Teacher death toll mounts as districts across the US push forward with school reopenings

As more school districts across the US continue to reopen for in-person instruction, without fail they assert to their communities that safety is of the utmost concern. Just two months since schools began reopening in late July, the costs to human health and life expose these assertions as lies. There have been at least 47,376 cases reported in K-12 schools so far this year, and at least 37 educators have died since August 1, all of which were entirely preventable. These figures, as damning as they are, are surely an undercount, as state and federal governments are actively working to conceal the spread of the virus .

In the past two weeks alone, eight teachers have died from COVID-19. Reports of deaths will continue to pour in over the coming weeks and months, and in all likelihood begin to include children, unless an independent intervention of educators, parents and students

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As remote learning continues, districts boost outreach to students – News – telegram.com

WORCESTER — The school system’s switch to remote learning this year has created unprecedented hardships. But it may have also pushed the district to more fully address a problem that existed even before the pandemic, according to the school superintendent.

This fall, the district has rolled out a number of new initiatives aimed at keeping track of struggling students and providing more information to parents about their kids’ academic performance, Worcester Schools Superintendent Maureen Binienda said.

Those types of efforts are even more critical now that school staff are not able to physically interact with students during the ongoing remote learning phase of the new school year.

“I think the remote has actually caused some good practices to be expanded,” Binienda said. “We have to find more ways to keep track of kids.”

The district’s new approaches include twice-a-week check-ins with students, a more “aggressive” assessment system, and an update

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Collier, Lee school districts plan learning options for spring semester


Collier County Public Schools will implement health precautions to limit the spread of coronavirus, such as requiring face masks, limiting the number of students in the cafeteria and reducing school bus capacity.

Naples Daily News

Collier and Lee County schools are taking different approaches toward continuing virtual learning options for students next semester.

Many Collier students will be expected to return to their brick-and-mortar schools at the start of the spring semester or enroll in Collier’s virtual school, eCollier Academy, the district’s superintendent announced last week.

Lee County will continue to offer all of its current learning options. 

In Collier, students enrolled in the Classroom Connect and the High School Flexible instructional options will no longer have those options in the spring, according to the district.

Classroom Connect offers live, virtual instruction while High School Flexible is completely flexible learning. Students remain enrolled at their schools for both options.

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Education officials begin publishing data on COVID-19 cases in districts with in-person learning

Education officials begin publishing data on COVID-19 cases in districts with in-person learning

For the first time, Massachusetts education officials have published data on the number of positive COVID-19 cases in school districts that have hybrid or fully in-person learning models.According to the data provided by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 63 students involved with in-person or hybrid instruction tested positive for the virus between Sept. 24 and Sept. 30. During that same week, 34 staff members had been inside a district building within seven days of testing positive for the virus. Merrie Najimy, the president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, called the data “troubling and frustrating.” Her organization had opposed the state’s plan for in-person learning, citing concern over COVID-19 and safety measures. “While nothing can replace in-person learning in normal times, reopening schools too soon and too quickly puts

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More than 10K Grand Rapids students enrolled in-person learning as districts shifts from online-only

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – More than10,000 Grand Rapids students have opted to take in-person classes this fall as the district plans to shift from online-only learning, officials said Friday, Oct. 2.

After conducting virtual learning for the first five weeks of the school year, the district will now also offer hybrid in-person learning as well as 100% virtual classes for the remainder of the calendar year.

School leaders asked parents last week to choose between the two learning options, hybrid and virtual. The deadline to respond was Monday, Sept. 28.

About 53 percent of respondents, or 5,201 students, chose hybrid learning, district leaders said. Another 5,315 students were automatically placed in the hybrid learning plan after not responding to the commitment letter, for a total of 10,516 students enrolled in hybrid classes.

Grand Rapids Public Schools is the largest district in West Michigan with more than 15,000 students. The hybrid

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Online learning still a challenge for students, districts say it’s getting better

SALT LAKE CITY – When the Salt Lake City School District transitioned to online learning last semester, hundreds of students did not log on. This time around, district spokeswoman Yandary Chatwin says things are going better.

“Our login rate this week is 94.3%, and our attendance last year (at this time) was 94.7%. Slightly lower, but about on par with what attendance looks like for in-person school in a regular year,” Chatwin said.

The district handed out thousands of iPads over the summer, as well as internet hotspots, to help students stay online.

A big difference, says Chatwin, is teachers are contacting the families of children who do not log on.

“Some of it is just due to absences like in any other school year. But our teachers are going out, they’re still working on home visits, connecting with families one-on-one to see if it’s just a simple tech issue

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Most Connecticut school districts sticking with hybrid of online and in-person learning; 133 coronavirus cases among students and staff last week

About a month into the school year, most Connecticut school districts continue to operate on a hybrid model mixing online and in-person learning, with only two districts statewide opting for fully remote education.

In an update released Thursday afternoon, the state Department of Education reported that from Sept. 21-25, nearly 60% of schools educated students with a mix of online and classroom learning, while 34% had students attending classes five days a week.

“Hybrid learning models were offered in a majority of public school district grades,” the department said. “In this model, all students attend school in-person on some but not all days and on the days when students are not in-person, instruction is provided remotely through technology or other means. The fully in-person learning model — where all students attend school in-person on all days — was offered more in the elementary grades than in the middle and high

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Two Texas school districts cancel remote learning options. Will others follow suit?

Louise ISD Superintendent Garth Oliver had high hopes for virtual learning when the school year began in his tiny school district just southwest of El Campo.

About 30 percent of his roughly 530 students had opted to learn online, and teachers spent most of summer reconfiguring instructional models and lesson plans to accommodate those who did not want to return to campuses on Aug. 19. However, once the school year began, it became clear many of the remote learners were logging on but not participating.

“I don’t think (Texas Education) Commissioner Mike Morath expected kids would sign in and do nothing. We didn’t expect it either, but that’s what was happening,” Oliver said. “Our kids were doing so poorly we said, ‘We can’t continue to allow our kids to not get their education.’”

Oliver ultimately decided to cancel the district’s virtual learning program all together, telling Louise ISD students and

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Coachella Valley school districts have eye toward classroom return


Alex Jackson is an English teacher at Indio High School. He is using virtual learning as an opportunity to connect with his students.

Palm Springs Desert Sun

Desert schools have been in session for more than a month now, so the early technical issues have mostly been ironed out and a sort of rhythm has been established to the distance-learning model they are required to use. 

As Scott Bailey, the superintendent of Desert Sands Unified School District said, the number of calls they are getting to the technical support hotline they established “have reduced to a simmer after being heavy the first week, week and a half.”

As all three school districts continue with their distance-learning approach, a possible change in the landscape happened Sept. 22 as Riverside County moved from the restrictive “purple tier” into the less-restrictive “red tier.” What that means for schools is that if the

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Expanding state special ed requirements could mean added costs for school districts

Families with special needs students across the state expected their children’s public education to end last year if they turned 21 years old, but a recent court ruling has given some additional time to build their skills.

A federal court ruling over the summer has extended the time frame for how long these services are required to be offered, meaning districts could have a few more students than initially expected. The change applies to services Connecticut offers under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and went into effect this school year, though the state is appealing the decision.

But some local school officials are concerned that the sometimes high cost of educating these students, most notably through outplacement programs, could become an issue for school boards. More than 200 students stopped receiving services when the lawsuit was filed a few years ago because they turned 21, according to the nonprofit

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