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I posted a poll here yesterday and the majority of those who responded felt that schools should be open provided that everyone adheres strictly to guidelines. Here's PART of the guidelines in our community:

The Westchester County Department of Health issued a letter to school districts on January 4, 2021 advising schools of changes to the quarantine procedures. Our Medical Director carefully reviewed the changes, and approved them for implementation in our schools. The quarantine rules essentially note that individuals within six feet of a positive case for 10 or more minutes are required to quarantine for 10 days. The quarantines are required regardless of whether masks were worn and/or polycarbonate barriers were used.
This revised DoH guidance, coupled with the six-feet distancing and mask guidelines that we are following, has resulted in fewer individuals being quarantined. In addition, when students learning remotely test positive for COVID, there are no school quarantines necessary as the individual would not have been in the school while positive.
With regard to bus quarantines, the previous guidelines called for the entire bus to be quarantined, irrespective of their distance from the positive individual. In some instances, the two individuals could have been 35 feet away, yet everyone on the bus was required to quarantine. The current guidance requires anyone within six-feet of the individual for 10-minutes or more to quarantine.

Duration of Quarantines
As we have previously shared, the quarantine period in New York State has been reduced from 14 days to 10 days provided the individual remains asymptomatic. Regardless of whether an individual tests negative for COVID, the quarantine period for anyone exposed to a COVID positive person may not be reduced.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1j4-027EvsWxm7DkS5MUg9yCTS7I...

Thank God my kids aren't going to that school. If they were, I'd opt for remote learning until the pandemic is under much better control. And who's protecting the teachers?????

The pandemic got out of control almost a year ago mainly due to stupidity. The then president (we won't mention his name) and many of his followers pooh-poohed Covid. We saw what happened.

It seems to me that the stupidity is alive and well. Of course I appreciate the value of in person education. And I understand that many parents need a baby-sitting service so that they can go to work.

But here's the thing. GUIDELINES can be deadly. Administrators can allow dangerous situations simply by showing that they are acting in conformance with the guidelines. Do you REALLY thing that it is reasonable to try to estimate "within six feet of a positive case for 10 or more minutes???" And what about the kids riding on school buses? Or socializing outside and showing up with the virus?

Will it kill us to keep the classes remote for a while? It will no doubt kill some of us if we don't.
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Will it kill us to keep the classes remote for a while? It will no doubt kill some of us if we don't.

What I can say is that remote learning is a serious downgrade to classroom learning for the kids. The spring term last year was a disaster for our son. The learning was terrible, socially and psychologically it was terrible. Continuing like that for a full year would have been incredibly difficult.

The government in Luxembourg recognized this and has prioritized keeping schools open (as have most countries in Europe). They stayed open through the wave in November/December. They only did remote learning for one week after Christmas. Rules locally (some specific to school, others for the general population) are:

* masks at all times in school, except when eating lunch
* masks mandatory on public transport (most kids take public buses rather than specific school buses)
* masks mandatory in all public places for everyone
* limit of 4 kids per table, with distancing, at lunch (lunch staggered across several hours to make space)
* kids bring their own water bottles/no drinking from fountains
* sanitizer and cleaning increased
* no team sports--PE class is a lot of ping pong and badminton and (fortunately for kids who aren't getting much exercise) swimming
* visitors to home limited to 2 people
* bars and restaurants (except take away) closed
* if a positive case is found in a student's household, that student must quarantine and do remote learning for 2 weeks and proven negative test
* if 2 cases are found in the same class, the entire class goes into quarantine

This is bolstered by widespread random testing to find asymptomatic cases along with on-site testing at schools. For example, one of the local schools recorded 4 cases of the UK variant this week. In response, an on-site testing facility is being set up to test every student in the school over the next few days. (Personally, I'm worried this variant might prove so contagious that we have to go back to remote learning at some point. For now, it doesn't have much of a foothold locally, but it appears to be exceptionally contagious.)

Aside from one small outbreak early in the year, I am not aware of any significant spread through the schools. Nor am I aware of any teachers dying or getting extremely ill. And while Luxembourg is a small country and does not get much attention, we went through a period in December with one of the highest per capita case rates in the world.

All that to say, schools can remain open safely. However, it takes a lot of vigilance, testing support, remote learning capacity for quarantined students, and strict rules in society.
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My son has been teaching 4 days a week and hasn't gotten sick or had a positive covid test since the beginning of the school year. Of course, his district (one town) is upper middle/middle class in Massachusetts--lots of doctors, lawyers, executives, programmers, including professional immigrants--and few trumplicans that do dumb things like party unmasked.

My grandchildren have been attending school half-time in NYC. DGS was notified once that he was exposed to covid and had to quarantine for 2 weeks (he ws fine and tested negative). NYC probably does the best job in the entire country of contact tracing. None of DD's family--including her husband back at his workplace for months--has gotten sick.

SO. I think being very careful works. But it means EVERYONE has to do it. Abnd in some communities where trumplicans predominate, that's just not gonna happen.

So I think Democratic school districts can reopen safely, but perhaps not Republican ones.
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My son has been teaching 4 days a week

correction: he's teaching 5 days a week, but Wednesdays at home.
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All that to say, schools can remain open safely. However, it takes a lot of vigilance, testing support, remote learning capacity for quarantined students, and strict rules in society.

I agree, saunafool. But in my opinion, the district I cited falls far short of those standards, as you can see by the policies I quoted.
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