Bacon Bits: COVID and School Choice Edition

Chesterfield “sick-out” pretty anemic. A “sick-out” by Chesterfield public school teachers fizzled Monday as the last cohort of students returned to in-person classes, reports the Virginia Star. Students in grades 6-12 entered a hybrid program in which students attended in-person classes two days a week to socially distanced classrooms. “Thank you for giving our children a CHOICE,” wrote parent Julie Watson. “Some kids are having a really hard time mentally and socially being isolated for so long.” According to the Chesterfield Education Association, the vast majority of teachers responding to a survey indicated feeling unsafe or unprepared. Although a few teachers stayed home, a threatened sick-out never gained momentum.

Meanwhile in Fauquier County… Roughly 7,000 children returned to Fauquier County public schools for in-person instruction Monday, reports the Washington Post, even as neighboring Northern Virginia school systems continue to operate online-only or are retreating from reopening plans. The cohort represents 70% of Fauquier’s student population of 11,000. Another 30% of families chose the option of a hybrid experience or staying home for online instruction amounted. Providing families an option — wow, what a novel concept! Rural Fauquier County managed to overcome logistical hurdles such as installing cameras in more than 900 classrooms and reinventing bus transportation schedules to make it happen. Kudos to Fauquier!

And in Fairfax County… In Fairfax County, parents’ main option is dropping out of the school system. Parents of 8,959 students have pulled out of Fairfax County schools this year. Eighty-seven percent were elementary school students, and almost 25% were kindergarteners, reports Reston Now. The exodus reflected students transferring to private schools or switching to homeschooling. Nearly 1,900 left to be homeschooled, up from 264 last year; 1,100 left for a private religious school, up from 296; and 713 departed for a non-religious private school, up from 237.

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5 responses to “Bacon Bits: COVID and School Choice Edition”

  1. This Bacon Bit, and the entire ongoing debate about policy regarding SARS-COV-2 centers around degrees of lockdown vs opening up. BR has been in the (libertarian) open up camp.

    I recently came upon an “open up” initiative and set of arguments that I think are worth looking at and for what it is worth, sent to a member of President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID task force.

    The article at the link below, written by Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford, provides a “Focused Protection” option that is being recommended by the signatories of the “Great Barrington Declaration”, which was signed in early October.

    Their approach is a targeted strategy to focus protection on the most vulnerable to the virus, while opening the economy (including the schools) and increasing overall natural and eventually vaccine-enabled immunity. Their strategy looks at overall public health impacts of the virus, and strategies to mitigate all effects of its impact.

    Their essential argument is that the cost of lockdown outweighs the costs of opening up, from the overall, broader Public Health perspective. They also discuss Herd Immunity as essential for defeating the virus impacts, using a combination of natural immunity and vaccine-delivered immunity.

    Additionally, there is work being done to attempt to consolidate research studying the degree of natural immunity once COVID-19 has been contracted, see link below.

    With President-elect Biden having named a Science-based task force yesterday to look at approaches to address this crisis, we hopefully stand a chance of a nation-wide effort that is science-based, and apolitical.

    And, just to keep it real, also including a link to Little Feat’s Apolictical Blues (The 1977 London Live version, featuring Mick Taylor on Slide guitar).

  2. James Wyatt Whitehead V Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead V

    Glad to see that there was no stamina for a sickout. Many happy kids today in Warrenton. The Fauquier superintendent needs to make the case for mandatory summer school. There is a urgent need to make plans for recovering lost time. It almost seemed like a completely normal day for a change.

    1. Steve Haner Avatar
      Steve Haner

      The Barrington Declaration list of impressive professionals was answered quickly by an opposing paper with its own list of impressive professionals. Follow the science they say. But what about when the scientists are arguing? 🙂

      If students are back in Fauquier High, then I assume so is my sister in law. She should be one of those being super cautious, but was eager to do what was best for the students. Imagine that.

  3. Our fam guilty as charged re: Kindergarten. But the alternate place is literally in our backyard, so pretty much carbon neutral. The older grandkids in regular online school though. Even live kindergarten is not the same social experience.

  4. The local NBC affiliate in C’ville ran a story this morning reporting that recent research indicates distance-learning is not as effective as in-person instruction for teaching children to read. It’s the first I’ve seen any of the MSM “big-wigs” overtly reporting on the shortcomings of distance-learning. Perhaps it was the first step in preparing to switch their narrative to 100% “reopen the schools now” on January 21, 2021.

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