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View Poll Results: Are you sending your kid(s) back to school?
Yes 102 61.08%
No - we are choosing the home/hub option 36 21.56%
Undecided 29 17.37%
Voters: 167. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-07-2020, 07:50 PM   #21
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Similarly, the decision to fully reopen happened when cases were high and growing fast, but that's what people (especially parents) wanted.
The decision to reopen has been based on science and the health of children. Listen to what pediatricians are saying. Listen to what Dr. Hinshaw is saying.

Yes, there is risk to kids going back to school. Yes, there will be infections and maybe even spikes of community spread from returning to school.

But the other side of the equation - the side that the experts are weighing but which anxious parents are not - is the damage to the health and welfare of children from not returning to school. That damage is deemed by experts to be higher than the likely damage from returning to school. Especially for the significant number of children for whom remote education effectively means no education at all.
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Old 08-07-2020, 08:00 PM   #22
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Cliff...parents are weighing those things and to suggest otherwise is incredibly ignorant and offensive. I know you basically chalk all this up to 'anxious parents' but it isn't nearly as simple for many as you are making it out to be. Stating that "anxious parents aren't weighing the damage to the health and welfare of children from not returning to school" is just an incredibly ignorant statement. Try to understand, even for a moment, why parents a struggling with these important decisions, instead of looking down your nose at them. I'm glad all of this seems so cut and dry for you. It isn't for others.

These are not my words, but those of someone on FB that paints a pretty good picture of how hard this decision is.

"Let’s get real for a minute..
I have two school aged children.. they WANT to go back to school.
So let’s say I send them back. Well, now I’m selfish.
Okay, so I keep them home. Well, now I’m depriving them of a proper education.
Okay, so I’ll send them.. but we get to skip the family thanksgiving, the family Christmas, the birthday parties.. because my children AT AN ABSOLUTE MINIMUM will come into close proximity with 20 other children per day. But I have two school aged kids remember? So that’s 40 students.. 40 DIFFERENT FAMILIES and we have absolutely no idea what precautions they’ve been taking through all of this. I obviously can’t expose my family members to 40+ other families, so we skip the holidays.
Well, now my kids are upset. They miss they’re family members, they miss the celebrations.
So I’ll just keep them home.
But, I have 7 year old who struggles with her reading and I’m not an educator.
I have a 3-year old at home who doesn’t understand zoom meetings and tight schedules and just wants to play with his siblings.
I’m a third shifter who will try her damndest & sacrifice much needed sleep to make sure her kids are logged in to the classroom on time.. but I’m human. I will fail sometimes.
I don’t want to take that mental health risk, so I’ll send them.
But now I’m greedy and don’t care about the teachers.
My child has a fever. Maybe Covid, maybe not. Do we have to keep him home for 14 days and quarantine now? Oh, a classmate tested positive? So my whole household has to quarantine? So now my husband and I both have to take off work and lose out on pay? Oh.
Well, I’ll just keep them home.
But even though I work, I work nights. My husband is gone all day. All of their education will fall on me. I don’t have the support system to lend a hand. To help them learn. To occupy my 3-year old so I can focus on the other 2.
So maybe I’ll just send them.
But what if they get sick?
What if they bring it home and give it to their little brother?
But what if I keep them home and I fail.
What if her reading doesn’t improve because I don’t have the patience and the skills that she needs? What if she falls behind and gets held back next year? That’s on me.
What if their friends judge them because of a decision that I made?
What if I keep them home and they hate me for keeping them from school structure?
But what if I send them and they get this disease and hate me for how sick they’ve become?
Hug a parent who has school aged children. We could use a little extra love right now."
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Old 08-07-2020, 08:02 PM   #23
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I would also ask how many of the recommendations made by organizations such as the CDC are being implemented by the Albertan government in their return plan.
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Old 08-07-2020, 08:49 PM   #24
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These are not my words, but those of someone on FB that paints a pretty good picture of how hard this decision is.

Just my thoughts -- for some reason I felt compelled to respond . I don't think you asked for comments so I put them under spoiler tags so you and anyone else can just ignore them if they want. But I agree it can be a tough decision.



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Old 08-07-2020, 11:52 PM   #25
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Jiri, read the post I was responding to. Honest to god, I wonder why I even quote comments I'm responding to when people don't even bother to read them to understand the context.

People are saying the pressure to re-open schools is coming from parents. Or from politicians. That's not true. The pressure to reopen schools is coming from child welfare experts.

I understand why people have concerns about sending their kids to school. I do too - my son has asthma, and I'm the caregiver for parents aged 77 and 81. I have multiple high-risk people in my life. I'm anxious. You're anxious. All parents are anxious. That's not looking down my nose at anyone, it's just reality. The government can't wave a magic wand and cure the anxiety people are feeling. We're in a ####ty situation, and we're making choices between various kinds of ####tiness.

But the question of whether individual parents are comfortable sending their kids back to school or not is a different question than whether schools should reopen. Nobody is going to be forced to send their kids to school.

The parents posting about online curriculum and creating their own homeschooling lesson plans? Schools aren't reopening for their kids. Families with educated, engaged parents who have the resources to guide their kids through remote learning are going to be okay. It's the families who don't have those skills, resources, or stability that will suffer tremendously from schools not reopening. That's why child welfare experts pretty much the world over say that as long as Covid isn't running rampant in the community, schools have to reopen.
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Old 08-08-2020, 12:39 AM   #26
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Jiri, read the post I was responding to. Honest to god, I wonder why I even quote comments I'm responding to when people don't even bother to read them to understand the context.

People are saying the pressure to re-open schools is coming from parents. Or from politicians. That's not true. The pressure to reopen schools is coming from child welfare experts.

I understand why people have concerns about sending their kids to school. I do too - my son has asthma, and I'm the caregiver for parents aged 77 and 81. I have multiple high-risk people in my life. I'm anxious. You're anxious. All parents are anxious. That's not looking down my nose at anyone, it's just reality. The government can't wave a magic wand and cure the anxiety people are feeling. We're in a ####ty situation, and we're making choices between various kinds of ####tiness.

But the question of whether individual parents are comfortable sending their kids back to school or not is a different question than whether schools should reopen. Nobody is going to be forced to send their kids to school.

The parents posting about online curriculum and creating their own homeschooling lesson plans? Schools aren't reopening for their kids. Families with educated, engaged parents who have the resources to guide their kids through remote learning are going to be okay. It's the families who don't have those skills, resources, or stability that will suffer tremendously from schools not reopening. That's why child welfare experts pretty much the world over say that as long as Covid isn't running rampant in the community, schools have to reopen.

The pressure is coming from many angles, and generally most people have vested interests of one sort or another. Your message appears to isolate a group concerned with a particular subject and overlay it as the prime factor on the larger discussion

But I agree, there are generally a variety of families with different logistical, financial challenges etc. And I will note that I am in the situation where, while I understand some people have to send their kids, we will not be doing so.

I can observe that it would be good to have more transparency and understanding in the communications around the context, which shapes what is being offered.

I think the hub option at a high level makes a lot sense. I would love to see more detailed breakdown on data that has been collected, which correlates family situations and intent to send kids back to school.
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Old 08-08-2020, 01:34 AM   #27
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I have been fielding countless calls and emails with concerned parents. I am at a loss at this point. I don't have the answer, I only know that we often look to Australia for our read of Flu season. Since I work in a school I pay attention to this to estimate the seasonal flu impact on me. It is my humble opinion that it would be prudent to do the same with Covid. They are in lockdown, more strict than before. I am seeing the propaganda machine firing up with articles saying over 70% of Canadians support a lockdown again if needed. This suggests to me the powers at be think it will happen. I imagine those contacts mentioned above at the CBE including Principals are far better informed than I am, and I happen to agree with them.

As far as education goes, kids will get caught up. They are resilient and they can learn quickly. Health, that one is less easy to predict with this virus. I will hedge my bets towards health then I will worry about their education. I can't imagine trying to speak with the kid who brought Covid to the school, that impact is immeasurable. Especially if someone ends up dying from that event, kids lock on to those events. We don't have a plan that works, this will be an experiment that other countries have already failed. I will be keeping my kids at home, I will be living in a separate space form my family until this plays out, I am very tired before this school year even starts.
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Old 08-08-2020, 02:08 AM   #28
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The decision to reopen has been based on science and the health of children. Listen to what pediatricians are saying. Listen to what Dr. Hinshaw is saying.

Yes, there is risk to kids going back to school. Yes, there will be infections and maybe even spikes of community spread from returning to school.

But the other side of the equation - the side that the experts are weighing but which anxious parents are not - is the damage to the health and welfare of children from not returning to school. That damage is deemed by experts to be higher than the likely damage from returning to school. Especially for the significant number of children for whom remote education effectively means no education at all.
I'm not saying the decision was wrong or opposed to science. I think reopening schools is the right choice.

I'm saying all governments (and the UCP especially) try to set policy based on what they think makes them most electable, by trying to do what voters want.

My opinion is that scientific consensus is a lower priority to this government than voter consensus.

It seems like you didn't read the post I was responding to, which I quoted. I wasn't commenting on any of those choices, they're just examples of the electorate getting what they wanted. The post I was responding to was about school shutting down again in the fall. I think that won't happen unless "the people" want it to.
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Old 08-08-2020, 02:22 AM   #29
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And I will note that I am in the situation where, while I understand some people have to send their kids, we will not be doing so.
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The parents posting about online curriculum and creating their own homeschooling lesson plans? Schools aren't reopening for their kids. Families with educated, engaged parents who have the resources to guide their kids through remote learning are going to be okay. It's the families who don't have those skills, resources, or stability that will suffer tremendously from schools not reopening.
There seems to be a real undercurrent both here and elsewhere that schools are reopening to be physical and emotional babysitting for the children of the downtrodden. While I agree its likely that children from well off families probably did better with online learning, I don't think that is the whole picture. Everyone will (and should!) evaluate the risks in their own life and the benefits.

I'm the parent of a six year old who loved and succeeded at in-person school, and hated online school. I was enthusiastic about him doing school online initially, and I work from home (pre-pandemic) and we have a 4 year old so it wasn't a big lifestyle change or anything. My wife is a teacher (with a resume that impresses other teachers) and I have a professional degree. We have enough time, money, and interest in education that we fall into the "privilege" camp on this issue. None of us have underlying medical conditions. The risk-reward here seems strongly in favor of sending my kids to school (to me), and that isn't because I would "have to" send them.
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Old 08-08-2020, 09:33 AM   #30
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Both of our high school students will be going back to school. The start has been delayed at both their schools and to date, I have been nothing but impressed with the level of communications from each of their schools.

Of course some parents are livid on either side of the issue. Daughter's school is private and very small. Some parents furious there is no online option but the school is too small to go dual track. A very small student population on a huge campus gives me some comfort.

Son's school is public and they have adopted a hybrid approach keeping number of students on campus each day down significantly, and then cohorts within those days.

If our kids were elementary aged, we'd look at home schooling. But we're going to try this and yes, the kids strong desire to get back to school is a part of that decision.
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Old 08-08-2020, 08:31 PM   #31
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We're doing the online hub. Mostly because we can make a decision now, and we know how it's going to play out at least until February. My son will do fine in either environment as far as learning. Our cohort family that we've been hanging out with since March is likely doing the same, and the kids in both families are loving that routine anyway.

What we want to avoid is the uncertainty of doing a few weeks of in-classroom, and then suppose a couple kids in the class gets a case, and the whole class needs to go into quarantine and switch to online learning... then those weeks are basically a write-off because the teacher isn't necessarily prepared. And then later, someone in our house gets flu-symptoms and we need to isolate and he misses more school... and back and forth like that for the whole year. Maybe that doesn't happen; we're definitely hoping it doesn't! But that's certainly the worst-case scenario, and once we commit to the classroom, the best-case/worst-case scenarios are largely out of our hands and dependent on collective behaviours. Worst-case scenario at the online hub is that he's finding the environment too challenging or too boring, and those are things that we can solve.

We're in a fortunate position that we can do the online hub without a lot of inconvenience for ourselves, and maybe by choosing to stay out we and others like us help reduce the number of students in-class and make social-distancing there a little easier for those who are in-classroom.

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Old 08-08-2020, 09:05 PM   #32
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Yes, kindergarten and grade 2, BUT, we are in Victoria. Infection rate has been very low here and if anything changes, theyíll be pulled.
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Old 08-10-2020, 08:50 AM   #33
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Oklahoma is pretty high in cases but we are planning on sending our kids to school if it ends up happening. They are pre-k and kindergarten aged.

My wife and I both work in healthcare and have been working in the office through this whole thing. We kept our kids home with their grandmother early on for about a month. But that wasn't working as she was not able to keep up with them and they were going stir crazy.

While I certainly am not jazzed about the choice, we have been sending our kids to daycare ever since the failed home experiment. So every day we drop them off at a center with 100 other kids. We have been rolling the dice already so might as well have them in an actual school instead of daycare if thats an option.

Basically our only other option is for one of us to quit our jobs. My mother in law that watched them initially went back to Iowa (she had been down staying with us a few months when all this broke out and finally went back when the initial wave had subsided) so we have no family to help us out as they are all 600 miles away.

Our anecdotal experience has been just 1 incident of Covid at the daycare through all of this and they closed for 72 hours and cleaned the place and kept the sick child out until cleared.

In the last few weeks most of the districts in the metro sent out surveys and asked parents to choose either online or in person for the semester. However, in the last week many have backtracked and moved to online only. Ours hasn't just yet, but I don't think we will end up having the choice as they go all online.

Either way, we keep rolling the dice and hoping for the best....
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Old 08-10-2020, 09:01 AM   #34
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Back to school for our kids, and they are excited.

I know things will inevitably change 12 times along the way, but for now that's the plan.
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Old 08-10-2020, 09:04 AM   #35
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Oklahoma is pretty high in cases but we are planning on sending our kids to school if it ends up happening. They are pre-k and kindergarten aged.

My wife and I both work in healthcare and have been working in the office through this whole thing. We kept our kids home with their grandmother early on for about a month. But that wasn't working as she was not able to keep up with them and they were going stir crazy.

While I certainly am not jazzed about the choice, we have been sending our kids to daycare ever since the failed home experiment. So every day we drop them off at a center with 100 other kids. We have been rolling the dice already so might as well have them in an actual school instead of daycare if thats an option.

Basically our only other option is for one of us to quit our jobs. My mother in law that watched them initially went back to Iowa (she had been down staying with us a few months when all this broke out and finally went back when the initial wave had subsided) so we have no family to help us out as they are all 600 miles away.

Our anecdotal experience has been just 1 incident of Covid at the daycare through all of this and they closed for 72 hours and cleaned the place and kept the sick child out until cleared.

In the last few weeks most of the districts in the metro sent out surveys and asked parents to choose either online or in person for the semester. However, in the last week many have backtracked and moved to online only. Ours hasn't just yet, but I don't think we will end up having the choice as they go all online.

Either way, we keep rolling the dice and hoping for the best....
I feel your pain. Our situation is nearly identical to yours. Public schools are online only to start the year, so we opted for private school so they could attend in person, as well as having appropriate resources to prevent widespread infection in the classroom. I'm still nervous about the choice, but I'm cautiously optimistic as our case rate starts to slowly lower. We have 3 more weeks before they begin classes, so hopefully the local case rate is low enough to make it realistic that this will work. Fingers crossed.

I'm of the mindset now that if we plan well and everyone does what they're supposed to do, things will be relatively okay. I've been living too long in worst case scenarios, and so it's better to assume things will be okay and then deal with things if they go wrong. I'm sure there will be cases popping up and a few days where kids will have to stay home in response, but I think with all the precautions in place, that won't happen too often.

I hope your situation works out soon. Don't give up your job for what is a temporary problem, especially when so many would kill to be working at the moment. Things will work out, there will just be some challenges to overcome along the way.

I'm an optimist. So sue me.
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Old 08-10-2020, 12:43 PM   #36
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Of course my kids are going to school. Out of 125,000 people in our area, we have 2 active cases. Zero of which are in the hospital. If that’s enough to scare me into holding my kids down, that would be pretty disappointing.
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Old 08-10-2020, 10:07 PM   #37
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As far as education goes, kids will get caught up.
No, most won't.

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Study Shows Students Falling Months Behind During Virus Disruptions

...The average student could begin the next school year having lost as much as a third of the expected progress from the previous year in reading and half of the expected progress in math, according to a working paper from NWEA, a nonprofit organization, and scholars at Brown University and the University of Virginia.

A separate analysis of 800,000 students from researchers at Brown and Harvard looked at how Zearn, an online math program, was used both before and after schools closed in March. It found that through late April, student progress in math decreased by about half in classrooms located in low-income ZIP codes, by a third in classrooms in middle-income ZIP codes and not at all in classrooms in high-income ZIP codes.

When all of the impacts are taken into account, the average student could [if schools remain closed until 2021] fall seven months behind academically, while black and Hispanic students could experience even greater learning losses, equivalent to 10 months for black children and nine months for Latinos, according to an analysis from McKinsey & Company, the consulting group.
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Old 08-11-2020, 09:36 AM   #38
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Surprisingly our school board rejected the recommendation of the Superintendent and decided to keep the in person option to start school in 2 weeks. Most of the other major districts in the metro went entirely online to start the year, so considering the case numbers in Oklahoma are still not great (though improving at least) it was surprising our district didn't switch as well.
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Old 08-11-2020, 04:43 PM   #39
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The decision to reopen has been based on science and the health of children. Listen to what pediatricians are saying. Listen to what Dr. Hinshaw is saying.

Yes, there is risk to kids going back to school. Yes, there will be infections and maybe even spikes of community spread from returning to school.

But the other side of the equation - the side that the experts are weighing but which anxious parents are not - is the damage to the health and welfare of children from not returning to school. That damage is deemed by experts to be higher than the likely damage from returning to school. Especially for the significant number of children for whom remote education effectively means no education at all.
Yes, Dr. Hinshaw is a good resource, but she is obviously constrained in what she can say. You can't have somebody in her position going rogue against the broader message the government is putting out there. She is toeing the party line, but I don't think it's reasonable to assume her public voice is the same as her private voice on these matters. One would expect she's very free to express her opinions in private, but then working with the other stakeholders in the government, they'll formulate a public plan that all can somewhat agree to based on some concessions.

There isn't a credible doctor in the world that would say getting large groups of people together in the middle of a pandemic is wise. Do you think Henshaw is happy with this plan? I don't.

Parents should be anxious about sending their kids back to school. Not enough has been done to make school environments any safer than they were last year.

The options weren't 'send 'em all back and cross our fingers' vs. 'lock them at home getting zero socialization' like you're pretending. Most parents I have talked to were expecting in the past five months since schools first shut down that the system would have come up with something basic like barriers, split classes, staggered attendance (two weeks on for one cohort; then two weeks off while a different cohort attends), additional bathroom facilities, etc. There were concrete things that could have been done that were not. That has made sending kids back a more difficult decision.

Finally, you may have concluded it's reasonable to send your kids back and the rest of us are being irrational; however, you don't have access to objective truth on this like you seem to think. Fortunately, I do, and I think it's sensible to take a couple of more weeks to make the decision. I mean, there are certainly some discouraging signs in some districts that have reopened.

Parents also need to assess their own risk/reward to sending their kids back to school. If I was like a government employee or something and just had to stay home eating chicken noodle soup getting paid if I was going to be out sick for 2-3 weeks, I'd be pretty cool with sending my kids back. If I get sick, however, it is a huge problem for my small company being that I'm the guy that runs it and my attendance is basically required for things to continue to run. A lot of small businesses are run that way.
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Old 08-11-2020, 05:09 PM   #40
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Whoever isn’t sending their kids back, which of the parents will give up their career to take care of the children? 9/10 it will be the woman, of course.
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