Virginia Needs to Stop Playing Politics with School Reopenings

by DJ Rippert

Politics over science. Michael Hartney is a national fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and an assistant professor of political science at Boston College. He and a collaborator have studied school reopening decisions across the United States looking for factors that correlate with the seemingly arbitrary differences in school reopening policies from one school system to the next. His conclusion is that the politics of the community and the strength of the teachers’ unions play a far greater role in reopening decisions than any application of science. As Hartney writes in an Newsweek op-ed piece, “Education policymakers should consider public health indicators like the number of COVID cases, deaths and the acuteness of the pandemic’s spread in a given community when deciding when and how much to reopen schools. But such factors have not driven decision-making. Instead, it is partisanship and the power of the teachers’ unions that have largely determined which schools opened and how much they opened.”

Facts are stubborn things. Hartley’s analysis seems thorough. He studied nearly 10,000 school districts. The correlation between political attitude and school reopening policies appears to be real. As Hartley writes, “Even when comparing schools in counties that experienced very similar case rates, partisanship best predicted whether schools opened. For example, counties that voted 60 percent for Hillary Clinton in 2016 were nearly 20 percentage points less likely to hold in-person classes than counties that backed Donald Trump to the same degree.” A look at Virginia’s reopening map shows a notable east – west division between the 68 school divisions that are fully remote and the 64 divisions that have some level of generalized in-person teaching.

Paging Doctor Northam. Back in June, Virginia’s medical doctor turned governor announced a three-phased school reopening plan. Given that Northam is a Democrat, the plan must certainly have been based in science. Right? In high- level terms, Phase 1 was virtual, Phase 2 was in-person for younger students and Phase 3 was in-person with social distancing requirements. Phase 1 was the default. Schools which wanted to reopen under Phase 2 or Phase 3 had to submit plans to the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) documenting how they would achieve the safety measures required for broader reopening. Those plans had to comport with Northam’s presumably scientific rules which included requirements such as, “Therefore, in school settings, schools are encouraged to aim for six feet of physical distance to the greatest extent possible; however, if six feet of distance is not feasible (inclusive of buildings and school buses), schools should implement a combination of face coverings and a minimum of three feet distance between everyone present.”

Good news, we can open! School districts throughout the Commonwealth got busy with Gov Northam’s rules for reopening. Measurements were taken, schedules were analyzed, new student traffic flows through hallways were devised. In many school districts there was welcome news — some level of in-person teaching would be available in compliance with Gov Northam’s reopening guidelines. For example, Fairfax County, the state’s largest public school district, would open with hybrid in-person / virtual instruction. Presumably, the Fairfax County plan was developed in conjunction with Northam’s guidelines, submitted to VDOE and approved. Parents could opt for virtual or partial in-person schooling for their children. In one of the most liberal and highly educated counties in America 60% of the parents opted for in-person instruction.

Science be damned. Almost immediately after Fairfax County Public Schools superintendent Scott Brabrand announced the hybrid plan the teachers went into what only can be called a meltdown. The three Fairfax County teachers’ associations were loud in their dissent. “Our educators are overwhelmingly not comfortable returning to schools,” said Tina Williams, president of the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers. “They fear for their lives, the lives of their students and the lives of their families.”

Chicken Little. The apocalypse predicted by the Fairfax teachers’ associations has not happened in Virginia school districts that have reopened with partial or full-time in-person instruction. There has been no reprisal of the “bring out your dead” scene from the Monty Python and the Holy Grail movie. In fact, repeated internet searches looking for shutdowns of Virginia public schools which originally opened for in-person teaching brought no results. Some large public school systems in Virginia seem to have noticed. Chesterfield County Public Schools recently announced plans to reopen some in-person teaching based on the use of student cohorts. Fairfax County’s unambitious plan to reopen in-person teaching for 3.5% of the county’s public school students this month has met with renewed opposition from the teachers’ associations. Those associations are pushing their plan called “11 pillars for a safe reopening.”  Those pillars seem so restrictive that they effectively prohibit the schools from reopening at all. They also disregard the fact that school systems are open for in-person teaching across Virginia without the 11 pillars and without widespread outbreaks.

Northam fiddles while Virginia burns. Ralph Northam has proven adept at governing through decree. He continues to punish small business owners by banning bar seating despite the fact that such seating is allowed in other states like Maryland with proper social distancing. Apparently Covid Virginius is a strain of the virus that specifically seeks out people sitting on barstools. Yet Northam’s fixation with the minutiae of where restaurant patrons sit is not matched by any sense whatsoever of resolving Virginia’s ridiculous, politically driven school reopening approach. Chesterfield will reopen while Henrico remains closed. Loudoun will reopen while Fairfax remains closed.

Such is the state of Democrats’ insistence on “following the science.” Apparently, science changes by county in Virginia. It’s high time for our governor to wake up and insist that Virginia public school systems reopen based on science-based guidelines whether the teachers’ associations like it or not. Anything less differentially punishes lower income students whose parents can’t afford tutors or private schools. These students are disproportionately minorities. If Ralph Northam and his ilk really wanted to address structural racism he’d demand that Virginia’s public schools reopen with a consistent, science-based approach.

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43 responses to “Virginia Needs to Stop Playing Politics with School Reopenings

  1. Don offers a cogent analysis here.

    I repeat my prediction that, between the reaction to the COVID epidemic and the institutionalization of Critical Race Theory in Virginia schools, Northam is presiding over what will prove to be the greatest meltdown in K-12 achievement in our lifetimes. Minorities, particularly poor minorities, will suffer the most. The equity gap will widen, and political progressives will double down on blaming “systemic racism.”

    Political progressivism is a disease.

    • Thanks. How many left leaning media outlets ranted and raged about Trump’s lack of a national COVID policy? All of them? Where is that same heckling of Northam’s unwillingness to impose any manner of science-based process to school re-openings?

      As for lower income Virginians – Northam and the Virginia state legislature are a disaster. Lower income and middle class parents are among the least likely to be working from home. They suffer the most when hysterical teachers’ associations keep the schools locked down and our gutless governor lacks the cojones to insist that school reopen on a consistent basis when it is safe to do so. Quisling Northam had a reopening plan but suddenly lost the gumption to implement it when the left leaning teachers’ unions objected.

      As for science – it’s out the window with Ralphie and the Socialists. Chesterfield can safely reopen while neighboring Henrico cannot? Yeah, that sounds like science at work.

  2. So I’d like to hear Jim’s take on Henrico county schools and DJ’s take on Maryland schools.

    Same problem?

    The Trumpsters who diss Fauci and embrace Herd-immunity Atlas, reject, masks, testing and contact tracing have it right on the science?

    😉

    • My post has nothing to do with Maryland’s schools or Donald Trump. My youngest son attends a private school in Fairfax County. He wanted to attend FCPS and I supported that. However, I decided that I would not send him to a public school that was closed to in-person teaching and had no cogent plan to reopen. Now, he goes in-person 2 days per week.

      My guess, and it’s only a guess, is that Fairfax County does not require teachers to come to school in order to teach virtually from their classrooms. Instead, they work from their homes – at least if that’s what they want to do. This eliminates their daily commute. As has been well known prior to COVID, many Fairfax County teachers have long commutes as they live in places where single family homes are less expensive than in Fairfax County.

      Here is an article …

      https://www.gcmnews.net/2019/03/25/teachers-prioritize-work-over-long-commute/

      I’d be interested in anybody who knows the policy for Fairfax County teachers – do they have to come to school to teach virtually or can they do so from their homes?

      My “glass half empty” suspicion is that Fairfax County allows the teachers to conduct classes from their homes rather than making them come to school. If so, this would be a serious inducement to continue distance-only (inferior) teaching.

      Since my column addressed matters in Virginia I will not respond to your off-topic meanderings about Trump, Fauci, Atlas (?) et al. If you’d like to delve into such matters I suggest your write a column on the topic and send it to Jim Bacon for consideration.

      • Well you talked a lot about “liberals” and “science” and school openings in general – a fairly wide brush and I was wondering if you felt the same way about other schools in the region and Virginia.

        Are they that different from Fairfax?

        If you are “right” in you analysis – it ought to fit other schools like Maryland and Henrico. no?

        • The study conducted by the Newsweek Op-Ed writer referenced in my article studies nearly 10,000 school districts in the US and found the reopening decisions highly correlated to partisan politics and the strength of the teachers’ unions.

      • I looked up FCPS policy on working from home. As long as remote instruction is the norm, they can work from home.

        Once called back to teach in person, however, each teacher must decide is she will go back, submit an Americans with Disabilities Act request to stay home, take an unpaid leave of absence, resign or retire. That policy complies with state law.

        • Ok, thanks! So, as I expected, keeping the schools closed and the instruction ineffective and virtual eliminates the commute to and from work for Fairfax County teachers.

          My understanding is that other school systems, like Spotsylvania, require the teachers to come into the school even if they are teaching remotely.

    • “The Trumpsters who diss Fauci and embrace Herd-immunity Atlas, reject, masks, testing and contact tracing have it right on the science?”

      You do realize that vaccines further us to herd immunity without everyone having to become organically infected and suffering the consequences of contracting the disease, right?

      A vaccine is nothing more and than a de-engineered virus to invoke an immune response and blunt the virus.

      • Aye, there’s the rub… And they will work with some as yet unknown efficacy and for some as yet unknown effectiveness when and if they are approved.

        • Efficacy for vaccines depends on a whole host of factors. The efficacy for the Flu vaccines changes yearly.

          Much like HIV the protocols developed will do loads more than a vaccine if one can every be effective.

  3. When the political season wanes, so might the political games. Fifteen days…..

    • A lot of the games will go away. However, Europe is in the midst of a second wave of COVID-19. I suspect that we may be in for the same as temperatures fall. Any rise in cases will provide fuel for the fodder to the Northam Administration to coddle his base of teachers by allowing them to essentially vote on whether to keep the schools open – without regard to the costs to our children’s education or the science behind the matter. Lefties love science until it interferes with the goals of their partisan constituencies. When that interference occurs, science be damned. The national elections won’t change that in Virginia. However, continued school closing might have a serious impact on the state elections of 2021.

      • The rise in infections will test the protocols of the schools.

        As has been all along – the purpose of the masks, social distancing, testing, and other protocols is to do the things that are NECESSARY to keep the schools, and keep the economy open.

        But we have folks who think the other way. They don’t want no stinking masks and protocols , they just want the schools to open no matter what.

        And when teachers hesitate – they blame the teachers – they domonize them – the very same teachers they expect to educate their kids….

        • James Wyatt Whitehead V

          Yes Mr. Larry the school teacher is going to catch the blame. They have lost a great deal of negotiating leverage and respect from the community. Not picking on them. But that is the way it is. Smart teachers are going to figure this out and roll with the punches. The rest will whine and passively resist.

          • Well, like I said, if this was only going on in Virginia and not the test of the nation – and there were more than just hard core conservatives raising hell – it might have legs.

            But this walks and talks like so many other Conservative causes.

            And it’s wretchedly ignorant in terms of how schools in other countries are opening – with full testing protocols. Over here, it’s like “we don’t need no stinking protocols and teachers suck because they are liberals”… that kind of ignorance…

            It’s just another skirmish in the ongoing culture war. It has little to do with the realities that are actually affecting the folks who run the schools. No matter what they do – they have Conservatives chewing their butts…

        • “They don’t want no stinking masks and protocols , they just want the schools to open no matter what.”

          Where do you come up with this stuff? Our medical doctor governor worked with scientists to publish statewide school reopening guidelines. It included detailed, science-based protocols to ensure the safe reopening of schools. Fairfax County could comply with Phase 3 reopening if the county limited the number of students who would attend school on any given day. Hence their initial hybrid plan.

          Where in this process are the imaginary people who don’t want no stinkin’ masks and protocols? The guidelines are the protocol. The schools had to prove they would comply. Fairfax County did prove this and the teachers rebelled.

          Yeah, I blame the teachers in Fairfax County. They wouldn’t accept the Democratic governor’s science-based protocols.

          • so can you explain this:

            ” Is it safe to reopen schools? With no clear state guidance, Maryland districts are left to weigh the risks.”

            Maryland’s 24 school superintendents face daunting decisions about when to bring back students in the coming weeks of the pandemic, and they have no clear benchmarks from the state or federal government to guide them.

            New federal guidelines announced last week suggest there could be significant risks in having students return to school buildings in most Maryland districts unless more precautions — face masks, social distancing and cleaning — are in place.

            https://www.baltimoresun.com/education/bs-md-health-metrics-schools-20200922-jgp5ezr545dbbagskgr7edbuga-story.html

            What’s causing this problem?

            Good LORD:

            ” Maryland does not have such specific criteria for schools. In fact, it offers a sobering degree of choice.

            Its guidelines say, for instance, that if a county’s testing positivity rate is greater than 5% and the number of new cases is 5 to 15 per 100,000 population, a school district can choose to hold some in-person classes or instead allow only online instruction.

            Those guidelines, announced last month by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and State School Superintendent Karen Salmon, fell far short of what Maryland superintendents wanted.”

            Is this the same Maryland and the same Hogan you’ve praised before?

            Isn’t this the same state you also live in?

  4. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    Over 42,000 middle and high school students in Loudoun County will not be able to see a live in person teacher until January at the earliest. The partial reopen brings 17,000 students grades K to 2nd by Oct 27. December 1st brings in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades.

    • At least Loudoun is starting to reopen. Apparently the strain of the virus in Fairfax County is much more virulent and dangerous in educational settings than the same virus in Loudoun County.

  5. From what I’ve been able to observe, a majority of parents with kids in Fairfax County Public Schools want in-person instruction at least part of the time. A majority of people without kids are fearful of being infected by kids in school and are opposing it. Toss in the teacher unions and the nays have it.

    Kids are important only if they are here illegally or can become the means to an end – more political power.

    • Since when did Northam care what the little people wanted? The kids in Fairfax County are getting educationally hammered by the shutdown and the poor and middle class kids are getting hurt the worst. Meanwhile, our woke governor couldn’t care less. Poor kids don’t vote and make big campaign contributions but teachers and teacher unions sure do.

    • Parents EVERYWHERE want in-person, no revelation there!

      The difference is how liberal parents and conservative parents view the fact that full-time in-person is not happening yet.

  6. Excellent report, DJ.

    As we saw in the budget, a lot of teachers in the left leaning districts not only want to work from home, but they also want all – repeat all – of the massive infusion of federal money made available to deal with the effects of COVID. Not a dime for the parents who have to work around this teachers revolt.

    • Thank you and you are right. Why do Fairfax County Public Schools need extra money? They are closed. The buses don’t carry 188,000 kids to and from school, There are no athletics, no practices. What are the coaches doing? Enrollment is down 5% this year in Fairfax County! Better networks in the schools won’t do any good because the teachers work from home, not the schools. What is this money for?

      The one positive thing Northam could do for the kids in Fairfax County is to provide some relief to the parents of the kids in public school. Money for better internet, tutors, extra study programs, etc.

      But Northam and the Democrats are like the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz dancing down the yellow brick road wishing for a brain. Give the money to the parents of the students of Fairfax County Public Schools to help defray the costs of liberal incompetence. At the same time, lay off 5% of Fairfax County’s public school employees since enrollment is down 5%. That will free up some money.

      https://wtop.com/fairfax-county/2020/10/fairfax-school-enrollment-drops-nearly-5-taxpayers-unlikely-to-get-a-break/

  7. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    Mr. DJ I spoke with some of my old colleagues from Loudoun this week. This is what is happening at the high school level. The virtual learning is worse than you can imagine. No consequences for not participating. Grades can only come from 4 assessments. Classwork/Homework/Projects cannot be counted. Kids can retake tests until they pass. In virtual class a kid can turn the camera off. They don’t have to answer questions. If you try and hold a high standard, administrators are going to call you out. The Loudoun hybrid model might start in January. School leaders are leaning on sticking with virtual for the remainder of the school year. That hybrid model by the way, a kid will only see their history teacher 1 day a week. Why bother at all if that is the best Loudoun can do? Supreme frustration from colleagues I admire and respect. It’s only October.

    • Mr Whitehead – that was always the problem … once Northam’s science-based reopening guidelines were arbitrarily dropped nobody could define what would be needed to reopen.

      I’m not surprised that the virtual classrooms are failing. Distance learning requires much more discipline than in-class learning. Most kids don’t have that discipline and most NoVa school systems seem to see discipline as somehow racist. The seeds of failure have been sown.

      I’m sure a lot of good teachers hate this situation. Unfortunately, there are enough slugs in the BigEd politburo to keep the mess in place for a long time, at least until next Fall.

      By next Fall Virginia elections will be right around the corner. Lord Blackface might want to start wondering how the parents of Virginia’s closed school students will feel about Democratic leadership if the schools remain closed.

      Call out the Virginia National Guard and start putting up tents on the ballfields of Virginia’s public schools if that is what’s needed to get the social distancing required for in-person learning.

      Meanwhile, back in Richmomd, Lord Blackface reclines on his throne as Dominion Dick Saslaw fans him with a palm frond while Eileen Fulla-Crap pops grapes into his unmasked mouth. Be still little people, this is The Virginia Way after all.

      • Meanwhile in Maryland – DJ’s “other” home:

        Is it safe to reopen schools? With no clear state guidance, Maryland districts are left to weigh the risks.

        Maryland’s 24 school superintendents face daunting decisions about when to bring back students in the coming weeks of the pandemic, and they have no clear benchmarks from the state or federal government to guide them.

        New federal guidelines announced last week suggest there could be significant risks in having students return to school buildings in most Maryland districts unless more precautions — face masks, social distancing and cleaning — are in place.

        Without prescriptive advice, officials in each school district will have to make a determination on their own — and take the political heat — as to when and how to reopen schools.

        https://www.baltimoresun.com/education/bs-md-health-metrics-schools-20200922-jgp5ezr545dbbagskgr7edbuga-story.html

        ah… that same old problem with protocols… Md is totally screwed up………..

        Now , compare this to Northam and Virginia…..

        Is Virginia THAT much different from Marland and Hogan?

        nope.

        • Still trying to figure out what Northam has done wrong. He’s allowed each district to determine what is right for them – unlike some other states that are dictating top down.

          Look at Maryland, where DJ also lives – how does this compare to Virginia?

          Oct 18 – Here you go – Democracy at work!

          “School board candidates weigh in on schools opening, online learning

          Candidates in school board races in Maryland are grappling with questions faced by school systems nationally about when and whether to open schools amid the pandemic and if online learning is sufficient.

          In suburban Montgomery County, three seats are contested on an eight-member school board that makes policy decisions for Maryland’s largest school system, which has more than 161,000 students and 24,000 employees.

          Like many other school systems, Montgomery has been upended as never before by the fallout of the health crisis. Students are logging in from home for virtual learning. There are no buses to school every day, no sitting in classrooms for in-person instruction.

          Seven weeks into the school year, it is unclear when that will change. State officials have pushed Maryland school systems to consider bringing at least some students back on campus. But Montgomery has not set a date.

          now – here is the kicker:

          Candidate forums have gone virtual, including one earlier this month hosted by the League of Women Voters and several parent and advocacy organizations.

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/montgomery-county-school-board-candidates/2020/10/18/90f94742-0360-11eb-897d-3a6201d6643f_story.html

          So… the candidates are arguing about opening the schools in-person but they are not doing so “in-person” but virtual?

          But heck – Northam/Virginia is all screwed up… we only got some schools in-person and others virtual an hybrid while Maryland is still arguing about it.

        • “Reinventing Virginia for the 21st Century” Why is that statement so hard to understand?

          As for what Northam can do … he has suspended the US Constitution on multiple occasions using his emergency declaration. Freedom of religion has been suspended, freedom of assembly has been suspended.

          He rules Virginia with Democratic majorities in the House of Delegates and the State Senate.

          The General Assembly is in the midst of a prolonged “special session”.

          Northam put forth science-based re-opening guidelines.

          Despite meeting the science-based guidelines several large school systems refused to reopen for any level of in-person education denying the students access to a quality education.

          A governor who can suspend the US Constitution can reopen the schools.

      • James Wyatt Whitehead V

        Your description of our leaders reminds me of the movie Spaceballs. Too bad Northam wasn’t wearing a helmet in that infamous picture. The we could call him Lord Helmet. May the Schwartz be with Ralph.

  8. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    Here is something Northam can do Mr. Larry. Open those schools. Run an 7 a.m. to noon session for 1/2 of a given schools population. Run a 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. session for the other 1/2 of a schools population. This would restore 5 day a week in person instruction and spread everybody out enough. The extra bread coming to schools should be diverted to hiring personnel that are willing to show up and help get the mission done.

    • Hey James. Are you advocating that Northam issue an edict from on high to all school districts?

      Spotsylvania actually considered your suggestion but ended up with 1/2 the kids doing in-person Mon/Tues and the other 1/2 in-person thurs/Friday and Wed being a cleaning day. When the kids are virtual they are “attending” the in-person classes I think.

      I think what a school does – depends on local circumstances and positivity rate…etc… Bigger schools in urban areas will have different circumstances that smaller more rural schools.

      We are headed into winter with a lot more people “inside” – it’s going to be touch and go for some districts if they start seeing outbreaks.

      No one likes any of this – everyone wants to get back to in-person – but the reality is we’re dealing with something that we must be disciplined about – the very thing you probably tried to teach your kids. Now we have adults acting like kids…. because of the pandemic.

      • James Wyatt Whitehead V

        Mr. Larry the hybrid deal just doesn’t cut it. Need to figure out a way to move to 5 days a week in person instruction. The virtual side of instruction is a disaster. If it is going to cost more to run two school shifts a day per school, Governor Northam could allocate the money to support this. That would be a very helpful move by Mr. Northam.

        I think you are right about winter time. Actually should kick in by Veterans Day. Uptick in everything from Covid, to old fashioned flu, colds, and the crud bugs kids bring with them. I suppose the 2020-21 school year will be a band aid level of instruction at best. Sadly teachers will continue to get socked in the gut for all of this. Tragically, tens of thousands of students are going to be so far behind and many will never fully recover.

        I want to see the education leaders start looking ahead to post Covid, whenever that gets here. But they will not do that. It is going to be up to parents to organize and demand a better future for education. Good time to have an honest debate about year round schooling, school choice, vouchers, and move boldly into 21st century education.

        So glad Doodlebug is at Randolph Macon. They have entered the 9th week of in person instruction. No infections just good old fashioned school. Her math teacher just bumped her up to Pre Algebra. Crushed a 100 question geography test on Africa. 3.5 mile run on the cross country team, 1st place. No demerits. 7 commendations. 93% average for all 7 classes. Combined classes, 82 graded assignments. Still puts ketchup on everything at school lunch, including pancakes. Worth every penny of the 20 grand paid out so far. I sincerely wish every youngster in Virginia could have access to this kind of quality education right now.

        • “Tragically, tens of thousands of students are going to be so far behind and many will never fully recover.”

          The answer from Northam and the Democrats will be to declare “structural racism” and stop measuring educational success in any meaningful way in Virginia. Suspend the SOLs and try to convince higher ed to stop requiring ACT / SAT. Grades don’t count. Then, declare victory.

      • “I think what a school does – depends on local circumstances and positivity rate…etc… Bigger schools in urban areas will have different circumstances that smaller more rural schools.”

        Proven wrong based on the research linked in my post. Science and facts have nothing to do with the school system by school system decisions to reopen or not. Partisanship and the strength of the teachers’ unions are the determinants.

        Henrico v Chesterfield, Fairfax v Loudoun. This has nothing to do with facts and/or science.

        • Date 10/16/20

          State: Maryland
          Status: No order
          Details: The state allows districts to make plans for in-person classes, as long as they follow state and federal health recommendations.

          State: Virginia
          Status: No order
          Details: Schools across the state are open in various forms, depending on public health conditions. As of Sept. 22, 68 of the state’s 132 school districts are operating in fully remote learning mode.

          Big difference

          https://www.edweek.org/ew/section/multimedia/map-covid-19-schools-open-closed.html?s_kwcid=AL!6416!3!455874877102!b!!g!!schools%20open&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIzb3TrfjC7AIVDY_ICh1dZARZEAAYASAAEgJsIfD_BwE

          • Good link. This was the situation in Md a month ago:

            Maryland’s 24 school superintendents face daunting decisions about when to bring back students in the coming weeks of the pandemic, and they have no clear benchmarks from the state or federal government to guide them.

            New federal guidelines announced last week suggest there could be significant risks in having students return to school buildings in most Maryland districts unless more precautions — face masks, social distancing and cleaning — are in place.

            The new guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with health metrics announced by the state late last month, are both broad, nonbinding advice to school superintendents.”

            https://www.baltimoresun.com/education/bs-md-health-metrics-schools-20200922-jgp5ezr545dbbagskgr7edbuga-story.html

            Cannot recall hearing anything along those lines for Virginia schools – public or private but apparently there were some changes from CDC that caused additional problems for Maryland.

            The thing about the narrative here in BR, is that critics focus on Virginia as if it is out of the mainstream of schools nation-wide. That somehow they are not opening when many other schools are and the reality is, it’s pretty much a mixed bag across the nation.

            James says that the hybrid 2-day for 1/2 in-person is not good enough. I’ll just point out that there is no teacher union in Spotsylvania nor many other schools in Virginia. They do have employee organizations but they are not asserting themselves and representing what teachers want. In other words, the teachers are pretty much following along with what the School administration is deciding – with input from parents and teachers – they took surveys.

            Critics here also vacillate between supporting top-down edicts from Governors to criticising governors who do top down edicts.

            They hammered Northam early on for his top-down rather than regional approach so when we got to schools – he delegated those decisions to the individual school districts.

            And NOW, he’s being criticized for not FORCING schools to re-open in-person.

            So the critics basically shift their views depending on the circumstances…. and I strongly suspect most of them did not vote or support Northam to start with and a good bit of this is pure partisan politics.

          • School closure effects documented
            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eEep67akIn4

          • James Wyatt Whitehead V

            You gotta love Ray Davies.

          • The most underrated group of the 60s. They’re putting out a new album this year.

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