Arizona won’t make schools reopen in mid-August

PHOENIX — Arizona’s governor says public schools won’t be required to reopen for in-person learning as expected in mid-August as the coronavirus pandemic continues at a high level.

Gov. Doug Ducey said Thursday that the state Health Services Department will develop a set of scientific guidelines that school districts and local public health officials can use to determine if it is safe to reopen classrooms.

The governor also says bars and gyms that he ordered to close a month ago won’t be allowed to reopen.

Arizona has topped 3,000 deaths from the coronavirus and has nearly 153,000 confirmed virus cases.

___

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Trump administration’s $21 million gamble on heartburn medication as virus remedy fizzles.

— Virus sends jobless claims u p for first time since March

— White House drops its bid for payroll tax cut in COVID-19 rescue package

Read More

Businesses turn to tech as they reopen

When employees at the 3D bioprinting company Cellink went back to the office Monday after nearly five months, they were required to clip a small piece of Bluetooth technology onto their clothes before walking through the office’s front doors.

The devices, made by the Austrian company Safedi, are intended to make sure people are socially distancing in the office. A green light shines when people are at least six feet apart.

A red light flashes and the device emits a noise when people get too close.

“Safedi has already shown its value in just one day, especially when it’s time for those coffee breaks,” Cellink CEO Erik Gatenholm said.

The devices are one example of the varied and sometimes bizarre tech-infused solutions businesses are using in an effort to get their employees back to work and offer their customers a safe environment amid the ongoing outbreaks of the coronavirus in

Read More

Schools Can’t Reopen Safely Without A Lot More Money. Congress Is Running Out Of Time.

WASHINGTON ― In a matter of weeks, millions of children will head back to school in the middle of a pandemic, leaving millions more parents filled with anxiety about risking their child’s health ― not to mention school staff ― to get an education.

Public schools cannot safely reopen without a massive infusion of emergency funding from Congress, which is already dangerously late to this. Think of all the things a single school needs: Hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes for classrooms. No-touch thermometers. Regular deep cleanings, which means hiring more custodial staff. Ensuring that every school has at least one full-time nurse (25% of schools have no nurse at all). Someone on every school bus to screen kids’ temperatures before boarding. Gloves and masks for staff. Masks for students who don’t bring one from home. Resuming before- and after-school child care programs with new cleaning protocols.

That doesn’t even factor

Read More

As churches reopen, outbreaks are sprouting and some are keeping doors shut

At a church in Sacramento, California, that has been closed for in-person services since March, congregants occasionally still stop by to pray outside and try to capture a sense of fellowship they dearly miss.

In Nashville, Tennessee, the pastor of an Anglican church has been handing out Communion in the parking lot for weeks.

South of Atlanta, the animated pastor of a 3,000-member congregation tries to summon every ounce of enthusiasm in his body to deliver a lively, music-filled service in front of a live audience of no one, hoping his message and spirit come through on various technology platforms.

None of those are ideal options, but they beat becoming the source of an outbreak of COVID-19.

Almost 40 places of worship and religious events have been linked to more than 650 U.S. cases of the coronavirus since the pandemic began, according to tracking by the New York Times. Along

Read More

Citing Educational Risks, Scientific Panel Urges That Schools Reopen

Outside Publis School 161 in New York, March 24, 2020. (Gabriela Bhaskar/The New York Times)
Outside Publis School 161 in New York, March 24, 2020. (Gabriela Bhaskar/The New York Times)

Wading into the contentious debate over reopening schools, an influential committee of scientists and educators Wednesday recommended that, wherever possible, younger children and those with special needs should attend school in person.

Their report — issued by the prestigious National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, which advises the nation on issues related to science — is less prescriptive for middle and high schools but offered a framework for school districts to decide whether and how to open, with help from public health experts, families and teachers.

The committee emphasized common-sense precautions, such as hand-washing, physical distancing and minimizing group activities, including lunch and recess.

But the experts went further than guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other groups, also calling for surgical masks to be worn by all teachers

Read More

Lower Merion Libraries Reopen, Services Limited

LOWER MERION, PA—Lower Merion libraries have begun in-person service this week. Due to health concerns for both staff and the public, library officials said services will be limited and hours will be restricted.

A full schedule is below:

Library officials have stressed that this will not be business as usual. To make libraries as safe as possible, the following limits will be in place:

  • Libraries will be open for browsing with a limit of 30 minutes per person.

  • Fewer people will be allowed in the building. This will allow for proper social distancing.

  • Requests for books may be placed from the library catalog.

  • The number of computers will be reduced to comply with social distancing rules.

  • Computer use will be limited to 30-minute sessions by appointment only.

  • To help maintain social distancing, not all sections of the library will be open. A large portion of the Ludington Library is closed

Read More

DeVos Abandons a Lifetime of Local Advocacy to Demand Schools Reopen

Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, at a White House coronavirus task force briefing at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. (Jason Andrew/The New York Times)
Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, at a White House coronavirus task force briefing at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. (Jason Andrew/The New York Times)

WASHINGTON — As the nation’s public schools plunged into crisis at the outset of the coronavirus outbreak, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos stuck to the message of decades of conservative education advocacy.

She championed her trademark policies of local and parental control, freeing states of federal mandates, loosening rules and funding opportunities that she said would help schools “rethink education” outside their brick-and-mortar buildings.

But now, as President Donald Trump pushes public schools to reopen this fall, DeVos is demanding they do as Washington says, a stance diametrically opposite to how she has led the department. Already a partisan lightning rod, she has become the face of the Trump administration’s efforts to pry open the schoolhouse doors through force and

Read More

‘Big Mess’ Looms if Schools Don’t Get Billions to Reopen Safely

An empty classroom at Marietta High School in Marietta, Ga., where the district plans to spend $200,000 on desk partitions, July 7, 2020. (Audra Melton/The New York Times)
An empty classroom at Marietta High School in Marietta, Ga., where the district plans to spend $200,000 on desk partitions, July 7, 2020. (Audra Melton/The New York Times)

Bus monitors to screen students for symptoms in Marietta, Georgia: $640,000. Protective gear and classroom cleaning equipment for a small district in rural Michigan: $100,000. Disinfecting school buildings and hiring extra nurses and educators in San Diego: $90 million.

As the White House, the nation’s pediatricians and many worn-down, economically strapped parents push for school doors to swing open this fall, local education officials say they are being crushed by the costs of getting students and teachers back in classrooms safely.

President Donald Trump threatened this week to cut off federal funding to districts that do not reopen, though he controls only a sliver of money for schools. But administrators say they are already struggling to cover the head-spinning logistical and financial

Read More

Trump has zero understanding of what it will take to safely reopen U.S. schools

High school students and their teacher in Cascais, Portugal, wear masks on their first day back in school on May 18. <span class="copyright">(Horacio Villalobos / Corbis via Getty Images)</span>
High school students and their teacher in Cascais, Portugal, wear masks on their first day back in school on May 18. (Horacio Villalobos / Corbis via Getty Images)

President Trump wants to have it both ways: He is pressuring U.S. public schools to reopen, citing nations such as Germany, Denmark and France that have led the way, while insisting that our schools don’t need the kind of money that those countries have spent on safely reopening.

Trump seems to think he can ignore the serious surges of COVID-19 in many states and return the schools to nearly pre-pandemic normal just by wishing it. Do it fast, do it on the cheap — or else.

He’s also ignoring the nation’s own experts, but what’s new about that? Although the administration’s top infectious disease official, Anthony Fauci, supports school reopening, he says the decisions need to be left to local officials who

Read More

School District Opts To Reopen Schools, Make Face Masks Mandatory

TAMPA, FL — The Hillsborough County superintendent of schools has announced that students and staff returning to public schools on Aug. 10 will be required to wear face masks.

After meeting with health officials, business leaders, teachers and school administrators, Superintendent Addison Davis said he believes masks are the best option at this time for keeping students and staff safe from the spread of the coronavirus on campus.

The district will provide three reusable face coverings for each student on the first day of school and three reusable face coverings for each staff member during back-to-school pre-planning.

“The CDC has identified face masks as one of the most effective tools in stopping the spread of COVID-19,” Davis said. “I believe face coverings is the best option we have for providing additional protection for everyone on our campuses.”

He said the county has already acquired 760,000 masks through purchases and donations.

Read More