School

Some wary parents won’t vaccinate kids, setting up future school showdowns

Michelle Vargas of Granite City, Illinois, has always vaccinated her 10-year-old daughter, Madison. They both typically get flu shots. But when a vaccine for the coronavirus eventually comes out, Vargas will not be giving it to her daughter — even if Madison’s school district requires it.

“There is no way in hell I would be playing politics with my daughter’s health and safety,” said Vargas, 36, an online fitness instructor. If the public school Madison attends and loves says the vaccine is mandatory, “we would find other options,” she said.

As pharmaceutical companies race to manufacture a Covid-19 vaccine, many people are wary of a shot that is working its way through the approval process at record speed during a highly politicized pandemic. While some professions could require employees to get the vaccine, experts say schools almost certainly will require students to — potentially setting the stage for a showdown

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3 families chose between online and in-person school. Now they’re questioning their decisions.

DETROIT — A few days before the start of the eighth grade, Jonah Beasley considered the risks he’d face when he walked back into the classroom and summed them up in stark terms.

He could get Covid-19 from a classmate or a teacher, he said, and “if I get it, I’ll probably die.”

A veteran of two heart transplants, Jonah, a soft-spoken teen who loves football and basketball, takes medicine that suppresses his immune system. He has a long list of health issues that his parents initially thought would force them to choose virtual instruction this year.

But Jonah’s lengthy hospital stays have already put him behind his peers academically and socially, said his mother, Peggy Carr-McMichael. He’s 15, two years older than most of his classmates. And Carr-McMichael saw how difficult it was for him to focus on his schoolwork and speak up during video classes last spring after

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They Work Full Time. They Attend School. They’re Only Teenagers.

Daniela, 18, is a California high school senior and also works at a restaurant to provide for her family during the coronavirus pandemic. "I want to study forensic pathology at San Jose State," Daniela said. "Applications are due in November." (Photo: Sarahbeth Maney for HuffPost)
Daniela, 18, is a California high school senior and also works at a restaurant to provide for her family during the coronavirus pandemic. “I want to study forensic pathology at San Jose State,” Daniela said. “Applications are due in November.” (Photo: Sarahbeth Maney for HuffPost)

The beginning of the pandemic hit Daniela, a junior in high school, with overwhelming force.

At the same time her high school shut down, her mom, who was six months pregnant, lost her job, and as a person who entered the country without documentation, she was excluded from federal assistance. Her stepdad, a construction worker, had his hours sharply reduced. Daniela would hear her mom crying about not having enough money and reluctantly asking friends for loans.

Daniela needed to help. 

The teen previously spent her weekends working at a Mexican restaurant, using the extra cash to pitch in here and there. By the

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Two weeks in, Detroit parents question tough choices about school

DETROIT — A few days before the start of the eighth grade, Jonah Beasley considered the risks he’d face when he walked back into the classroom and summed them up in stark terms.

He could get Covid-19 from a classmate or a teacher, he said, and “if I get it, I’ll probably die.”

A veteran of two heart transplants, Jonah, a soft-spoken teen who loves football and basketball, takes medicine that suppresses his immune system. He has a long list of health issues that his parents initially thought would force them to choose virtual instruction this year.

But Jonah’s lengthy hospital stays have already put him behind his peers academically and socially, said his mother, Peggy Carr-McMichael. He’s 15, two years older than most of his classmates. And Carr-McMichael saw how difficult it was for him to focus on his schoolwork and speak up during video classes last spring after

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Medical experts ask questions about school reopening before School Board meets Monday

A small group of medical experts met virtually Thursday to weigh in on whether Miami-Dade County Public Schools should open for in-person learning, possibly as soon as this month.

The School Board will hold a special meeting, also virtually, Monday at 11 a.m. to discuss the medical experts’ comments and that possible reopening.

Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease professor at FIU’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, drove the conversation, asking direct questions about the district’s preparedness, from air quality and ventilation to how high-risk activities like music programs will be handled.

Marty said of the eight criteria laid out for reopening schools, all but two had been met. There is a lag in the reporting of school immunizations to the health department, said the school district’s chief of staff, Jaime Torrens, although Marty noted improvement in that area. She also expressed concerns over contact tracing.

A school district spokeswoman

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Georgia School District to Teachers With Health Problems: Tough Luck

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos Getty
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos Getty

Georgia teacher Samantha Mbozi hasn’t even entered a grocery store in the last six months. The 51-year-old just finished chemotherapy a year ago and is taking immunosuppressive drugs for two other illnesses. Her doctor told her strict quarantine could be a matter of life or death.

But late last month, the Gwinnett County School District gave her an ultimatum: Return to the classroom to teach in person, or stop teaching altogether.

<div class="inline-image__caption"> <p>"Gwinnett County teacher Samantha Mbozi"</p> </div> <div class="inline-image__credit"> Courtesy Samantha Mbozi </div>

“Gwinnett County teacher Samantha Mbozi”

Courtesy Samantha Mbozi

“I said, ‘It’s not like I don’t want to work. I’m a single parent, I don’t know where my paychecks are coming from after this month,’” said Mbozi, an immigrant from Guyana and a single mother of two. “They said, ‘There’s no work-from-home options. If you’re not in the building, you take leave.’”

As the school year begins, Georgia teachers with potentially

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How Remote Learning Has Changed The Nature Of School Bullying

Remote learning may reduce bullying in some respects, but teachers who require students to leave their cameras on may give bullies more fodder for taunting. (Photo: Imgorthand via Getty Images)
Remote learning may reduce bullying in some respects, but teachers who require students to leave their cameras on may give bullies more fodder for taunting. (Photo: Imgorthand via Getty Images)

For most kids across the country, remote learning means school looks very different this year. Nearly three-fourths of the nation’s largest school districts have chosen virtual learning as their only instructional model for the beginning of the academic year, according to a Sept. 2 update from Education Week magazine.

Classes via Zoom helps protect the health and safety of teaching staff, students and their families. Does the shift in the style of instruction keep kids safe from the threat of school bullies, too? 

There’s certainly less opportunities for bullies to do their biddings, but parents shouldn’t let their guard down entirely: Experts say that with the increase in screen time, cyberbullies may find new, covert ways to pick on their

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Here’s how to help your kids pay attention to online school

School is back in session for students across Chicago. This year, since the pandemic has moved classes online, parents believe it’ll be harder than ever to manage children and keep them focused on schoolwork, according to a recent study.

In July, a Pew Research study found that half of parents with at least one child age 12 or younger, who may also have an older kid, believed the amount of time kids spent on devices could affect school performance. As for teens, a 2018 Pew Research study found 95% of teens, ages 13 to 17, have a smartphone and nearly half say they’re online “almost constantly.” Unfortunately, long hours of screen time has become mandatory with e-learning. But online games, social media and other tempting distractions could make it difficult to focus on class Zoom sessions. Below are tips from experts to ensure kids get the most out of school

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Anne Arundel Teases Hybrid School Plan At Coronavirus Town Hall

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, MD — Hybrid schooling may be closer than previously thought. At a Thursday evening town hall, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman and County Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman announced the framework for what a partial return to school could look like.

The duo understands some parents’ urge to get back in schools as soon as possible. They know that distance learning is hard on everybody, but they notice a heavier toll on younger students.

“The younger they are, the more important it is to get them back,” Kalyanaraman said.
“As the father of a second-grader, I can assure you I know what you’re talking about.”

That’s why Anne Arundel County is examining a phased reopening of school buildings. Under this option, elementary schoolers would adopt a hybrid model sooner than older students.

Kalyanaraman says this idea is rooted in recent findings that explain how coronavirus acts

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Health Chief Denies School Shutdowns Are Politically-Driven, Meant To Harm Donald Trump

Los Angeles County’s Public Health Director, Barbara Ferrer, denied on Tuesday that plans for keeping L.A. school campuses closed amid the coronavirus pandemic are politically motivated and meant to damage President Donald Trump’s election chances. Ferrer insisted comments she made on a conference call last week were only using the school year to reference an early November time frame.

“It had nothing to do with the election per se, as much as it had to do with — we need about six weeks of implementation for the school openings that are going to be happening so that we can have a lot of assessment data that will help guide and inform any decisions we make,” Ferrer told the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. “I apologize for any confusion that I may have caused by referencing the elections in early November.”

In early September, California Governor Gavin Newsom amended the state’s

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