Patterico's Pontifications


Parents Logging Off To Protest Online School

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:00 am

[guest post by Dana]

Parents frustrated with distance learning in California are planning to log off in protest:

Families who say they have had enough of distance learning are calling on students to log off statewide for a full week to protest the continuing closure of public schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The planned weeklong protest is starting Monday, September 28, and is set to go until October 2.

With distance learning, you can’t just ask the teacher to help you,” said student Nicholas Han.

His mother Syndie Ly has four children who have all been learning at home. But this week, they plan to participate in the “Zoom out.” Ly helped organize the strike through the Facebook group Reopen California Schools. It now has more than 6,800 members.

“It’s very difficult to take AP classes doing distance learning twice a week. You can’t possibly do AP classes doing distance learning,” she said. “With regards to my middle school, he has expressed a bit of depression.”

Most of the state’s K-12 schools did not reopen classrooms when the academic year began. To reopen schools, counties must first move from the purple to the less restrictive red tier. In many cases, districts then have to renegotiate terms with teachers unions before making a decision.

COVID-19 cases have remained fairly low across the Bay Area. But last week, state public health officials warned that hospitalizations could dramatically increase over the next month. Many of these cases could be tied to Labor Day outings. Flu season is also on the horizon.

Meanwhile, the White House was reportedly putting pressure on the CDC to massage a more positive message about students physically returning to schools:

The White House put the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under immense pressure to produce more evidence that suited the Trump administration’s agenda to send kids and teachers back to school in person before the election despite the raging coronavirus pandemic, The New York Times reports. One member of Vice President Mike Pence’s staff claims that she was repeatedly asked to instruct the CDC to write more reports that showed a decline in virus cases among young people. The staff member, Olivia Troye, said she regretted being “complicit” in the effort, and left the White House in August. One unnamed former public-health official told the Times that, before a task force briefing in June, White House officials asked the CDC for supportive data in “a snazzy, easy-to-read document.” Recent data shows that hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-1 have increased at a faster rate in children and teens than among the general public. One coronavirus tracking project has reported at least 30,000 cases in U.S. schools since the school year began.

While there have been outbreaks at numerous schools throughout the U.S., and districts have had to reverse course and move to online learning as a result, there is some positive news:

Thousands of students and teachers have become sick with the coronavirus since schools began opening last month, but public health experts have found little evidence that the virus is spreading inside buildings, and the rates of infection are far below what is found in the surrounding communities.

This early evidence, experts say, suggests that opening schools may not be as risky as many have feared and could guide administrators as they charter the rest of what is already an unprecedented school year.

“Everyone had a fear there would be explosive outbreaks of transmission in the schools. In colleges, there have been. We have to say that, to date, we have not seen those in the younger kids, and that is a really important observation,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

On Wednesday, researchers at Brown University, working with school administrators, released their first set of data from a new National COVID-19 School Response Data Dashboard, created to track coronavirus cases. It found low levels of infection among students and teachers.

With 570 public and private schools and school districts participating in both in-person classes and hybrid classes volunteering data to Brown University, here are some details:

The researchers found that during a two-week period beginning Aug. 31, about 0.22 percent of students and 0.51 percent of teachers had a confirmed or suspected case of the coronavirus. The rates were even lower when looking solely at confirmed cases at 0.075 percent for students and 0.15 percent for teachers.

The Post noted that additional early data in Texas and the Northeast are signaling optimism as well.

According to data released last week, about 2,350 students who were found positive for the coronavirus — or about 0.21 percent of the 1.1 million students attending school in person. The Post noted that an additional 2,175 school employees tested positive, although a rate could not be calculated because it was not clear how many of the state’s more than 800,000 school staff members were working in school buildings.

And finally, New York City’s elementary students are returning to in-person classes today:

Elementary school students in New York City streamed back into classrooms with masks, temperature checks and globs of hand sanitizer on Tuesday as the nation’s largest school district tries to safely open schools amid the coronavirus pandemic…New York City’s daily positivity rate rose to 3.25%, the first time it has gone over 3% in months, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday. The 7-day rolling average positivity rate stands at 1.38%. If that 7-day rate goes over 3%, de Blasio has said that the city will close all schools… The in-person education is limited: A hybrid schedule has students in the classroom only a few days a week, with the rest of their learning online. About 54% of students are participating in that blended model, while 46% opted for fully remote learning, according to the latest preference survey results from NYC’s Department of Education.


13 Responses to “Parents Logging Off To Protest Online School”

  1. Good morning.

    Dana (292df6)

  2. LOL @ CA parents being completely ignorant on how protests work.

    Send the little darlings down to bust windows, block traffic and set fires.

    harkin (ea3da9)

  3. very easy to force the mail vote, if the schools are closed and the churches,

    bolivar de gris (7404b5)

  4. Rebrand in-person schooling as “BLM protest” and the covid concern magically goes away.

    beer ‘n pretzels (d299f9)

  5. Mrs. Montagu is teaching middle school special needs kids from home via laptop. It’s a tough go. They’re already squirrely to begin with, and doing it outside a classroom is harder.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  6. My neighbor is in the same position, Paul Montagu. She says that if there was ever a demographic for whom online learning is *not* for, it’s the Special Needs students. They require so much individual attention, physical closeness, and constant encouragement that the online platform just doesn’t afford them the ability to meet the students’ needs. My neighbor feels so badly for them, and feels like a terrible disservice is being done to a high-need group. On top of which, our state has not adjusted the expectations to meet this unique set of circumstances, but the governor has instead been very clear that the expectations and standards must be upheld – as if there weren’t a pandemic happening and there weren’t the vast majority of students at home on a computer.

    Dana (292df6)

  7. Alexander

    Even after a correction/update from its own reporters (& a New Yorker article pointing out how corrosive it is), the Times just can’t quit the Korean study & the perilous school reopening narrative
    _ _

    Liz Cohen
    I just started twitter-shouting about this also. This is beyond comprehension to me. There is so much data out there now that shows there is NO increased risk of transmission with open schools. This is reckless journalism for some political end-game.
    __ _

    Stefan Baral
    I realize that I stand alone in this thread in my support of Amb. Birx’s position that:

    1) Students fortunately not being a major risk to their teachers
    2) Engaging SAMHSA in the decision making process.

    The politicization of this response will not save lives.

    harkin (ea3da9)

  8. They’re already squirrely to begin with, and doing it outside a classroom is harder.

    Paul Montagu (77c694) — 9/29/2020 @ 1:01 pm

    Seems like it would be impossible. I hope she weathers the storm well but I understand the frustration from parents who were relying on the childcare, especially in Texas where a lot of folks are going back to work if they can.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  9. Thanks Dana and Dustin. They’re all still trying to figure it out. PE class is complete brain damage because all the focus is on charting instead of actual physical activity. These kids need physical activity.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  10. The issue here is that the schools were not prepared technically. The school’s bandwidth sucked — it was like one of those zoom meetings where some of the participants seem to have dialups, except for everyone. And not because of the kids, who all had damn good internet.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  11. Florida schools reopened en masse, but a surge in coronavirus didn’t follow, a USA TODAY analysis finds

    Many teachers and families feared a spike in COVID-19 cases when Florida made the controversial push to reopen schools in August with in-person instruction.

    A USA TODAY analysis shows the state’s positive case count among kids ages 5 to 17 declined through late September after a peak in July. Among the counties seeing surges in overall cases, it’s college-age adults – not schoolchildren – driving the trend, the analysis found.“

    harkin (ea3da9)

  12. @11 we have the opposite issue. The school internet is great, apartment complex internet is a wreck. We’ve given out so many hot-spots.

    Nic (896fdf)

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