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COVID Current Events as of July 21, 2020

Each week, we have been collecting news articles, publications and other items of interest related to COVID and schools to inform ERS' own work to support school districts to manage through the uncertainty. We wanted to make this collection available to district leaders, school leaders, state education leaders and other partners working towards reimagining what school could look like during and after COVID-19.

 Constraints from Social Distancing:

  • A study of 59,000 people in South Korea found:
    • Children under the age of 10 do not transmit the virus as readily as adults
    • However, children ages 10-19 transmit the virus as often, if not more, than adults
  • The WHO recommends that local economies open only when the positive case rate is below 5%: only two of the ten largest school districts, NYC and Chicago, are in counties reporting rates lower than that threshold (as of 7/14)
  • In Florida, 31% of the 54,022 people under the age of 18 tested positive for COVID-19


Implications for System (JHU state and national policy tracker):

  • The74’s interactive map shows state-by-state guidance of operational considerations – meals, face coverings, temperature checks, hand washing, school busses, classroom setup and schedules
  • Vice President Biden released his Roadmap to Reopen Schools which includes:
    • Support for the HEROES Act which allocates ~$58B to local school districts
    • An additional emergency package that provides $30B to schools for safe reopening
  • In California, Governor Newsom issued an order that requires counties to be off of the state monitoring list for 14 days to consider opening schools in-person
    • As of 7/20, more than half of CA’s 58 counties were on the watchlist


Implications for Schools (CRPE District Response Tracker):

Parents’ Response

  • A Reuters/IPSOS poll found that 4 in 10 parents say they will likely keep their children home if school resumes in-person

Teachers’ Union Response

  • The AFT and its local affiliate, the Florida Education Association, sued Governor Ron DeSantis over his mandate that schools open in-person despite surges in coronavirus cases
  • The local AFT affiliate of Fairfax County sent a letter to the district saying that opening with a hybrid model on 9/8 is unrealistic, and instead the district should plan on reopening fully remotely
  • In Wisconsin, teachers from the five the largest districts shared a letter with Governor Evers requesting that school reopen fully virtually

Principals’ Response

  • A survey conducted by the National Association of Elementary School Principals found:
    • Only 26% of principals support a full reopening
    • 50% of respondents prefer a hybrid model for reopening; 17% opted for ‘exclusively remote learning’ and 26% preferred ‘school in person five days per week with normal full days’
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