Town Square

Students, school staff test positive for COVID-19 as school year begins

Original post made on Aug 23, 2021

Local school districts are reporting a handful of student and staff COVID cases now that school is back in session. The complex state protocols for handling positive cases are proving to be a struggle for parents and educators alike.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 23, 2021, 9:39 AM


Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 23, 2021 at 10:21 am

Nayeli is a registered user.

During college, I took a few online courses. The professors would upload their lectures (which could be paused, rewound and replayed several times during a week). The assignments, tests and quizzes were all online too. I enjoyed those courses quite a bit.

However, I had friends who absolutely hated "distance" or "online" learning. They struggled through the courses and dreaded those classes. Not only did they say that they courses were impersonal (despite the video chats), but the coursework just didn't feel the same in terms of what they gained from it.

I wonder how many students in the U.S. (or world for that matter) feel the same way following COVID restrictions on in-person attendance.

I'm not saying that states should base curriculum and practices on in-person metrics. I just realize that there are otherwise bright students who are likely to suffer if the schools are shut down yet again. Many students have already lost a year. At the same time, we don't want COVID (or the Delta variant) to spread.

I know that many parents are pointing out that children and younger adults (those with school-aged children) tend to be the least affected from COVID issues. I wonder if this is part of the risk analysis done by the schools?

Perhaps the assignment of students and teachers should have accounted for at-risk teachers to conduct distance learning options while healthier and less-risky teachers opt to teach in-person.

Personally, I would have THRIVED by learning from home in college. However, I would have struggled while growing up because we were migrant farm workers. We didn't have an internet connection -- or even a computer -- in our home.

While Palo Alto doesn't have as many kids who grew up like I did, all families are different. Even if a kid has a computer and internet connection, it doesn't mean that conditions at home are optimal for learning. Some kids might find it hard to have a quiet place to study or participate in an online class.

Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 23, 2021 at 10:59 am

William Hitchens is a registered user.

@Nayeli: I'm glad that you were comfortable with online classes. I'm one of those students who hated canned classes and really needed to be in close contact with instructors and students to maximize my college and especially grad school educational quality and experience. I needed the give-and-take interactions that one only can get through live interactions --- spontaneous Q & A with instructors, study groups, group homework sessions and sharing, and having BS sessions about course materials and just having fun socializing, which led to becoming much better informed and comfortable with class materials and my competency. Also, I learned how to interact socially with my class members, which is an essential skill in most disciplines both for personal growth and also for success in post-college employment. And my specialties were Physics and Computer Science, and God only knows that I and many of my fellow students needed more social skills and ability to work and interact with others.

Posted by Barron Parker Too
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 23, 2021 at 11:26 am

Barron Parker Too is a registered user.

Why is testing a problem? Because the schools are requiring the PCR tests, which are expensive, require going to a testing site, and using expensive machinery that takes 1 to 3 days to get a result.

And yet we have known for over a year that the less sensitive fast antigen tests, which are used in countries all over the planet, are completely adequate for determining if someone is infective. And infectiousness is the exact criterion that should be used to decide if a student should not attend class. These rapid tests give results in about 15 minutes, require no special equipment, and can be purchased online or at your local drug store for about $10. And of course they should be supplied free to anyone needing a test.

For reference, here is Dr. Michael Mina's August 2020 discussion of why these tests can and should be used to end the pandemic.
Excerpt: Web Link
Full version: Web Link

Bottom line: all our local school districts should switch to using the fast antigen tests for covid-19. Our kids would not have missed a year of schooling if these tests had been used last year, starting in August 2020.

Posted by Barron Parker Too
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 23, 2021 at 11:30 am

Barron Parker Too is a registered user.

Correct link for full discussion by Dr. Mina on the rapid covid 19 test:
Web Link