Evidence-based Research Tells Us We Should Open Schools

There is currently an active discussion on what schools should do this coming Fall. I agree that the decision should be based on evidence. The burden of proof rests on school closures since the negative impact of children staying home is crystal clear. The mere fact that caretakers and health-care workers are stifled by school closures is very important to consider especially when hospitals and homes for the elderly are already facing difficult times. Whether school closures are effective in reducing the transmission of the novel coronavirus needs to be addressed. And it is to this question that research can provide an answer. Without any benefit of helping control the spread of COVID-19, school closure is simply damaging society. With almost half a year and more than a hundred countries affected, we have data that can help measure the effect of school closures on mitigating COVID-19. At this moment, research shows that school closures have little or no significant impact on the pande…

Based on Good Data, Fairfax Should Open Schools

There is recent news regarding hundreds of children getting infected with SARS-CoV-2 in Texas, but one must take into account that there are more than 12000 daycare centers that have remained open in that state. The new cases (307 children and 643 staff members) come from 668 childcare locations. These numbers are important to consider because this translates to less than one child and about one staff member per location where a case has been detected. More than 11000 centers have not reported a case. It therefore remains clear that children are not significantly contributing to the transmission of COVID-19. Adult-to-adult transmission is dominant which means schools can safely reopen as long as adults maintain social distancing and wear masks. It is true that data from the United States is lacking so it is reasonable to be skeptical as a lot of things are still unknown. However, there are countries around the world that have good and thus, reliable data. Iceland and Luxembourg are ex…

Pediatricians' Recommendations for Schools this Coming Fall

The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) wants to make this clear: Pediatricians strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school. The academy warns us of the negative impacts on children due to school closures. The Brookings Institute also reminds us of what we now already know with regard to school closings during World War II. Psacharopoulos and others tell us that these still have an impact on the student's lives some forty years later. They even try to put an estimate on the cost of school closings for four months, reflected in a loss in earnings, in the US: Two and a half trillion dollars. Of course, there is no price tag for saving just one life from COVID-19. Thus, AAP is likewise mindful of the safety concerns. 
First, the AAP evaluates what we know so far regarding the epidemiology of COVID-19. The AAP notes: SARS-CoV-2 appears to behave differently in children and adole…

We Should Open Schools with Masks and Shields

It has been twelve days since my family participated in a community rally for black lives matter. Knock on wood, I have not heard from anyone in the rally who have contracted the novel coronavirus. These rallies have been widespread, but no surge in cases has been associated with these gatherings. In our neighborhood protest, it was impossible to maintain a social distance of six feet, but there was one thing everyone was able to observe. Everyone was wearing a mask.

Several weeks have already passed since massive rallies for George Floyd were staged. Yet, surges in cases have not occurred. Take, for instance, Minneapolis, the epicenter of these protests. At this time, the city is reporting only 1.4 percent positive for those who were tested and also attended rallies. The same is true for other major metropolitan areas where demonstrations happened.

The photo and caption above probably captures the reason why a surge in cases has not materialized: Widespread masking. People were worried…

Mason District Holds a Protest with a Community Feeling

Black lives will only start to matter if we dismantle systems that either advance or encumber a certain group of individuals. No amount of education can erase racism for this grows from self-interest. Our children know this since they are not born with this attitude but with our misguided desire to be at an advantage, children grow within a system that either favors or burdens them. We do not need to educate. What we need is to change the educational system so that it serves all students. Equity is the only answer. We heard our children more than a week ago here at Mason district. The community is united in this endeavor but protest rallies need to end with action and we must change our institutions. The following is a repost from Blue View. In this, Abby Block states, "Perhaps that tells us something about the depth and breadth of the effort that has just begun and shows no sign of abating." I sure hope so.

Mason District holds a protest with a community feelingJune 17, 202…

Planning for Schools Reopening in the Fall

There are still at least a couple of months before school starts in the United States. COVID-19 is obviously under serious consideration. With the pandemic affecting all countries all over the world for the past four months, there is still a lot of uncertainty regarding how the virus spreads. Spreading of the virus has been noted in stadium events, parties, restaurants, and religious gatherings. Of course, infection occurs easily within a household. Most children are only mildly affected by the novel corona virus but they can possibly serve as carriers. Some schools in other countries have reopened and it maybe useful to learn from their experiences. One country is Israel. Schools in Israel started with a staggered schedule and strict social distancing near the beginning of May, but after two weeks, these limitations were lifted. And the COVID-19 data of Israel begins to suggest a second wave.

To describe the current situation inside classrooms in Israel, the following from a parent i…

Black Lives Matter and Anti-Racism Works

The following is a repost from Women In and Beyond the Global. Jocelyn McCullough is one of the voices heard during Annandale's Family March on Black Lives Matter. Jocelyn is a student leader of the Equity Team at Justice High School.

Black Lives Matter and Anti-Racism WorksJUNE 10, 2020 BY 

“Thank you to the Anderson, De Dios, and Sandoval-Moshenberg families. I appreciate this opportunity to speak my truth  Before I begin I would like to have a moment of silence to acknowledge the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Manahoac, Nacotchtank, Piscataway First Nations tribes on which we are standing, working, and learning in today. For those who don’t know me, I am Jocelyn McCullough I am a proud and unapologetically Black girl in America  I am a scholar  I am a student leader at Justice High School  I am the great grand-daughter of a Tuskegee airman I am the granddaughter of Black Panthers who were at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 196…