Let’s Plan for a Hybrid Model in Schools
By Rosanne Crawford of Santa Barbara
Continuing remote only learning is hurting children and families in our community.
On Tuesday 7/21/2020 the Santa Barbara School District will discuss remaining in virtual learning only operation at this time for the fall. Please encourage them to prepare to possibly shift to a hybrid model split between on campus and virtual learning when our county falls off the monitoring list.
To participate by Zoom go to https://www.sbunified.org/board/board-meetings/
Select date of meeting 7/21/20 and open agenda. The agenda has a” link” complete this form with cut off at noon Tuesday to register to receive an email for a participation link.
The Governor’s Order
The new mandate states our county has to meet its metrics established by our Public Health Department to get off the “hit list” to open schools. Our County was placed on the State monitoring list based on several factors that include hospitalizations, hospital capacity and the number of new cases. See the data they are monitoring here: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/CountyMonitoringDataStep1.aspx. Santa Barbara is currently measuring at 244.1 cases per 100,000 in the last 14 days, above the state threshold of 100 per 100,000 or less.
The Public Health Department, County and City of Santa Barbara have been doing a great job of outreach promoting physical distancing, face masks, washing hands and discouraging large groups and multiple family gatherings during this pandemic. Cases have dropped down in the last few days.
We could have a whole different picture as early as mid August if the promising trend continues. People get the message.
The collateral damage of keeping schools closed
· Stress related increase of mental illness including depression
· Learning regression, hardest hit are English learners
· Low income and working parents struggling with inequity of technology access interrupting learning
· Student remote fatigue, parent fatigue juggling supervision and providing mid day lunches
· Deprivation of socialization and emotional learning, hardest hit younger children
· Economic hardship, parent’s need to go back to work.
· Families making choices to leave the district for small home school programs having further economic impacts to district in loss of funds
California has no road map for this novel situation with it’s over reaching politics.
Let’s look to Denmark who was the first country in Europe to shut down. According to Reuters World News, re-opening schools did not worsen outbreaks following a one- month lock down in Denmark. Children between two to 12 years were allowed back in day cares and schools on April 15th. Their data health authorities for the first time say the move did not make the virus proliferate. Finland had similar findings. A top official there announced similar findings, which nothing so far suggested the corona virus had spread faster since their school opened in mid May. This was backed up by infectious disease specialists in both countries who saw no negative effects from reopening schools.
Back in the school saddle as well is Britain, urged to open when 1500 Pediatricians warned failure to let children back into the classroom will risk “scaring the life chances” of a generation. France moved forward last month calling it a “social emergency” and worried about economic consequences. Germany is already sitting for exams.
How can we open school safely?
The State has released extensive guidelines for opening schools that meet compliance. They include criteria for minimizing risk with measures that include teacher’s use of protective face coverings as well as the known top three recommendations that continue to mitigate the spread of the pandemic.
Maximize use of outdoor space on campuses
Our schools have an abundance of outdoor space. Athletic fields, playgrounds, auditoriums, gyms and cafeterias can be set up for distancing. Collaboration would be helpful with the Goleta district. They have already done site visits, measurements and assessments of physical spaces in preparing to get back on campus with their resourceful staff.
There is growing evidence that studies seem to suggest children play a less active role in transmission spread however the high cost of these continued restrictions with remote only learning is hurting children and families. The World Health Organization does not currently see clear answers in the data that have been collected to date around transmission by children. Let’s bring teaching outside and keep things safe.
Let your voice and opinions be heard. We can do this!
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