Light Out For the Territory, Newsletter Excerpt

This is an excerpt from the newsletter. Subscribe here.

At the end of Huckleberry Finn, Huck says, “But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me and I can’t stand it. I’ve been there before.” Rather than deal with middle class family life with regular meal times, church, and school, Huck would rather float down the Mississippi River on a raft. Civilization, Twain thought, was a mixed bag. Sometimes, life is better on a raft.
 
This week, we’ve learned that the upcoming school year will be mishmash of in-person classes, live classes, recorded classes, and worksheets. The plan for my high school kid is so complicated that I can’t understand how it will work. For a kid on the autistic spectrum who craves order and routine, this is a nightmare scenario. 
 
I’m starting to set up my own shadow system for him with tutors and private tutoring centers, like Kumon and Sylvan. He’ll need that contact with real people. Also, I just can’t understand how any student can learn a full year’s worth of Algebra or History with only 1/5th of the instruction. If the infection rates spike up or the teachers go on strike, all bets are off; the tutors might be all that we have. 
 
Jonah’s heading off to a decimated college in a couple of weeks. All of his classes will be online. He’s moving into a private, off-campus dorm. It’s a health risk, I know, and it’s crazy to spend money on a dorm for an empty college campus. But we decided that his social-emotional health outweighes other factors, so off he goes. I’m just thankful that he has another three semesters, before he graduates and has to find a job in a terrible economy. 
 
When things went off the rails in March, who thought that we would still be in this boat six months later? Basic social and political institutions, like schools and churches, are hovering on life support. In the background, there are heated political protests, urban unrest, and vague threats of delayed elections. I am deeply concerned about this fall. 
 
I can worry so much about “sivilization” that my stomach hurts, or I can run away. For August at least, I choose flight. 
 
All summer, we have been taking the boys on local adventures on weekends. Last week, we went to New York Botanical Gardens and Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, coming home with a box of fresh ravioli, broccoli rabe sausage, and two pounds of fresh biscotti. In the past few weeks, we hiked in Jersey and upstate New York, swam in a mountain lake and beaches, eaten in outdoor cafes in Hoboken and coastal villages in Delaware
 
Later this month, we’ll pack up the car for a week long adventure in the CatskillsLake George, and Vermont. With our camping gear and folding chairs strapped to the roof of the Subaru, we’ll stay in each place for two days before moving on. We’re visiting some old haunts, like the bar carved into the side of the granite of Lake George and the tiny graveyard in a field in Vermont with Steve’s ancestors. And hopefully, we will find new places and meet new quirky people. 
 
I need to escape badly from the color-coded list of chores on my desk, fear over the future for the kids, guilt that often I choose my own work over their needs, guilt that I’m not working enough, and demands for free labor from their schools. Some of us are carrying the burden of maintaining “sivilization,” but for a while, it won’t be me. 
 
I’m floating on a raft with my favorite people, adrift through the chaos on the banks of the river

55 thoughts on “Light Out For the Territory, Newsletter Excerpt

  1. “Basic social and political institutions, like schools and churches, are hovering on life support. In the background, there are heated political protests, urban unrest, and vague threats of delayed elections. I am deeply concerned about this fall. ”
    Background, pfui. At least, looks to me there is a huge struggle for control of the society and the agenda, and everyone involved in the struggle is looking for how to get leverage from each nasty turn of events, and to exacerbate things if they think it will benefit their side.

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  2. We are tentatively headed to the farm (in the Catskills) next weekend, so long as the weather is nice and we can stay outside most of the time. The area is relatively isolated and we won’t be going to restaurants. Sisters and I had a long talk last night about COVID risk. We all self-classified our feeling of risk, and they all said 2-3 out of 10 and I said 8.Then they said I was needlessly living in fear, and I said, I’m not afraid. I just stay home. 😀 They don’t get me.

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  3. My daughter who recently graduated from college has just been hired to work as a homeschool teacher, helping two kids do virtual schoolwork for the year. She was supposed to teach English abroad starting in September, but that is delayed, probably for a year. In any case, she found lots of job possibilities teaching kids at home/helping kids with their schoolwork. Some involved one family’s kids, others were neighborhood pods where families chipped in together.

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    1. lisag2 said, “My daughter who recently graduated from college has just been hired to work as a homeschool teacher, helping two kids do virtual schoolwork for the year.”

      Yay?

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      1. She’s very happy about the job. Not so happy that working abroad is postponed. It’s a joy to have her here for a little longer, though.

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    1. How does this differ from being what we used to call a nanny? I’m guessing one reason is that mostly, people with children in school don’t hire full time nannies (generally, the ones I know of are au pairs, who can spend time during the day doing their own school).

      A business I know of (I bought masks from them earlier in the pandemic) that normally runs after school activities teaching children to sew just sent an advertisement offering in home tutors:

      “LITTLE HANDS CREATIONS’ TUTORS
      Supporting educational equity with sliding scale rates & guaranteed scholarships
      In-person, at-home tutoring & classroom-guidance for remote learning . . . .”

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      1. More like a governess perhaps? My daughter compared the neighborhood pods–with kids of all ages–to one-room schoolhouses.

        I think the answer is, there is an expectation of setting up each day as a schoolday. My daughter is certified to be a teacher, actually, both special and elementary ed. A lot of these ads are for people with teaching expertise, and some request experience with special ed. The kids she is working with have IEPs. In some cases the parents will be at home, so they don’t have need for a nanny per se. Some have a nonworking parent, so it’s not always that they’re busy working from home. Others need childcare because schools are closed, and decided to add teaching obligations to the job. They want an instructionally normal school year for their children, and can afford to pay for it.

        My daughter would be working in a school somewhere in PA this year–thank goodness she’s not, as she is still at home and we don’t need another school’s worth of exposures on top of my husband’s–but instead she decided to apply for a pretty elite government-run program to teach English in Japan. She could almost certainly still get a teaching job around here, but she’s holding out hope for that she’ll make it to Japan this year. Final decisions about postponing for the entire year won’t be made until September. At least she doesn’t have to reapply.

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      2. They’re lucky to have her — I think that’s what people hope for in these “pod” concepts, a trained teacher. It will be interesting to see what her experience is, too as it unfolds.

        The K-8 school that my kids went to started a parent co-op for “quirky” kids. It changed into a more private school, with a head of school, when the parents couldn’t stay on the same page (including in supervising the teachers) without someone in charge.

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      3. bj said, “How does this differ from being what we used to call a nanny? I’m guessing one reason is that mostly, people with children in school don’t hire full time nannies (generally, the ones I know of are au pairs, who can spend time during the day doing their own school).”

        Technically, I think that this would be a “governess” (female version) or “tutor” (male version). Jane Eyre was a governess and Jane Fairfax (in Jane Austen’s Emma) was steeling herself to becoming a governess. We still use the term “tutor” a lot, but it’s changed a lot in meaning from that old usage, where it referred to a full-time, live-in teacher. Rich families used to educate their boys at home with tutors, as opposed to sending them to school. (You can read about this tradition in more detail in Gilbert Highet’s The Art of Teaching.)

        In the good old days, a nanny just dealt with little kids and their physical and emotional care, as opposed to the education of big kids. There was also a pretty big class gap between a nanny (and her helper the nursery maid) and the governess, who was theoretically of the same class as her employers, just poorer.

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  4. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/01/pubs-england-close-control-coronavirus-adviser-graham-medley

    “Prof Graham Medley, who chairs the [UK] Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) sub-group on pandemic modelling, said that reopening schools was a priority for the wellbeing of children and that some other activities might have to stop to control the infection rate.”

    He said, “And so actually, closing some of the other networks, some of the other activities may well be required to enable us to open schools. It might come down to a question of which do you trade off against each other and then that’s a matter of prioritising, do we think pubs are more important than schools?”

    This reminds me of the two button dilemma meme with the sweaty guy: close pubs or close schools?

    “Boris Johnson raised the threat on Friday of a new national lockdown as he paused new freedoms scheduled this weekend amid fears that any further reopening of the economy could trigger a full-blown resurgence of the virus. Prof Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said the UK had “probably reached near the limit of what we can do” if the virus was to be kept under control.

    “Medley said that the increased lockdown measures in areas across the north-west of England introduced on Thursday night were “highly unlikely” to be the final regional intervention.”

    I believe those lockdown measures coincided with Eid.

    “He said the rise in coronavirus infections appeared to be among younger people but there was a danger it could “spill” over into other parts of the population.”

    That sounds really familiar.

    “The paper, by Prof Clifford Stott, from Keele University, and Prof Mark Harrison, from the University of Oxford, said: “While widespread urban disorder is not inevitable, currently, the situation in the UK is precariously balanced and the smallest error in policing [whether perceived or real, inside or outside the UK] or policy could unleash a dynamic which will make the management of Covid-19 all but impossible.”

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  5. More on the sewing/tutors:

    “Little Hands Creations is excited to provide remote learning support and supplemental education to small pods of 6 students for the Fall of 2020. Public school funding is based on enrollment, so by supporting our students within the public-school system, we will help maximize school funding for the future.

    LHC will provide online-learning and platform assistance, arts and play based education, with a focus on social emotional health, while upholding common core educational standards.

    ​Rates are based on a sliding scale with one full scholarship provided per pod. ”

    (reading, I’m guessing that the owner has students in our public schools)

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  6. Calling people is stressful for me, maybe because I haven’t talked to anybody at work more than once a week for something like the past ten years. Maybe calling for Biden is good for me? Maybe I’ll just send money?

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    1. My guess is that at this point Biden wins unless he is exposed as a gibbering idiot in the debates, and that your calls will do nothing to help if there’s a ‘gibbering’ disaster and will be unnecessary if there isn’t one. Making calls will give you St Crispin’s Day bragging rights, but it it’s unpleasant for you, skip it. Calls that may actually make a difference will be state level legislature calls.

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      1. ds said, “My guess is that at this point Biden wins unless he is exposed as a gibbering idiot in the debates, and that your calls will do nothing to help if there’s a ‘gibbering’ disaster and will be unnecessary if there isn’t one. Making calls will give you St Crispin’s Day bragging rights, but it it’s unpleasant for you, skip it. Calls that may actually make a difference will be state level legislature calls.”

        Who answers their phone?

        I don’t know about you all, but I’m trained to assume that anybody calling my landline is some sort of scammer.

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      2. Wendy said, “Reminds me of this TikTok.”

        Yep, pretty much.

        We still keep a land line for emergency purposes, but I don’t give that number out at all. It’s mostly just a back-up way for my husband to reach me or the kids at home. When the home phone rings when everybody is home, I know it’s nobody important, so I usually pick it up and hang up again without answering.

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  7. Some additional notes from the lower school (pre-k through 6th grade) Zoom for our private school:

    –They emphasize that they wish to destigmatize COVID and how we treat members of our community who are sick.
    –They say that we have to be prepared for the appearance of COVID in our school community.
    –There are about 200 families at school (plus staff). My current count is that 3 families have been affected, including the family of the pediatrician who was helping with the Zoom town hall. He and (most of?) his family got sick.
    –The school community will be notified that a case has been IDed in X grade level.
    –Remote kids will be doing physical packets that will be picked up and dropped off weekly. Digital submission was very awkward and time-consuming for teachers to deal with this spring.
    –They want remote kids to periodically cruise by school for in-person check-ins with teachers.
    –They have decided that face shields are not currently adequate. Kids would need to wear face shield PLUS mask or gaiter. School is encouraging kids to wear a protective gaiter because of the ease of use. Masks need a neck attachment so kids won’t be taking masks off and putting them down.
    –As Jenn mentioned in a previous post, they are distinguishing between 4th grade and up and 3rd grade and down. The bigger kids have to wear masks at all times indoors. The little kids don’t need to wear masks when just sitting at desks or when active outdoors. They do, however, need to wear masks when close to other kids, in line, or chatting with a friend at recess. (I’m going to talk to school about the problem with getting hands dirty when adjusting a mask.)
    –They are “building out their sub list” and they are encouraging parents to sub.
    –There was some discussion of international examples: Denmark (good) and Israel (bad). For Israel, it was mentioned that they relaxed masks rules due to a heat wave. There was also something about Israel lifting class size limits, which I hadn’t heard before.
    –They pointed out that it will be helpful if all schools are not opening at the same time. A staggered start improves the chance of catching problems early.
    –The head of school says that the University of Tennessee Hospital has very thorough back to school mitigation advice. (Our head of school is a doctor’s wife and the school and local healthcare community are pretty deeply enmeshed.)

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    1. –I believe that elementary teachers will only wear face shields at the front of the class. They are also supposed to wear masks when working more closely with students. (I’m going to remind school that there are a lot of issues with adjusting masks, and that everybody needs to clean their hands after doing that.) The teachers may be using microphones, especially for the benefit of remote kids.
      –I’m also going to remind school that the faculty lounge is an issue. (I’ve heard of at least one case where there was an infection cluster at a hospital because workers had not been masking in their break room.)
      –They’re spacing out the desks. Kindergarten is getting desks, not tables, in order to keep the kids from facing each other.
      –NO HUGS! They may do some exercises with pool noodles to help the kids internalize a 6-foot rule.
      –The State of Texas has provided our school with 70 face shields and school has bought 300. The state has also provided thermometers. As mentioned previously, the state is also providing a lot of hand sanitizer and thousands of masks.
      –The pediatrician mentioned an article (or paper?) entitled The Child Is Not to Blame.

      https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/146/2/e2020004879

      As he summarized it, it seems that children in a household are rarely the initial source of household COVID infection.
      –As with the junior/senior high school, the elementary kids will be able to start in either remote or in-person classes and then switch back and forth with one week’s notice after the initial 2 week period, although school asks that there not be too much switching.
      –They plan to do orientations for kids who are transitioning back to in-person in order to train them on COVID procedures.
      –Elementary kids will eat lunch in their classroom or outside. They will be spaced out at lunch. There will be dots on the benches to help them space out. Elementary kids will be in a pod, except at recess. (That’s probably usually twice as many kids as a pod.) PE will be outside as much as possible.
      –There will be no circle time at first and school is encouraging the music teacher not to do singing much at first.
      –There are some issues with aftercare, as it’s normally mixed grades. They’re going to split elementary aftercare into two groups and will use a very large room for one of them. The kids will all need to wear masks because of the mixed groups.
      –There was some confusion with regard to legalities (the local government was trying to shut ALL school down until after Labor Day), but the state of TX intervened, and local private schools are just about all opening in the third week of August.
      –They say that they will be generous with sick days and encourage people to take them.
      –Somebody said, “It may be hard to keep masks on middle schoolers, but we will!”
      –Somebody said, “We want to start small.”
      –If a sibling is sick with COVID, a kid has to do quarantine.
      –The criteria for return to school are all of the following: 24 hours after cessation of fever, symptoms improving, 10 days since symptoms began.

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      1. In bigger community news:

        –Our TX diocese is capping occupancy at 50%, although not legally required to do so. There’s one outlaw parish that I am aware of, though. I don’t know if it’s more the parish or the pastor, but I kind of suspect the parish.
        –I am seeing a lot more college kids (driving around campus, shopping for groceries with their moms, etc.). Classes don’t start for another three weeks, so I hope everybody is being smart.
        –We’ve told our college freshman (who is a pretty rule-following kid and will be living at home with us) not to do any indoor socializing this fall. Sad, but necessary.
        –My husband did a blind mask test using us as guinea pigs to test out audibility while speaking and wearing a mask. I believe the KN95 was best. He’s also planning/hoping to teach outside.
        –4/5 of our household is going to be out in the world this fall (at least to begin with): husband will be teaching college, freshman will be doing mostly in-person college classes, highschooler will be doing in-person high school, and youngest will be doing in-person 2nd grade. That’s kind of a lot of exposure, compared to our spring and summer.

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  8. I’m glad that our school is not starting under the conditions you describe (the face shield idea makes my head explode). But, I also don’t think I know what the right answer is and that we will learn more and I like how thorough your school is being about communicating.

    Emily Oster had a NY Times had a question, “What will schools do when a teacher gets covid-19” that didn’t have the answers I wanted but did raise the importance of asking the question. Your school seems to have a plan.

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    1. BTW, my discomfort doesn’t mean much — if our schools were opening, kiddo would demand to go to school, and I would have to deal with my discomfort. I think we are in tough situations where there are no good answers.

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    2. bj said, “I’m glad that our school is not starting under the conditions you describe (the face shield idea makes my head explode). But, I also don’t think I know what the right answer is and that we will learn more and I like how thorough your school is being about communicating.”

      We have really strong relationships between the local healthcare community and school, so we’re hopefully going to have the best possible procedures. It’s also helpful to be a relatively small community. I did email the various top administrators about my concerns about mask-adjustment and staff wearing masks when talking to each other.

      I see that Hometown U. is putting up the frameworks for large tents on several green spaces. It’s really heavy-duty construction. My husband says they’re going to close in the sides and air condition (!). I’m not thrilled about the air conditioning, but it will make it a lot more comfortable for the first month or so of class. There had been a lot of concerns about not having adequate large lecture rooms for distanced seating. There also will be fewer people in crowded indoor hallways, which will be a major plus.

      My college freshman got a little care package from Hometown U. today, including what we eventually realized was a protective gaiter in Hometown U.’s school colors.

      Now that I’ve been observing the community, I’m a bit less concerned specifically about the start of school and start of classes at Hometown U., because I’m realizing that people are already here and circulating. So there’s not necessarily going to be some sort of viral surge just as class begins.

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  9. College kiddo is still on board to returning, which means she will be the only one in the family with exposure, but she won’t be with us. I have been letting her make the decision, but might weigh in with an opinion if the positivity in the community she is returning to creeps up. They are seeing a small uptick in cases, and I would be troubled if they had >10% positivity (and somewhat troubled if they are 5-10%).

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    1. bj said, And, I found this article hilarious (though I do not argue that lions are a good analogy for coronavirus):”

      It would be more accurate if it were a lion that mostly only eats teachers, administrators and students’ older relatives.

      MH said, ““What will schools do when a teacher gets covid-19” “Mrs. Jones went to live on a farm upstate.””

      And yet people are talking about having school-age kids in daycare all week where they can do their remote work while supervised by non-teachers…Because that’s way safer than going to real school…

      I guess it makes sense to do that if the teachers are 40+ and the daycare providers are well under 40, but otherwise, there’s the implication that unionized, college graduate school teachers are worthy of being protected, but less educated, non-unionized daycare workers are disposable.

      Also, it’s terribly, terribly wicked to pay tutors or create a pod. You should let your kids rot at home alone on the computer for 4-9 months instead. That’s what caring parents do who value their communities.

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  10. One of my kids would hate continued remote learning, but would do OK academically and socially, as this kid is fairly resilient and has had regular distanced get-togethers throughout the pandemic.

    One of my kids would probably be most comfortable with continued remote learning, but it would be bad for them. This kid has gotten desocialized over the last 5 months, is generally socially anxious, as well as anxious about the new school year. This kid isn’t looking forward to in-person school, but needs it.

    One of my kids has been pining for school friends for months and also is volatile in a way that didn’t appear until this kid had been home and isolated for 3 months.

    The last two kids have kind disappeared into their video game worlds more than is probably healthy.

    I can’t say with a straight face that my kids all need in-person school–but at least two of them really do, and I think I would be harming them emotionally and psychologically if I kept them home for 4-9 months.

    On the other hand, speaking purely academically, two of the kids have done fine and the one who was struggling academically has benefited from the school shutdown. We have homeschooled throughout the summer and that kid is very much caught up and on track for the coming school year. So, at least for our family, I’m mostly concerned about lack of school from the social and emotional point of view, rather than academics.

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    1. I feel you on this. We have until Aug 17 to make our remote/in-person learning decision for my 9 yo. I think he is pretty resilient and will be “okay” in any way that doesn’t involve permanent lung/heart/organ damage or death to him or his family or teacher. But “okay” right now for him is getting worse in ways I didn’t fully predict – I would say…he’s sad. It’s hard to balance sadness against a risk that’s hard to understand right now.

      (My high schooler is going back, cohorted to 15 students per class on a quadrimester basis, half days, no lunch, lockers, or extra-curriculars.)

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      1. Jenn said, “(My high schooler is going back, cohorted to 15 students per class on a quadrimester basis, half days, no lunch, lockers, or extra-curriculars.)”

        The high school cohort idea is smart, but I can see how it’s hard at that grade level.

        It should be possible to cohort middle school. I think that’s a lot of what makes elementary school safer and more doable–you aren’t consistently churning the kids into different groupings.

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    2. Yes, about the sad. It’s really hard to evaluate the sad, especially if the child is a coper. As I’ve said, if kiddo’s school was opening, I wouldn’t prevent him from going if he wanted to (but, he’s 16, not 9).

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  11. The NYT’s Nikole Hannah-Jones has thoughts, of course. Here’s a late July article on the “virtual 73rd Education Writers Association National Seminar.”

    https://www.ajc.com/education/get-schooled-blog/covid-19-schooling-do-pandemic-pods-threaten-equity-efforts/SZA5IBTC3VE3RNLGOGFYRERIMM/

    ““We know a lot of parents who have resources are simply going to withdraw. They don’t think it’s safe to send their children back to school, so they’re going to be hiring tutors or finding other ways to educate their kids,” said Hannah-Jones. “And what does that mean, of course, for kids who are already struggling and whose parents aren’t going to have the ability to withdraw, who have to go to work outside the home every day and send their children to public schools that are going to have vastly less resources than they had before?””

    This critique doesn’t make a lot of sense with regard to parents in districts that aren’t opening for months. DC, for example, plans to open in early December.

    “Most news stories about pandemic pods ignore equity issues in favor of upbeat accounts of parent ingenuity, said Hannah-Jones. “We have all these parents who say, ‘I know it is unfair, but I’ve got to do what is right for my child.’ Well, that is the story of school segregation and inequality in public schools all the time.””

    “If parents put the time and effort they’re devoting to organizing pods into insisting on safe openings of schools, Hannah-Jones said all students would benefit. “If they were demanding that an actual federal plan come about and actual federal resources go into schools to ensure that the kids could go to school safely, think of the power of that. But they are not going to do that. They are going to do what they have always done, fight for their own kids,” she said.”

    I wonder if anybody pressed her as to the details of exactly what “federal resources” safe reopening would entail, or what kind of timeline one could reasonably expect if one started today. Also, why does it have to be federal resources? Why can’t the states and local governments take the lead?

    There’s a big problem with this mindset of believing that a) Trump and Betsy DeVos are the worst thing to happen to public education since TB and b) that parents need to sit on their hands and do nothing for their own kids until Trump and Betsy DeVos bail their local schools out.

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    1. I think that it’s odd (and by odd, I mean a weird talking point) to pick Nichole Hannah-Jones as the person who should figure out the federal resources required and to complain that she is not using her twitter to advocate, solely, for the reopening of schools.

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      1. bj said, “I think that it’s odd (and by odd, I mean a weird talking point) to pick Nichole Hannah-Jones as the person who should figure out the federal resources required and to complain that she is not using her twitter to advocate, solely, for the reopening of schools.”

        Some reasons:

        –NHJ has historically been on the school and school equality beat.
        –She is saying that other parents need to devote their energies to advocating that schools reopen, rather than setting up pods to cope with remote education. In fact, as usual, she’s judging middle class parents for making the best of the hand that they have been dealt.
        –NHJ doesn’t seem to have any kind of game plan for parents other than, open the schools safely.
        –Given that she is insisting that the schools open (and that parents insist that they open), it is fair to ask–what does safely opening the schools even mean? If she’s going to advocate for this, she’s sure as heck better have put some thought into what safe opening means.
        –Likewise, if she’s going to say that it’s wrong for parents to deal with school closures for their kids the best they can through pods or whatever rather than devote themselves 100% to advocacy for school opening, yeah, I do think that it’s pretty sketchy of her to not follow her own advice, especially since she has a much bigger platform than almost anybody else she is talking to.

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  12. I do see that we are all in different situations and spaces in making our decisions as best we can. I’ve been saying for a while that we don’t know enough to say much with certainty. Unfortunately, when I’ve said that, the “experiments” haven’t been going my way.

    I can only hope that the 10-15% positivity rates being experimented with in TX/FL while they continue with measures like school reopening don’t mean that NY can’t keep its 1% positivity and keep moving forward to more opening. But, it scares me to having those hopes at all.

    Australia is going to full-blown lockdown of Melbourne, and, in spite of quarantining all overseas travelers in a hotel. But, they are moving to lockdown on 400+ cases, half the number in our state.

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  13. Interestingly, if you look at NHJ’s twitter, there’s proportionately very little stuff about pressing schools to reopen or about the oh-so-important federal aid for safe reopening.

    It’s just not there–or is diluted by all the other stuff she also cares about. School is supposed to start in a month, she’s got this enormous Pulitzer Prize/MacArthur Genius/NYT platform that’s a million times more powerful than any individual middle class parent’s voice, and she’s not using it to do the thing that she says that rank-and-file middle class parents ought to be doing.

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  14. Our local Nextdoor feed featured pleas from two different families for tutors for their children. As many families have adult children sheltering with them, they might find nice liberal arts graduates to do the jobs. So yes, it is precisely like the tutors/governesses of old.

    The lockdown is radically reinforcing socioeconomic divisions. In person, I have been “podding” with family members, “zooming” with prior acquaintances, and passing quickly by any strangers encountered while shopping or walking.

    We have the luxury of being able to isolate ourselves with ease. If we had young children, we could educate them at home. Not everyone has those resources.

    And, the Party Watch continues.

    Covidiots in Rented Mansions: https://nypost.com/2020/08/04/wild-pool-party-busted-at-new-jersey-mansion/
    https://nypost.com/2020/08/04/four-shot-at-beverly-hills-party-thrown-for-nfl-player-report/

    Covidiots at Sea: https://www.wisn.com/article/coronavirus-wisconsin-lake-party-draws-criticism-for-lack-of-masks-social-distancing/33502836
    https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2020/08/02/annual-boat-party-goes-ahead-in-east-peoria-despite-covid-19-warnings/

    A small, intimate gathering of covidiots: https://abcnews.go.com/US/york-authorities-break-alleged-sex-party-crackdown-large/story?id=71948681

    Under a bridge: https://www.complex.com/life/2020/08/secret-rave-held-under-bridge-in-brooklyn-draws-hundreds-covid-19-social-distance

    So, you close down licensed establishments, and people don’t stop gathering. They go to unlicensed, “pop-up” gatherings, run by amateurs, that are likely worse. And by the way, unlike bars and restaurants, the state may not get tax revenue from the proceeds.

    Likewise, you close down schools, and…well, no, I don’t think we’ll see pirate schools pop up. More likely, we’ll see lots of children left alone at home.

    I do have a question, though. If you usually live in city A, but are sheltering in city B, which public school is responsible for your children’s education? Wouldn’t there be a rational argument that the town in which you actually live is responsible?

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      1. Nope. I’m here. I needed a mental health break for a few days. I started writing a new post for you all, but we keep losing power. Tornados here today.

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  15. “Also, why does it have to be federal resources? Why can’t the states and local governments take the lead?”

    Because the federal government can run a deficit and most state governments can’t.

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    1. bj said, “Because the federal government can run a deficit and most state governments can’t.”

      It’s a fair point about the deficit–but the federal government just does not have the speed and mobility that state governments have. Also, love Trump or hate him, state governors have had a much freer hand in managing COVID in their jurisdictions. Our system is set up to give governors a very free hand in managing emergencies.

      I can’t even imagine looking at how glacially Congress is managing the financial support bills and thinking, “Let’s hand them school COVID safety, too!”

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  16. As more data comes out about the failed experiments (Israel, Georgia camps, Missouri camp, Indiana school, Atlanta area school, . . . .) I think there’s clearly ways that schools can open in ways that will simply fail. That is, that there will be enough of an outbreak that the school will ultimately close down. In the Georgia camp example, at least 40% of the campers were infected. Will schools continue under such circumstances? Some private schools might be able to, with the plan that 100% of their students will, over the course of the term, be COVID positive, and that the community will take those risks. I don’t think public schools can continue with 40% infection rates among the students (and, certainly, not large ones).

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  17. Article in NY Times on Melbourne, and “lockdown 2.0”: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/04/world/australia/coronavirus-melbourne-lockdown.html

    “A breakdown in the quarantine program for hotels, which was contracted out to private security, meant that returning travelers passed the virus to hotel security guards, who carried the contagion into their neighborhoods.”

    Wow. “He now oversees, under the lockdown rules, what may be the country’s most intrusive bureaucracy since its days as a penal colony.”

    I hope it works, though.

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  18. I just read one about a birthday party in the outskirts of Melbourne involving KFC chicken order and now a $26K (Australian) fine. It was uncovered because someone reported a extra large KFC order in the middle of the night.

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