Weeks into school year, groups pushing for more transparent coronavirus data

For several weeks, the Florida Education Association has been calling on state officials to release more information on COVID-19 in public schools. There isn’t a statewide dashboard, and only about half of Florida’s 67 school districts publicly report cases, the state’s largest teachers union said.

“You can’t make choices and you can’t make decisions if you don’t have information,” FEA President Andrew Spar told ABC News. “You should be informing parents as to what’s happening in their school. You should be informing educators, teachers, if they are being exposed to a serious virus.”

The FEA is pushing for the Florida Department of Health and school districts to release the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the location of the cases and the number of people who have been quarantined. In some school districts, parents might not know if there are cases in their school, or even their child’s classroom, Spar said.

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DC Coronavirus Health Emergency To Be Extended To End Of Year

WASHINGTON, DC — At its Tuesday legislative meeting, the D.C. City Council will be extending Mayor Muriel Bowser’s heath emergency order until the end of the year. Council Chair Phil Mendelson made the announcement during a Monday morning press briefing.

Bowser originally declared the emergency on March 11, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

D.C. Department of Health updated its online coronavirus metrics dashboard Monday to help residents keep track of the District government’s response to the disease.

The new graphic employs a color grid to make it easier for people to understand where the District is in its progress toward a full reopening. D.C. is currently in Phase 2 of its phased reopening, which is represented by the color yellow. The color red shows that a particular metric has not been reached.

Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, director of D.C. Health, confirmed during the press briefing that all boxes in this

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Miami-Dade’s first COVID budget passed without much pain. The problem: Next year

With sales taxes plunging, a hotel industry ravaged and nightclubs closed by emergency law, Miami-Dade commissioners passed a $9 billion budget Thursday night that expands county hiring, preserves services and keeps property tax rates flat.

Before their votes during the online meeting, commissioners warned not to expect such an easy time for next year’s spending plan.

“Those of who stay here are going to face a lot of problems in the future budgets,” said Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, one of six commissioners assured seats in 2021 on the 13-seat board, which is facing historic churn this fall from term limits.

“I am very concerned about next year,” said Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, who, like Sosa, doesn’t have to leave his seat until 2022. “Nobody is giving a happy face to next year’s budget… We need to continue to tighten the belt.“

It was also the final budget proposed by Mayor Carlos

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Schools should let children born prematurely start a year later, and not just for academic reasons

Francesca Segal, husband Gabe and their children Celeste and Raffaella in 2018 - Christopher Pledger
Francesca Segal, husband Gabe and their children Celeste and Raffaella in 2018 – Christopher Pledger

It’s that season again. Social media these past few weeks has been a chequerboard of glossy front doors, before which knock-kneed children in pinafores and long socks eye the camera with expressions varying from trepidation to triumph. Only fingertips are visible; blazers have clearly been bought to last the year.

Yes, It’s Back to School or, this year, Finally Back to School, after lockdown’s hellish feats of endurance, and a summer “holiday” of purgatorial length. The country unites in a sigh of relief that our children can once again be children, their fundamental right to an education restored. But no one is taking this restoration for granted.

Pandemic aside, I was always on course to be faintly hysterical this September, because my identical twin daughters are not returning but instead starting school for the first

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Cal State universities will stay online all year amid COVID-19 pandemic

Students walk back to their dorms with takeout breakfast from the Cal State Fullerton dining facility a few days before the start of classes last month. <span class="copyright">(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)</span>
Students walk back to their dorms with takeout breakfast from the Cal State Fullerton dining facility a few days before the start of classes last month. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

The nation’s largest public university system will continue with primarily online instruction for the remainder of the academic year amid the state’s ongoing coronavirus crisis, California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White announced Thursday in a letter to students, faculty and staff.

White said he had consulted extensively with campus presidents and considered the state of the pandemic in California as well as university operations.

“The disease continues to spread,” he said. “While the current mitigation factors do make a difference, in the absence of a vaccine and of sufficient, cost-effective, timely testing and contact-tracing infrastructure, we are not able to return to a normal, principally in-person schedule in January 2021.”

There will be some limited exceptions for

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AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine could still be ready by year end despite pause, CEO says

AstraZeneca should know before the end of the year whether its experimental vaccine could protect people from COVID-19 if trials paused after a participant fell ill can resume, chief executive Pascal Soriot said on Thursday.

“If the review by the safety committee allowed us to restart the trial, I still think we are on track for having a set of data that we would submit before the end of the year,” Soriot said at an online event hosted by Britain’s Tortoise Media about the future of the world after the pandemic.

AstraZeneca is working with the U.K.’s University of Oxford on a coronavirus vaccine that had until recently shown promising results.

On Tuesday, officials announced that the trial it would be put on hold after a study participant in the U.K. reportedly developed a spinal cord injury.

“What happened here is not uncommon,” Soriot said. “The process is always in

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Here’s What Would Happen If Schools Didn’t Reopen For a Full Year

The pandemic is making this the strangest start to a school year of a lifetime. Nothing’s for certain with America’s school openings. It’s up to states — and in many cases different school districts — to decide to open their doors. And with so much we don’t know about COVID-19, it’s a toss-up whether schools that open will stay open.

Unfortunately, this ambiguity about schools and safety isn’t temporary. In New Jersey and New York State, for instance, where COVID hit early and hard, infection rates and hospitalizations have eased enough to make it seem like the worst may be over. But COVID-19 is spiking in Europe, sparking fears of a second wave. Questions linger about children and the transmission of the virus. If something big, new, and bad happens, schools won’t stay open long.

It’s not a fun mental exercise, but we wondered: What would happen if schools

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This School Year, My Kids’ Mental Health Is My #1 Concern

Right before the pandemic hit, my two kids were beginning their last quarters of second grade and seventh grade. We had just moved to a new town at the beginning of the school year, and I finally felt as though my kids were adjusting, making friends, and acclimating to their new schools.

One of the reasons we had moved to this town (it’s actually the one I grew up in), is that I wanted to offer my kids a more rigorous and challenging learning environment. Both of my kids are nerdy and brainy, and my middle school son had been bored and restless for years in math and science classes where he already knew the material and needed an extra challenge.

I was never one to emphasize grades or academic achievement, but I wanted my kids to be appropriately challenged and excited by learning. And it seemed to be working.

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5 Easy, Practical Ways To Support Your Child’s Emotional Health This Year

Kids might find it more difficult to cope with the pandemic. Here's how parents can help them. (Photo: lakshmiprasad S via Getty Images)
Kids might find it more difficult to cope with the pandemic. Here’s how parents can help them. (Photo: lakshmiprasad S via Getty Images)

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit this past spring, billions of children around the globe were abruptly sent home from school — an anchor in so many ways. Kids have been cut off from friends and loved ones, and yanked away from daily activities and passions. Many have watched their loved ones get sick or have come down with the virus themselves. It has been … a lot. 

Now, as another unprecedented academic year swings into high gear, children are facing more of the same “new normal” that no one asked for.

“We don’t know how long we’re going to be living in this very strange period. For some kids, that mean that they’ve adjusted and things are a little bit easier to manage,” said Kimberly Canter, a

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‘I chose to start the school year with the students’

Whether it’s distance learning or classrooms now outfitted with distanced desks and PPE (personal protection equipment), the school year looks a lot different during the coronavirus pandemic. That’s especially true for elementary school teacher and expectant mother Janet Udomratsak, who has transformed her hospital room into a makeshift classroom from which she remotely instructs first-graders via a laptop perched on her meal tray.

Now in her 11th year of teaching, the pregnant Lancaster, Calif. educator has been a patient at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills since July 4. Concerned that Udomratsak, then just 24 weeks into her pregnancy, might go into pre-term labor, doctors have decided to keep her admitted until she gives birth. Nearly two months later, she’s now 33 weeks along and hopes to make it to 37.

Teacher Janet Udomratsak transformed her hospital room into a makeshift distance learning workspace. (Photo: Janet Udomratsak)
Teacher Janet Udomratsak transformed her hospital room into a makeshift distance learning workspace. (Photo: Janet Udomratsak)


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