As the new school year is about to start this fall, educators and parents alike are worried about how students are going to continue their education amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Going to school during these trying times can certainly be tough and distressing. The safety of the students and staff is of utmost importance, which is why some districts, such as the Los Angeles Unified School District, have announced their plan to teach students remotely for the start of the school year.
Upon hearing the news, President Trump commented on CBS News that it was a "terrible decision" on their part. However, many educators are still hesitant to return to having classes in the classroom without decent safety measures in place.
School has been a controversial topic as President Trump has continually urged students to be put back in classrooms for the upcoming school year. However, as far as funds for ensuring preventive measures for the spread of the virus is concerned, no proper assurance has been given to educational institutions.
NPR has asked some readers and listeners for their questions regarding school reopening. Allison Aubrey, NPR's science correspondent, and Cory Turner, NPR's education correspondent answer some of their questions. Here are some points to keep in mind based on some of their answers.
1. Viral transmission seems to be less likely from kids to adults
In a study by Rosalind Eggo, an assistant professor of mathematical modeling from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and her colleagues, they found that kids were less likely to get infected by the coronavirus.
Furthermore, the research's findings revealed that individuals under 20 years old were about half as likely to get infected than people over 20. Apparently, kids and teens were less likely to carry and get infected with the coronavirus.
The paper used mathematical models to analyze coronavirus data from six countries, namely China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, and Singapore.
The full findings of the study were published in the journal Nature on June 16, 2020. Similarly, another earlier study from the U.S. CDC found that children under 18 have accounted for less than 2% of reported COVID-19 cases.
2. The most schools can do is to monitor for temperature and symptoms
Although mass testing is very unlikely in school due to budget concerns. The NPR correspondents say that it is a matter of access, staffing, and logistics.
For the most part, schools would most probably carry out doing temperature checks. Although it isn't the best screening tool, as not all individuals spike a fever when contracted with the virus, the correspondents believe that proper monitoring might offer a better option.
Inquiring about the students' symptoms even when they aren't at school might be an option, they recognize. Furthermore, for those children showing symptoms, they claim it would be better to keep them at home.
3. Children will be most likely grouped into pods, attending school in varying schedules
School during the COVID-19 might look and feel very different from the usual as children would most probably be placed into smaller groups called pods. Students are grouped into 10 or 12, where the same group of kids would be together for the whole day.
Using this approach, it would be easy in pinpointing which group of children to monitor and quarantine when an infection does occur. Furthermore, social distancing would be easier to implement in pods, rather than say, a whole class.