Just after the newsletter was published on Wednesday, a reporter asked Governor Andrew Cuomo at a press conference whether New York public schools would be open on Thursday.
“Parents are always confused,” Wall Street Journal reporter Jimmy Vielkind said.
“They’re not confused,” Cuomo replied sharply. “You’re confused.”
A few minutes later, our colleague Eliza Shapiro announced that the schools would effectively close after less than eight weeks of in-person lessons.
“This summer and fall have been extremely stressful and confusing for parents,” Eliza told us. “But this week may have been a nadir.”
The official decision finally came just after 2 p.m. in an email from the district sent to principals, and not from Cuomo or Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had repeatedly delayed his own press conference. Parents only had a few hours to organize Thursday’s babysitting.
“In my savings, I’m already paying someone to supervise my kids and manage distance learning while I’m working,” wrote a parent named Kelly, who has a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old. frustrations published on the Le 74 news site. “Why do we pay taxes?”
On Thursday, the parents of some of the 300,000 students who had returned to classrooms for blended learning came to town hall to protest the closure.
One of the parents, Laura Espinoza, has six-year-old twins, both disabled. They went to school in Brooklyn five days a week – a rarity for students in the city. Now they will have classes at home indefinitely.
“They don’t adapt to change quickly; it hasn’t been good for them, ”she said.
Marilyn Martinez and his wife work full time. “Does the mayor think we’re all stay-at-home moms?” asked Martinez, who lives in Harlem. “I ran out of family leave.”
Across the country, women bear the brunt of child care, and mothers have left the workforce at alarming rates to see their families through distance learning. In New York City, low-income women and women of color disproportionately bear the brunt of school closures.
There are also still tens of thousands of children, including those in homeless shelters, who have not received the iPads or laptops the city promised.
The Times has counted more than 68,000 new cases on college campuses since early November. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 321,000 people on campuses have tested positive. At least 80 have died.
To get the hang of this chaotic semester, take a look at the University of Michigan, one of the nation’s largest universities.
The flagship Ann Arbor campus did not initially implement mandatory weekly or bi-weekly testing, although thousands of students returned to the dorms. Nearly one in three classes have met in person, despite protests and protests from professors and graduate teachers. The Big Ten football season began after a delay, with tailgate parties.
The result? Cases have increased, with social gatherings a major source of infections. In October, county health officials ordered the entire campus to take shelter in place.
“The chaotic downfall of school characterized the struggles of the major state universities that tried to maintain a semblance of normalcy amid the contagion, allowing intercollegiate sport, Greek life and off-campus housing – often without the type of mandatory coronavirus test considered crucial to contain outbreaks, ”our colleague Shawn Hubler wrote.
Today, students have left campus and returned home after the university switched to near-universal distance education.
In January, the university will cut in-person learning to just 10% of classes and limit dorms to one occupant, which has put students into a frenzy as they search for off-campus accommodation. Michigan has asked students not to return to campus unless they have the next semester and will require testing for anyone who does.
“It’s too little, too late,” said one parent.
Unicef, the United Nations agency for children, has weighed on school closures around the world. Its verdict is damning: keeping children at home is causing significant and lasting damage and has not been effective in curbing the spread of the virus.
When schools closed in the spring, some 463 million students around the world could not access any distance learning. In November, according to the study, school closures still affected nearly 600 million students.
“Unless the world community urgently changes its priorities, the potential of this generation of young people may well be lost,” Unicef warned.
Jamesha Waddell, a 23 year old student at Livingstone College in North Carolina, died Thursday of coronavirus.
A judge ordered University of Miami, in Ohio, to reinstate two students who hosted around 40 people at an off-campus party in August.
As a result of off-campus gatherings, 48 students tested positive for Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania, Victoria Durgin reported for The Quill, the campus newspaper. (The total, as of August, is 65.) The university moved the class online almost two weeks earlier than planned and quarantined six dorms.
A student voice: Students in New York’s public university system began to doubt the value of online learning. “The value I get for this current training is not equivalent to the price for the semester,” a senior told Andrew Meshaj, student journalist.
A good read: In his continued coverage of the athletics program at University of California, Berkeley, our colleague Billy Witz spoke with Henry Bazakas, a player who retired from the season, citing health problems. Nine days after calling his trainer, Bazakas discovered that his scholarship had been cut short and that he had been billed over $ 24,000.
in the District of Colombia, the teachers’ union again rejected a preliminary agreement to reopen public schools.
The governor of Kentucky has cut off in-person education for public and private students as cases multiply statewide.
On November 30, all DenverStudents in public schools will switch to distance learning at least until January, due to “dangerously high Covid-19 prices outside schools. “
In Florida, where state officials had mandated the school in person and threatened to curtail funding for online learning, schools will be able to offer online classes next semester.
An opinion: “The American education system is already passing the pros and cons from generation to generation,” Nicholas Kristof wrote in an opinion column for The Times. “Rich kids go to rich schools that propel them forward, and low-income kids go to struggling schools that hold them back. School closures amplify these inequalities. “
A good read: “The map of districts that are learning in person and those in blended or distance learning is strikingly similar to an electoral map,” wrote Dr. Benjamin P. Linas, associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Boston University Vox. “And neither side – red or blue – succeeded.
Tip: Support grieving students
Brittany R. Collins, Curriculum Writer, offered insightful suggestions during Education Week on how educators can help grieving children.
“We’re not who we were a year ago,” Collins wrote. “Understanding how grief and trauma intersect with teaching and learning allows us to better meet new student needs while recognizing and honoring our own.
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