A lack of guidance from federal and state officials in deciding when and how to reopen schools has administrators, teachers and parents across the country scrambling to come up with a plan to resume educating students.
Ideas considered for reopening schools include implementing social distancing guidelines for in-person classes and on buses and having children eat in classrooms instead of cafeterias. Some school districts are also planning a staggered schedule plan, with some children going to school for in-person instruction in the morning, while continuing virtual learning in the afternoons, and other students keeping the opposite schedule. Other schools could have a limited number of students go to school for in-person instruction on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while others come in on Mondays and Wednesdays.
In addition to planning how children will be educated after the pandemic, veteran teachers are also thinking long and hard about their futures and health. High risk of infection among those age 60 and above has caused many teachers to consider ending their careers unexpectedly.
“I’ve already seen an uptick in folks that hadn’t thought about retiring — that have been in the profession for 25-plus years…because they themselves are immunocompromised,” said Noel Candelaria, the president of the Texas State Teachers Association.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC
According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the coronavirus began spreading in the U.S. in January. [READ MORE] This is several weeks before air travel was blocked from China and a month before the spread of the virus was first detected in the U.S. The detailed report by the CDC was given on Friday during the first media briefing in more than two months.
“As America begins to reopen, looking back at how COVID-19 made its way to the United States will contribute to a better understanding to prepare for the future,” Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said Friday during a call with reporters.
Early cases were traced using reviews of emergency department records, tests of respiratory specimens and analyses of the virus’s genetic makeup.
Health officials announced the first coronavirus case in the U.S. four months ago, on Jan. 21. The patient, a Seattle man in his 30s, had traveled to Wuhan, China and returned home on Jan. 15. CDC officials say they may never know if the man was the first coronavirus case on the U.S.
An unusually busy hurricane season and the coronavirus crisis is causing concern among federal meteorologists, who believe the U.S. is not prepared to handle the upcoming challenge. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last month predicted as many as 19 named storms would form, of which as many as 10 will be hurricanes. Even without the pandemic, experts say, this hurricane season will be challenging because of the predicted number of storms. Scientists warn that FEMA’s resources and staff could be overwhelmed as it attempts to combat both disasters at the same time.
Infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says the frequency of his meetings with President Donald Trump has been “dramatically decreased.”
In an interview with the website Stat, Fauci said Trump does not talk to him about vaccine development often.
“We used to have task force meetings every single day, including Saturday and Sunday, and about 75% of the time after the task force meeting, we’d meet with the president,” Fauci said. “But as you probably noticed, the task force meetings have not occurred as often lately.”
Trump stopped hosting daily press briefings on the country’s coronavirus response after polls showed the appearances were hurting his favorability among voters.