‘I see a disaster in the making.’ Professors slam reopening plans at Illinois colleges amid COVID-19 crisis, prompting some schools to reverse course.

Illinois State University’s first attempt to articulate its vision for reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic this fall didn’t sit well with everyone.

The plan, dubbed “Redbirds Return” after the central Illinois college’s mascot, drew swift criticism from faculty after it was shared in early June, prompting instructors to draft their own proposals and call for greater precautions when scores of students are expected to descend on campus next month. The faculty’s letter objecting to plan has been signed by more than 500 employees, students, parents and other community members.

“Since releasing the plan, we’ve received a great deal of feedback,” ISU President Larry Dietz said earlier this month. “Many faculty and staff members have also made it clear they would like a greater voice formulating plans.”

At the same time, Dietz announced modifications the faculty had been seeking: increased flexibility to work from home, through at least December, and to

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Back to school? Despite CDC recommendations, most major schools going online as COVID-19 cases spike

As COVID-19 cases rise in most states, the prospect of in-person learning this fall at the country’s major school districts is becoming increasingly remote.

So far, nine of the top 15 school systems by enrollment plan to start the fall semester online, with two more currently planning a hybrid of in-person and online classes, according to Education Week magazine’s reopening tracker. Other top districts shifted school schedules later, hoping for cases to decline or for teachers and administrators to have more time to plan for the school year. 

As back-to-school season approaches, it’s highly likely the majority of big districts will start learning remotely while they work out plans for socially distant reopenings, said Annette Anderson, deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Safe and Healthy Schools.

The biggest factor: whether the community where the school is located is seeing infection rates decrease, said Kristi Wilson, superintendent of the

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CDC COVID-19 advice tells schools to wash hands, wear masks, don’t touch. But not when to close

School districts across California continue to debate how and when to reopen — if they should at all.
School districts across California continue to debate how and when to reopen — if they should at all.

Parent check-list for back-to-school: Label your child’s face mask with permanent marker. Have them practice putting on and taking off their mask without touching the cloth. Make a labeled, resealable plastic bag to store their mask during lunch time. 

Those are among the suggestions the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has for school administrators and parents as families prepare for school to resume in the fall.

Students should wear masks, wash their hands frequently and socially distance to protect against COVID-19 as schools reopen this fall, CDC urged in new guidance documents for administrators published Thursday.

“It is critically important for our public health to open schools this fall,” said CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield in a release.

“I know this has been a difficult time for our Nation’s families. School

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What Other Countries Can Teach The U.S. About Safely Reopening Schools

One of the many challenges of reopening classrooms in the United States is that there isn’t much good data, if any, about what could happen. Will in-person learning lead to a jump in the transmission of COVID-19? Will students and teachers get sick? How many? How sick?

There is so much that health officials, teachers, parents and kids will simply be forced to learn in real time. And what works in another population, in another country, may be very different from what works in this population, here. 

“There are so many different ways in which schools have reopened around the world, and it’s hard to put in a capsule to say ‘This is the best way’ or ‘This is potentially something we can replicate,’” said Dr. Ibukun Akinboyo, an assistant professor in the pediatrics department at Duke University School of Medicine.

Yet there is something to be gained by looking

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Open schools for younger kids, top pediatrician says

Kindergarten teacher Holly Rupprecht carries plexiglass panels to her room at Zion Lutheran School in Bethalto, Ill., on Monday. (Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)
Kindergarten teacher Holly Rupprecht carries plexiglass panels to her room at Zion Lutheran School in Bethalto, Ill., on Monday. (Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

WASHINGTON — Younger children pose a smaller risk of catching and transmitting the coronavirus, a top pediatrician told Congress on Thursday, providing a scientific argument for why elementary schools could potentially open in parts of the country next month.

“School systems may consider prioritizing the return of younger children and taking additional measures to ensure physical distancing and the wearing of face coverings among older children,” Dr. Sean O’Leary told the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education on Thursday morning. 

The hearing was titled “Underfunded & Unprepared,” a sign of how House Democrats, who control the chamber’s agenda, view the matter. 

O’Leary, a vice chair for infectious disease at the American Academy of Pediatrics, also cited a South Korean

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Back to school? Most major schools are heading toward online class as COVID-19 cases spike

As COVID-19 cases rise in most states, the prospect of in-person learning this fall at the country’s major school districts is becoming increasingly remote.

As of late Wednesday, 11 of the top 15 school systems by enrollment were already either planning to start the fall semester online or in a hybrid of in-person and online classes, according to Education Week magazine’s reopening tracker. Still other top districts have shifted school schedules later, hoping for cases to decline or for teachers and administrators to have more time to plan for the school year. 

As back-to-school season approaches, it’s highly likely the majority of big districts will start learning remotely while they work out plans for socially distant reopenings, said Annette Anderson, deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Safe and Healthy Schools.

The biggest factor: whether the community where the school is located is seeing infection rates decrease, said Kristi

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Pasco Schools To Delay Start Of School 2 Weekss

LAND O’ LAKES, FL — At least one Tampa Bay school district won’t be sending students back to school April 10.

Pasco County School Superintendent Kurt Browning recommended a two-week delay to the start of the school year, with students returning to school on Aug. 24 instead of Aug. 10. Teachers will return to work on Aug. 17.

The school board unanimously approved Browning’s recommendation at Tuesday’s Pasco County School Board meeting. Pasco is the first Tampa Bay school district to delay the start of the school year. The Hillsborough County School Board is expected to make a similar decision on Thursday.

The decision comes two days after a popular Seven Springs Middle School sixth-grade teacher died from the coronavirus.

“Here in Pasco County, we share the health and safety concerns being expressed by parents, students and teachers,” said Browning who was also diagnosed with the coronavirus over the summer.

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Fall 2020 Reopening Plans At The Top 100 U.S. Business Schools

They’ll be following all the rules this fall at the University of Michigan: masks, social distancing, smaller class sizes, frequent hand and surface washing, and more — much more. They’ll also be pioneering new rules for a new reality, particularly in the realm of remote instruction, as befits one of the country’s leading centers of social and cultural innovation. Put it all together and Scott DeRue, dean of the Ross School of Business, expects a memorable term.

“As with every year, I’m looking forward to welcoming students back to campus safely for a very successful fall term,” DeRue says. “Of course, I also recognize the profound difficulties that many of our students face in this moment, and that much uncertainty remains for all of us. We will get through this, and we will do it together.”

Five months after it shut down business school campuses and curtailed spring instruction and … Read More

Facing uncertain fall, schools make flexible reopening plans

MANCHESTER, Mo. (AP) — Administrators in the Parkway school district in suburban St. Louis spent the summer break crafting a flexible reopening plan, with options that include full-time classroom learning, full-time online instruction and a hybrid system.

It’s a good thing because the dangers of the coronavirus are so uncertain that district officials are reluctant to make predictions about the fall semester, which begins in only five weeks. Confirmed coronavirus infections in Missouri’s hardest-hit city waned in June, but they are now spiking, along with hospitalizations. Schools plan to resume classes Aug. 24.

“If you had asked me even two weeks ago, ‘Do you think we would be able to come back?’ I would have said, ‘Yeah,’” Assistant Superintendent Kevin Beckner said. “Today my answer is ‘I’m not sure,’ just because of how the situation has changed so quickly.”

Schools around the U.S. face the same dilemma. With the number

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Cobb County Schools Go Online Only, Joining Other Metro Districts

EAST COBB, GA — Cobb County’s schools joined other area districts Thursday in announcing that fall classes would be online only.

Speaking to the Cobb County Board of Education in an online meeting, Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said he made the decision because “we didn’t have any more information than the people asking the questions” about mask use and safety standards.

Ragsdale said guidance from Dr. Janet Memark of Cobb & Douglas Public Health — who emphasized that the county is in a state of “high transmission” — helped him make up his mind.

As of Thursday, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported that 258 Cobb County residents have died of COVID-19, second only to Fulton County. The health department also reported that Cobb had confirmed 7,713 cases of COVID-19, placing it fourth out of 159 Georgia counties.

Ragsdale told the board that kids in classrooms not only would be

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