This week, I’ve been getting a crash course on community colleges. Ian wants to sign up for an evening class, but he won’t officially have a high school diploma (he’ll do a year in an 18-21 year program to build up his social skills); that requires a backdoor admissions. At the same time, he’ll needs to sign up for advanced math classes and get accommodations for the autism stuff, so I have had to talk to a ton of administrators. Getting smarter every day.
And in my head, I’m totally reorganizing the whole school. That’s totally normal, right?
I’m also getting smarter about alternative housing arrangements. I needed a paragraph about that for a book proposal, but I’m getting sucked down a rabbit hole of cool info.
What if teachers refuse to get vaccinated?
I’ve been reading lots of cancel culture stuff lately. Conor Friedersdorf interviews a black school board member who has some issues with the BLM message in schools. Everybody who watches the local news shows is very much aware that anti-Asian attacks are not the work of white supremacists, but it doesn’t fit the narrative.
Cooking: Melt a pad of butter in a non-stick pan. Toast leftover cornbread. The end.
Watching: Ken Burn’s documentary on Hemingway. It’s so, so, so inspiring. Highly recommend.
Picture: We’re quarantined this week, because of exposure to a positive person. We’ve had to cancel some spring break day trips. Steve’s using the time to fix the garden.
44 thoughts on “SL 829”
Laura wrote, “And in my head, I’m totally reorganizing the whole school. That’s totally normal, right?”
“Steve’s using the time to fix the garden.”
My son-the-gardener has a similar raised bed, with scrumptious looking lettuces growing right now. Our bed has a removable cover (homemade from PVC pipe and netting), designed to keep the squirrels from excavating the bed, which they like to do.
I get my second Moderna shot later this week and our 18-year-old gets her first shot tomorrow. My husband and 16-year-old son have already had first shots. The schedules are a little bit hard to keep track of, but I believe husband and I can go out to dinner fairly safely in just over a week. Our 8-year-old is the only person in the household left unvaccinated/without a vaccination date.
I had a groundbreaking social event yesterday. I’m 3 weeks out from my first shot, and I had a breakfast with my BFF and her kids on a cafeteria balcony and then my 8-year-old got to play with them in our backyard (we have a zipline and swing/climbing rope, etc.). The visiting 2-year-old really wanted to go inside and play with my 8-year-old’s awesome play kitchen (we have a pretend birthday cake, pretend ice cream set, a tea set, and small pots and pans), but not yet! The 2-year-old thought that my purple purse was the last word in fashion. “Pretty purse!” she kept saying.
Laura said: “And in my head, I’m totally reorganizing the whole school. That’s totally normal, right? ”
Years ago my Mum and I used to go to open homes in the neighbourhood – as you do…
But we used to have the most amazing arguments about what we would do with the house – which walls we would shift, etc. Hilarious, as we were just tire-kicking, neither of us had any plans to actually buy any of them.
These days, I have to keep a mantra going in my head “They haven’t hired you to fix their workflow issues” – as I deal with a whole bunch of different organizations (most of whom couldn’t organize their way out of a paper bag)
Some local notes:
–At least in public here in Central Texas, mask-wearing is identical to what it was before the state dropped various COVID restrictions–but businesses, Hometown U. and local government continue to have restrictions.
–Only 3% of county hospital beds are being used by COVID patients–that’s less than 1/10 of what it was at peak here. The number of hospitalized COVID patients has been slowly dropping.
–The NYT Texas page says that (over the past 14 days) Texas COVID cases are down 19%, hospitalizations are down 18% and deaths are down 38%. Texas currently has 10 new cases per 100k residents.
–Texas, which has been relatively slow with regard to vaccinations, is getting pretty close to vaccinating 1% of the population every day (277k daily vaccinations and 29 million population).
–Again, there are new cases, but people just aren’t dying like they were this winter, even with relatively low local vaccination rates.
–The 15k kid city school district has 3 total COVID cases this week, while the 8k kid suburban school district has 7 active cases total, 2 of which are staff. The suburban high school, which was having 40 active cases in late November/early December, somehow only has 1 active student case right now. (I don’t know school details, but I’m assuming that more testing happens at the suburban district.) My guess is that having teachers vaccinated is nuking school COVID rates. For whatever reason, there’s no longer anything that looks like a cluster in the local schools.
Why is the Hemingway documentary inspiring? What am I missing?
I get interesting, but I don’t understand the inspiring part. My take away is Hemingway changed literature while still finding time to be a giant ass.
I liked all the writer stuff — the discipline, branding, networking. I liked how he changed the novel, how he got obsessed with certain topics, and how he loved life, until he didn’t.
“What if teachers refuse to get vaccinated?”
https://twitter.com/POTUS/status/1379581687131168772 Biden says that 80% of teachers have had at least one shot. Every teacher I know (except my RWNJ aunt who works as a teacher’s aide and would have been at the Capitol attack if her DIL hadn’t given birth a couple of days earlier) has been vaxed.
It turns out that nursing homes employ a fair number of aides who refuse vaccination. It’s not cheering when mom gets cut off from visitors again because of a covid case in the staff three months after everyone there was supposed to have been vaccinated.
The nursing home situation is just awful. Vaccines should be mandatory in those settings.
Laura said: “The nursing home situation is just awful. Vaccines should be mandatory in those settings.”
I do wonder if we (as a society) will have a shift towards accepting the need for mandatory vaccination in certain roles (health-care professionals would seem to be an obvious one).
I’m not seeing it (yet) in NZ from the Govt and/or Unions who are still valiantly supporting the ‘right to choose’ of people who are in the front line of risk (Quarantine facilities, customs workers, and medical personnel).
But I am seeing the beginnings of a groundswell of public opinion towards mandatory vaccination for high-risk (either to yourself of those you’re caring for) workers – or shifting your job, if you don’t want to be vaccinated. It’s not overwhelming, but I’m certainly seeing a move away from the laissez-faire attitude (you do you) – to a much more nuanced understanding that Person A refusing to vaccinate has an implication on the risk levels for Person B.
Of course, that may be entirely a result of the social media environment I’m swimming in – but even the well-known anti-vaxers in my friend group have been rather silent on the Covid vaccination (they’re still wittering on about MMR causing autism…..)
I do wonder about the litigation aspect (especially in the US – not so much here in NZ, where we can’t litigate about health issues). What happens if Granny, in a nursing home, gets Covid from a staff member who has chosen not to vaccinate? If Granny dies or has significant medical complications (i.e. associated cost), is the nursing home (and/or the individual concerned) liable for choosing to expose Granny to a known risk?
Here in NZ, I think it would take a societal shift to make this mandatory (either socially or legally). For heavens sake, we still have midwives who are not immunised against MMR themselves, advising new parents not to ‘risk’ the vaccine!
Ann said, “I do wonder about the litigation aspect (especially in the US – not so much here in NZ, where we can’t litigate about health issues). What happens if Granny, in a nursing home, gets Covid from a staff member who has chosen not to vaccinate? If Granny dies or has significant medical complications (i.e. associated cost), is the nursing home (and/or the individual concerned) liable for choosing to expose Granny to a known risk?”
Wow, that’s a really good question.
It’s not officially approved yet, though–that might make a difference.
And our government have finally made the decision to move anyone who is not vaccinated (by choice) out of ‘high risk’ areas (quarantine, customs, etc.).
Mind you, it’s taken having a security guard in a quarantine facility who refused multiple opportunities to vaccinate for ‘personal reasons’, coming down with Covid (and potentially exposing his family and friends) to prod them into taking action.
[I’d put money on the personal reasons being membership of a wacky church – we have at least one high profile holy roller church whose leadership is publically anti-vax]
Better late, than never, I suppose….
Ann said, “Mind you, it’s taken having a security guard in a quarantine facility who refused multiple opportunities to vaccinate for ‘personal reasons’, coming down with Covid (and potentially exposing his family and friends) to prod them into taking action.”
Wow, that is the worst possible job for an NZ vaccine-refuser.
That 80% number is questionable. I’ve seen numbers as low as 40%. The honest truth is that they just don’t know. Union leaders are telling teachers to not disclose that information to administrators.
Even if it is really 80%, who are the 20% who aren’t getting the shot. I hope that they’re not science teachers.
“I hope that they’re not science teachers.”
I suppose now is not the time to mention that my dad was a science teacher and also believed (said he believed?) in a version of “intelligent design.” He was an atheist! He used to like to go to Pharyngula and drive PZ Myers and his readers insane in the comments.
My dad was a bit of a shitkicker, though. 25% shitkicker, 75% scientist.
If I were being nasty, then I’d say that puts the teachers in a Catch-22 situation.
School admin says we’re proceeding under the assumption that all teachers have been vaccinated, unless we are officially informed otherwise.
We expect you in school starting from X date….
Ann said, “If I were being nasty, then I’d say that puts the teachers in a Catch-22 situation.
School admin says we’re proceeding under the assumption that all teachers have been vaccinated, unless we are officially informed otherwise.
We expect you in school starting from X date….”
The messaging on vaccines has been shockingly bad in the US. The feds have bought millions in radio ads (I still hear one every day) and they’re all like, wear a mask, keep distancing, I’m going to get a vaccine when it’s my turn–not updated for the fact that vaccines are widely available in the US now and 1/3 of Americans have already had a first shot. We’re 3.5 months into the vaccination campaign, and so little thought has been put into talking in detail about life after getting vaccinated.
Wes Pegden tweeted about public health messaging on COVID vaccines:
“I’m still kind of blown away that instead of “the vaccines are amazing, will cut transmission, turn even variant COVID into a cold; so get them and get back to life!”
we went with “we’re not sure how good they are, and we’re going to make you get them if you want to do stuff.””
My husband was reading me something last night about the mechanics of one of the vaccines (about how it has fairly superficial contact with the cell and then disappears) and I was realizing that I haven’t heard any official communication explaining this.
The NY Times reports 80% of educators have gotten their first shot, according to a CDC report:https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/04/06/world/covid-vaccine-coronavirus-cases#about-80-percent-of-k-12-educators-and-staff-have-been-given-at-least-one-vaccine-dose
That’s good news. And, these numbers are nearly as high as nurses and doctors (though lower than paramedics/first responders, at least in WA state, where I’m not sure who counts).
I think it’s a little hard to have a solid number on how many people will actually get the vaccine. My mother and father in law, both people who are in high risk groups, were initially hesitant. At the time, it was very hard to get an appointment (even compared to now). Then my wife camped on the internet for a couple days and got them one. They went and were happy to get it. As it goes from being hard to being easy, lots of the hesitant will change their minds.
That said, by fall most people will be vaccinated. Those who aren’t will be either children for whom it hasn’t been approved yet (and not many of those, Pfizer is already talking about 12 and up), people with a medical issue that makes vaccination dangerous, and those who choose not to be vaccinated. People in that third group will probably face some fairly serious hostility if they get sick and inconvenience anyone else.
“The [Israeli] study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, found the effect is so stark that with every 20-point increase in adult vaccination rates in a community, the risk of kids there testing positive halves.”
“Are unvaccinated people actually safer from the virus when those around them are inoculated?”
“This is an important question given that while vaccines are expected to be approved soon for children aged 12 and up, the under-12s will remain unvaccinated for the foreseeable future, and because roughly a million adult Israelis have not been vaccinated. Staff in medical organizations expect to convince only about half of them.”
“The new research answers the question of whether vaccinated people protect those around them with a resounding “yes.” It looked at medical data from children — who can’t yet receive vaccines — in some 223 Israeli communities, and found that the more widespread vaccination is among local adults, the less likely the kids are to test positive.”
It’s now my working theory that vaccinating teachers has been very beneficial with regard to preventing kid COVID cases.
I got my oldest her shot at Walgreen’s today.
Now I know why the beginning of the vaccine roll-out was like watching paint dry–Walgreens is unbelievably slow.
4 out of 5 members of our household have gotten a shot now, all except our youngest who isn’t eligible, and I get my second tomorrow.
wow. We’re 0 out of 4 in our house. Vaccine rollout has truly been horrible in Jersey. It’s really embarrassing when my state is below Texas on any scale.
Laura said, “wow. We’re 0 out of 4 in our house. Vaccine rollout has truly been horrible in Jersey. It’s really embarrassing when my state is below Texas on any scale.”
To be fair, it does have something to do with how many people are trying to do it.
I was really pleased to hear from my 10th grader that at least several of his classmates are already vaccinated.
I think these state by state comparisons are tough, and, it is indeed the case that NJ rate, reported at the CDC COVID tracker is higher than TX (and comparable to WA) for everyone. But, if you look at over 65, NJ & TX are similar, and WA is better. I think our personal take on whether we’ve had access is kind of skewed. But, have also been noting that as 50% of the general population has a 1st shot, it does really feel like everyone you now has had access and the unvaxed among us start to feel left out.
CDC is reporting that 75% of 65+, across the nation, have received a first dose, which is exciting.
bj said, “But, have also been noting that as 50% of the general population has a 1st shot, it does really feel like everyone you now has had access and the unvaxed among us start to feel left out.”
There are starting to be states (like New Mexico and New Hampshire) that have given at least one shot to over 40% of their populations, and a bunch of states (like Connecticut) are getting close to crossing that threshold.
In retrospect, we really should have done first-shots-first like the UK, but that was a tough call. They’ve given barely more shots than the US (28% coverage versus 26.5% coverage) and they’ve gotten much better mileage out of it (47.5% of UK residents have gotten first doses and UK new cases are below 5 per 100k compared to about 20 per 100k for the US).
I was getting my second shot today downtown today. Lots of people, very diverse crowd in terms of age and ethnicity.
So, do folks generally know what mRNA is? And by that, I mean, do the commenters on this blog? Did they before the mRNA vaccines? I should ask the people I talk to IRL, but, they might be see it as judgemental, when all I want is information.
“So, do folks generally know what mRNA is? And by that, I mean, do the commenters on this blog? Did they before the mRNA vaccines? I should ask the people I talk to IRL, but, they might be see it as judgemental, when all I want is information.”
I vaguely think I had heard the term, but until the news about the mRNA vaccines I didn’t know anything about it.
bj wrote, “So, do folks generally know what mRNA is? And by that, I mean, do the commenters on this blog? Did they before the mRNA vaccines? I should ask the people I talk to IRL, but, they might be see it as judgemental, when all I want is information.”
Nope. I still don’t really. I think it might possibly have been in my high school biology textbook 30 years ago, or possibly not. And let’s not have a pop quiz on the difference between RNA and DNA…
Hence, the popular idea that the mRNA vaccine will scramble people’s DNA…
(That’s a link to the trailer for the 1986 movie The Fly, in which Jeff Goldblum inadvertently transforms himself into a man/fly hybrid.)
Oh, wow, I didn’t expect the screen shot from The Fly to be quite so gross.
I looked it up, because I realized how easy it is to think we’ve always known something if it was known before we learned it. And mRNA was first described in two Nature papers in 1961! That means, in when the youngest baby boomers were in HS, the discovery was less than 20 years old, and that many boomers were long gone from learning biology before we new about mRNA.
It’s quite remarkable the progress that has been made in molecular biology, from the PCR reaction being used for diagnostic testing (which means not just the amplification of the sequence, but also the automatization of it — my kids did a PCR project, to identify two fish species in middle school!), automated gene sequencing that means we know the viral gene sequences as they spread and that clever, dedicated folk can actually pinpoint the spread of coronavirus (i.e you got it from person B).
The Economist article (behind a paywall, or I would link) remarked on how mRNA production in industrial chemistry rather than biology — it will soon be possible (if not already possible) to type in a sequence and have machines manufacture the mRNA. in making new vaccines, no need viral media for growing the virus and attenuating it, or extracting “spike” proteins. Right now, it’s still too expensive for routine vaccines. But, for the next one? and for cancer, potentially? I am wowed.
Yes, it was probably not in our biology text books, but the kids are learning it now.
Really this vaccine is an extraordinary story and an absolute triumph of applying basic science.
From Harvard Medical Publishing: “Then along came COVID-19. Within weeks of identifying the responsible virus, scientists in China had determined the structure of all of its genes, including the genes that make the spike protein, and published this information on the Internet.
Within minutes, scientists 10,000 miles away began working on the design of an mRNA vaccine. Within weeks, they had made enough vaccine to test it in animals, and then in people. Just 11 months after the discovery of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, regulators in the United Kingdom and the US confirmed that an mRNA vaccine for COVID-19 is effective and safely tolerated, paving the path to widespread immunization. Previously, no new vaccine had been developed in less than four years.”
(note how the internet sneaks in there, too)
Not to be a thread hog, but this is pretty important:
Wes Pegden tweets: It is neither reasonable nor inconsequential that as of April 2021, the
@CDCgov has still not recommended full re-openings of schools for the 2021-22 school year, which is just a few months away.”
AmyP, My husband was reading me something last night about the mechanics of one of the vaccines (about how it has fairly superficial contact with the cell and then disappears) and I was realizing that I haven’t heard any official communication explaining this.
When you come from a family of University Professors, it’s important to remember that the general public does not. I mean, there are people who believe the earth is flat. There are people who claim pasteurization of milk and Flouride in the water cause grave damage. There are people who believe in colloidal silver. They all have access to the internet.
In other words, what is reassuring to you, may be easily twisted into something scary to someone who did not have access to a competent science teacher–or who didn’t pay attention to a competent science teacher.
Especially in social media, I detect efforts to ramp up paranoia about vaccines. This predates Covid-19.
Cranberry said, “In other words, what is reassuring to you, may be easily twisted into something scary to someone who did not have access to a competent science teacher–or who didn’t pay attention to a competent science teacher.”
The thing is, a lot of fairly normal people are already sure that Pfizer and Moderna are going to completely scramble their DNA. And that idea has been circulating ever since it became well-known that Pfizer and Moderna have a novel mechanism using mRNA.
When you consider the bonfire of federal money that has been dumped on ads this spring for the masks-and-distancing messaging, it’s crazy how little messaging there has been to educate and reassure the public about vaccines. The feds just keep running the same masks-and-distancing message that people have been hearing for the past year.
“Especially in social media, I detect efforts to ramp up paranoia about vaccines.”
I don’t know how common this is, but I’ve run into a sort of COVID Pelagianism where people think that as long as they are personally thin and fit, they’ll be just fine, so they don’t need to be vaccinated. COVID is apparently only harmful to fat, out-of-shape people–hence Marjorie Taylor Greene’s boast that her workout is “my COVID protection.”
bj said, “I still think trust and personal connections are what works, not detailed explanation of the science for most of the hesitant folks.”
It doesn’t need to be detailed. The level of detail of the Tik Tok is just about perfect for most of us. But you do want a little bit more information than “here’s the experimental mystery drug that will totally fix everything!” Vaccine choice should be helpful, too–people like having choices.
I’d also like to see more freebies being offered.
YOOHOO, MARKETING PEOPLE! Have you considered offering free movie theater tickets to people with proof of vaccination? A lot of people who haven’t been going to the theater for a while and haven’t missed it could get back in the habit with a little nudge. And this goes for any similar venue that are indoors or have a lot of people and that people may have been avoiding: concerts, water parks, fairs, amusement parks, etc.
This is why TikTok rules: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMeaBPPyp/
Wendy said (posting the fork mRNA vaccine clip), “This is why TikTok rules.”
I do not like those style of explanation videos, but that’s probably because I am old and boring.
The Economist had an excellent review of the science behind the vaccines and the future.
I don’t know the right method of communicating the science behind the vaccines (roughly, I think the key point is that the mRNA is super unstable and does not linger. But, ultimately there has to be trust, trust that the mRNA and vehicles have been manufactured properly, trust that the mRNA will produce the spike protein and that your body will mount a response, trust that the mRNA is really only for the spike protein. Folks who believe that contrails are a chemical weapon against the American people (and I don’t how many of these there are, but when I now people who say their relative believe, I am worried that there are more of them than I could ever imagine) aren’t going to be convinced by the science they don’t trust from scientists they don’t trust.
And, there are people who know enough to take the mRNA explanation and pervert it into a plausible sounding concern. I for example, overheard a young woman talking about the placenta/pregnancy/infertility/syncytin-1 rumor on a morning walk. What would convince a young woman that the vaccine is not a threat to her 20+ remaining years of fertility?
Is it convincing to hear that the coronavirus spike protein does not really resemble syncytin? or does the explanation just raise further concerns? I still think trust and personal connections are what works, not detailed explanation of the science for most of the hesitant folks.
Re: Autistic Adult finances:
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, Laura. It’s been a challenge drafting an answer that fits in a blog comment thread.
I think you already know the answer to your question. Sources for cash are jobs and SSI (Social Security).
Other government supports are in the form of services. Probably the most valuable service is Medicaid — free medical care for life is worth A LOT. Take a moment to appreciate that Ian will always have that.
As a federal program, SSI is the same everywhere. If you moved to another state, it goes with you. If you don’t get Medicaid through your state, you will get it through SSI.
Every state is different as far as what services they provide and how they provide them. Again, the services are worth something, in that if the state provides say, job training and coaching, and helps underwrite transportation to the job, that is something you don’t have to pay for. Of course, the services will vary widely in quality and how useful they are to you.
Here are some bright spots:
SSI will allow you to charge Ian “rent” (they will determine the amount, around here it is about $400) and that will increase his monthly benefit to $790 and change. You can put that “rent” in his ABLE account, and that will be available cash (or you can put it in your personal account and spend it as you wish). If you don’t charge “rent,” he will only get, I think it is $529 (Yes, the arithmetic makes no sense).
When your husband retires, Ian will also start receiving SSDI (This benefit will be reduced permanently if husband retires before the SS full retirement age).
You have the means to do something creative about housing for Ian. This information is Ohio-specific but it will give you some ideas about potential options (scroll down to “Start Here”):
Hope this helps, you have my email if you have additional questions (I only stop by your blog occasionally).
That’s a great resource, very understandable and though the law might be OH specific, the thought process and circumstances to consider seem universal.
Staff from the County Board for Developmental Disability Services, along with a small group of volunteers, worked on the housing guide for several years. It was a huge effort and yes, they did a fabulous job.
I know that we’ve all been concerned about the mental health impacts on teens of the Covid lockdowns.
This just in – from the situation in NZ (which only had 6 weeks of full lockdown, with a couple more periods of home-based learning – not exceeding 4 weeks (depending on where you were in the country) – so we’ve mostly been ‘free’ for the last 6 months.
There has been a spike in eating disorders in young people in the last 12 months, with the upheaval, stress and anxiety of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns being a contributing factor.
Referrals are between 25 and 50% up (depends on the facility). And this comes from a background in NZ of *very* limited treatment places, and it’s really hard to get ‘on the list’ (i.e. you have to be really bad to be considered).
Wait list times are over 18-months – which means that many of the kids will be hospitalized (often repeatedly) before they are even seen by the mental health service.
Here’s a secondary source (original is paywalled)
I was just looking at this, and by my count, 5 states have given at least one shot to 40% or more of their populations, with a number of states (like South Dakota and New Jersey) being very close to crossing that threshold:
Nationally, the US is holding steady at about 20 new cases per 100k. The US has given 33.7% of the population 1 shot or more, the UK has done 47.6%, and Israel has done 58.6%. The UK is at 4.7 cases per 100k right now and Israel is at 3.3 cases per 100k.
There’s a lot to look forward to!
Comments are closed.