuses that it was because the school was under construction. We are doing private therapy now and they did a much more thorough evaluation of his fine-motor skills. I shouldn't be so angry but I am just furious about how he has been treated like a second-class person. It is so clear that no one prioritizes special education and that it's just lip service. He is stuck in a self-contained classroom again this year because we didn't get to attempt the transition to general education because of COVID. If he is virtual, I don't even want to work on the busy work they will assign him and I'd rather work on what he needs to work on (like handwriting, which they did him no favors last year with not having them do the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum like the other Kindergarten classes. But I don't know if I can pull him to homeschool without denying services and losing those in the future.

I want the kids to be safe. I want the teachers to be safe. I think my kids can follow most of the rules (ok, my daughter better than my son) and wear their masks but I see a lot of idiots out there and they are why it's not safe to return to schools. I'm so frustrated with the American public because they cant even act in their own self-interest. My neighbor is a school counselor and she has an immunocompromised senior. She is terrified of sending him and she also can't leave him home alone because he has a seizure condition. They need to find a way to keep kids like him safe and have teacher and staff like her be able to be virtual.

God, I hope we have a vaccine this winter and that its actually safe. I'm no anti-vaxxer but I'm pretty nervous about the Trump Administration pushing something through that isn't fully vetted.
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#7
Cerina

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So here in Texas homeschooling doesn't exempt you from an IEP and services. They're available to everyone. I don't know if it's the same up there, but it's worth checking into. 


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#8
Ms. Spam

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The Administration has been a **** show with this pandemic. And living in GOP state hasn't helped Texas either because our leadership in the governors office is just as bad. This is all new to us though compared to Asian countries who have been wearing masks since the bird flu. So we have a steep learning curve to get over. But it doesn't help that our country is full of dumb and many believe stupid things like this is a hoax or China manufactured this to bring us down. 

 

The worst part for my school is they tend to drag feet on doing anything proactive. I had to wait until 3 days before new teacher orientation to get information about how the first day of school is going to go and that's still changeable too!


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#9
Iceheart

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Said it before and Ill say it again - I am so glad I dont have to deal with all of this and kids, too.
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#10
Cerina

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Today, our school district finally revealed their full plan for the fall. People are losing their ****. Though it's all basically what we all kinda knew anyway. I really do understand and empathize with many of the complaints, but I also recognize most of it to be a complete and utter failure in our society and government. 

 

Schools shouldn't need to be the literal lifelime that they have become. Working parents should be able to feed and provide outside care for their kids without sacrificing their jobs or  going broke. Special needs parents should be able to get services and therapies for their kids. We shouldn't be worrying about the rise in child abuse if children aren't spending a third of their lives away from home. 

Also, our district is requiring masks and social distancing for everyone and 4-5 hours of online 2-way instruction or videos for PK-5th. It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation for these parents. 


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#11
Ms. Spam

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I am just trying to be upbeat for right now because it's not the kids fault and I don't want my frustration spill into what I teach. When I wasn't dealing with family bs this summer I spent time working on my online teaching game. So have some new tactics I am going to start implementing. 



#12
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My only concern is having the appropriate devices to do online school work for three kids; my two youngest are still elementary school aged (with one still enrolled in speech therapy) and my oldest one (thats still at home) is starting her sophomore year of high school.

My present laptop, that my high schooler uses, can barely run modern windows and struggles to even open itunes. I know my district uses Chromebooks for every student, which as a side note I think they got through some grant, but how could it be feasible to loan out all those Chromebooks to students? I also know Chromebooks arent that expensive, if we end up having to buy our own we have a contingency fund, but still thats a dip in the budget.

Afterthought: Oh, my district has stages of how school will happen. Typical things, right now however they are on the online only stage due to the weekly average of local COVID-19 diagnoses being above 30 a week.
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#13
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Were homeschooling. It was a tough call, and were still trying to figure out my sons IEP with homeschooling. Its possible, we just have to find the right providers to be able to use the scholarship from the state. Im glad were doing it, even though a major reason is that Im high risk for Covid, and I might already have it.
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#14
Destiny Skywalker

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Our school district loaned out Chromebooks and mobile hotspots to every student that needed it. We actually bought one in anticipation of going virtual so we did not borrow one. It was about $200. My husband would rather buy another one instead of borrow from the school district because he doesn't want to deal with the insurance and the deductible (which I have heard is terrible) if one of the kids drop it.
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#15
Ms. Spam

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We're basically donating the laptops to family homes. My school district is running a kind of fundraiser. We're hoping to get the laptops and hotspots back but honestly it's hard to expect that. USAA donated about 250k. In the long run a home with a way to get on the internet and a computer helps them even after the pandemic. 


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#16
Darth Ender

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We are going fully remote for the first quarter.  I prefer to be back in-person, but the restrictions put on schools on what going back-to-school in person looks like make things....and I hate to use the word...but impossible. 

 

I have bought 450 Chromebooks and bought $5000 in math manipulative for every K-2 student and students requiring interventions.  My school has 1200 students so we will be 1:1. 

 

The district brought case managers/learning specialists back 10 days early to reevaluate IEPs. 

 

In all of this I am focused on my circles of control, influence, and concern.

 

What I can control: Students are provided with technology (except internet), providing a core time of synchronous instruction in core instruction, providing high quality asynchronous options, providing PD to all my staff to make this transition,

 

What I have influence over: I have a plan to support parents through this process (which I want everyone's feedback once I start), but at the end of the day they still have to engage),

 

What I have concern: The bottom line is equity.  I am in a high poverty school and most students do NOT have laptops.  I have to buy them.  I would have a half a million dollars more to spend on other cool stuff if most of my students had their own laptops.  I am buying meals for my students.  I am buying books for my students.  Necessities that many student's already have from more affluent districts. 



#17
Darth Ender

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I wanted to make this into its own post because I think it is that important.

 

Parents are freaking out about how to support their students (not referring to schedules/childcare, but actual academic support)....

 

The very fact you are freaking out means that your family values education....this is the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING!!!!

 

For example, reading to your child is important, but the impact of this on your child's education is WAAAAAAY overestimated.  Even knowing this, I read to my boys every single night....sometimes for hours.  Because we value education, all of us here read to our kids, have tons of books and resources in our houses, provide ongoing educational activities and experiences, make sure they have clear routines and bedtimes...

 

As an administrator, I LOVE challenging parents...because MOST of the time, they are just trying to get the best education possible for their child...I respect that.  What I hate is the parent that isn't there (and even with that, I want to understand why they aren't there and support the parent in getting them back into the school). 

 

So....in close....you all are awesome!  I wish you all were parents at my school :)


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#18
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New teachers report on Monday, so I have all my professional development planned and ready to go.  Friday at 5:00 I get a call saying the first round of district COVID testing came back and we have three sites with multiple staff members test positive so now all training has to be done remotely and only TWO admin staff can be in the building.  Ugh....  All this weekend I am reworking PD to be done remotely...this sucks. 



#19
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Heres my sons School Districts return to school plan: http://track.spe.sch...WwuY29tWAQAAAAB

None of this is an ideal situation. Me and the ex-wife have agreed to let the kiddo go back to in school sessions. Our school district did a survey with parents and teachers. 90% of the parents wanted their kids to return to an in-school format, 89% of teachers wanted to return to an in-school format. Our school district is one of the bigger school districts in Missouri, with about 20,000 students. Well see what happens.

#20
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When my sister moves in she is immunocompromised so I am worried about how in school teaching will go. I did the survey in my district of what I would prefer. I don't know what school will be like when we begin in this new way of meeting. A lot of it comes down to how disciplined students can be. 

 

I keep thinking about how much push back we got from parents as students got tired of home teaching. There was a lot of frustrations which I mentioned at our first workshop on this for the new year. Kids shutting down and not wanting to go on, kids parents freaking out because "new math" wasn't the way they were taught and in general just the same things we used to have issues to keep them focused. HA!



#21
Destiny Skywalker

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My son's district announced last week after the county health district announced they did not recommend in-person learning that they are doing virtual, with 3 phases of hybrid learning before they do a full return to normalcy. I think it sounds like a good plan, actually, but I hope to God that special education and IEP students are Phase 2.

My daughter's private school is insisting they will be in-person. We are going to have some hard decisions if the caseload gets significantly worse and the state/county doesn't step in with a mandate (I think they will, so I probably don't have to worry). Like I said earlier, if any school can do it, it's probably them. But if they can't... I will have to pull her, and we probably won't go back.

#22
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A bunch of teachers did a pandemic protest by driving in a caravan to the school districts offices and parking in the parking lot and doing a social distanced protest about school openings. It happened in the three major school districts in San Antonio. There's a lot of teachers out there that I suspect like distance learning and teaching in their pjs. We also have had a lot of teachers resigning. Personally I can't afford to quit, nevermind quit my second job, now that Tina is coming to live with me. Some of my plans are changing and we need to save for a down payment for a bigger home. Quitting now is just dumb. But I suspect my school load is going to change. I maybe helping teach higher math to distance learners since I'm certified for K-12 math and science. 

 

https://www.sacurren...during-pandemic

 

These teachers are staging a die-in. LOL. 



#23
Destiny Skywalker

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My daughter's private school is insisting they will be in-person. We are going to have some hard decisions if the caseload gets significantly worse and the state/county doesn't step in with a mandate (I think they will, so I probably don't have to worry). Like I said earlier, if any school can do it, it's probably them. But if they can't... I will have to pull her, and we probably won't go back.


Well, tangentially related, I just found out that the state youth soccer organization says the new limit of 10 people gathered in Phase 3 does not apply to youth soccer, up to 50 people are allowed to gather in Phase 3. So now I have a little less faith that they will shut down the school if they aren't being careful enough. Fml. Switching to the virtual option practically kicks you out and does not guarantee your in-person spot for even the next school year. I can understand the rest of the year, but I think saying your spot may not be held for next year was super lousy. Sigh. My daughter needs this school and gentler environment. We struggle so much when we do activities outside of the school atmosphere. Soccer is going much better this year because they put her in a pod of 5 kids without jerks, which was a minor miracle (and one of her podmates goes to her school). I am almost dreading when they have to open it up to the whole team practicing together because there is one big jerk (the other jerk quit, thankfully).

#24
Darth Ender

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A bunch of teachers did a pandemic protest by driving in a caravan to the school districts offices and parking in the parking lot and doing a social distanced protest about school openings. It happened in the three major school districts in San Antonio. There's a lot of teachers out there that I suspect like distance learning and teaching in their pjs. We also have had a lot of teachers resigning. Personally I can't afford to quit, nevermind quit my second job, now that Tina is coming to live with me. Some of my plans are changing and we need to save for a down payment for a bigger home. Quitting now is just dumb. But I suspect my school load is going to change. I maybe helping teach higher math to distance learners since I'm certified for K-12 math and science. 

 

https://www.sacurren...during-pandemic

 

These teachers are staging a die-in. LOL. 

If you are certified teaching K-12 math, you should have no issues getting a job in a district/ school that is more accommodating. 

 

I taught AP Physics and AP Environmental Science and I have old resumes floating out in the innerwebs and I still get a few calls throughout the year from random schools asking if I am still looking. 



#25
Darth Ender

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Heres my sons School Districts return to school plan: http://track.spe.sch...WwuY29tWAQAAAAB

None of this is an ideal situation. Me and the ex-wife have agreed to let the kiddo go back to in school sessions. Our school district did a survey with parents and teachers. 90% of the parents wanted their kids to return to an in-school format, 89% of teachers wanted to return to an in-school format. Our school district is one of the bigger school districts in Missouri, with about 20,000 students. Well see what happens.

Yeah...that's pretty much what our looked like before we went online.  The only additional caveat was the number of adults students could come into contact with each day (4 for K-5 and 3 for 6-8). 

 

"Stagger dismissal. Masks will be encouraged, but not required.On the bus: Students will sit in assigned seats. No more than two to a seat. Masks required grades 3-5, encouraged for K-2.At the bus stop: Students from different households should social distance."

 

LOL





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