schools

COVID-19 pandemic puts future of Catholics schools in doubt

As the new academic year arrives, school systems across the United States are struggling to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Roman Catholic educators have an extra challenge — trying to forestall a relentless wave of closures of their schools that has no end in sight.

Already this year, financial and enrollment problems aggravated by the pandemic have forced the permanent closure of more than 140 Catholic schools nationwide, according to officials who oversee Catholic education in the country.

Three of the nation’s highest-ranking Catholic leaders, in a recent joint appeal, said Catholic schools “are presently facing their greatest financial crisis” and warned that hundreds more closures are likely without federal support.

“Because of economic loss and uncertainty, many families are confronting the wrenching decision to pull their children out of Catholic schools,” said New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley and Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez, president of

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How Schools Missed a Chance to Fix Remote Learning

The Clinton Hill School in New York, July 22, 2020. (Mark Wickens/The New York Times)
The Clinton Hill School in New York, July 22, 2020. (Mark Wickens/The New York Times)

With some combination of optimism, anxiety and wishful thinking, many educators spent their summers planning, in minute detail, how to safely reopen classrooms. Teachers stocked up on sanitation supplies as superintendents took a crash course in epidemiology and studied supply chain logistics for portable air filters.

But with the pandemic now surging across a wide swath of the country, many of those plans have been shelved, and a different reality has emerged for the nation’s exhausted and stir-crazy families: Millions of American children will spend their fall once again learning in front of laptop screens.

In places where schools haven’t already reopened — in some, to just as quickly close again — educators are spending the little time they have left before the new academic year moving to focus more fully on improving online instruction,

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Florida health directors reportedly told not to say whether schools should reopen

County health directors in Florida have reportedly been told not to provide a recommendation about whether schools should reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.

Florida state officials “instructed county directors to focus their advice to school boards on how best to reopen,” but the health directors have been told “not to make a recommendation” about whether to actually reopen at all, The Palm Beach Post reports. This is despite the fact that an edict from Florida Education Commission Richard Corcoran instructed schools seeking to not reopen to receive a wavier from health officials.

“We’ve been advised that our role here is to just advise as to what can we do to make the environment in schools as safe as possible with COVID-19,” one health director, Patricia Boswell, reportedly said at a school board meeting. “It is not to make a decision on whether or not to open the school.”

Former health

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Here’s how parents can protect their kids from coronavirus as schools reopen

Get ready to pack your back-to-school pencils, binders and … hand sanitizer?

While some schools and universities are opting for remote learning or a hybrid of in-person and online sessions, others are pushing ahead with in-person classes – with proper sanitation protocols, of course. Social distancing markings, COVID program coordinators and smaller class sizes are only a few of the reflections of the pandemic-era classroom experience.

But still, parents may be (reasonably) worried about this transition. Although schools will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines to ensure safety for children, it’s always a good idea to reinforce these standards from home as well.

So what can you do, other than clipping a mini-bottle of hand sanitizer to every backpack? USA TODAY asked two health experts for advice on how parents can keep their students safe and healthy as they prepare for in-person classes. 

New clothes and senior

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As schools in Kashmir stay closed, millions of children lose education

A high-achiever at her government school in Jammu and Kashmir, Nadiya Akbar wants to pursue her dream of studying medicine - Joe Wallen
A high-achiever at her government school in Jammu and Kashmir, Nadiya Akbar wants to pursue her dream of studying medicine – Joe Wallen

Pausing to catch her breath, Nadiya Akbar, 16, squats on a rocky precipice overlooking the miniature houses of her village of Wagoora nestled in the valley below.

Since last August, Ms Akbar has had too much time to think. A high-achiever at her government school in Jammu and Kashmir, Ms Akbar’s parents had pooled together their savings in anticipation of Ms Akbar pursuing her dream of studying medicine.

Now, one year on, her dream lies in tatters and she has been forced to drop out of school and herd her family’s livestock to make ends meet.

“I was developing a severe infection in my right ear and I used to go to a local hospital where doctors treated me,” explained Ms Akbar. “I think that was the

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If Public Schools Are Closed, Should Private Schools Have to Follow?

St. Andrews Episcopal School, attended by Baron Trump, President Donald Trump's son, in Potomac, Md., on April 29, 2020. (Samuel Corum/The New York Times)
St. Andrews Episcopal School, attended by Baron Trump, President Donald Trump’s son, in Potomac, Md., on April 29, 2020. (Samuel Corum/The New York Times)

Facing a resurgence of the coronavirus, public schools in the suburbs of the nation’s capital decided in recent weeks that more than 1 million children would start the school year from home. On Friday, officials in Maryland’s most populous county said that private schools, including some of the nation’s most elite, had to join them.

Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, abruptly overruled that directive this week, contending that Maryland’s private schools should be allowed to make their own reopening decisions. The governor staked out his position on the same day that a group of parents filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the county’s order, saying it discriminated against private and religious schools.

The wrangling threw into sharp relief the challenges facing local health officials as

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An emergency medicine physician projects that if schools open in the fall, they’ll close by the end of October with COVID-19 outbreaks

The principal Pam Rasmussen taking the temperature of arriving students as part of coronavirus guidelines for summer-school sessions in Monterey Park, California, on July 9.
The principal Pam Rasmussen taking the temperature of arriving students as part of coronavirus guidelines for summer-school sessions in Monterey Park, California, on July 9.

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

  • As the fall semester quickly approaches for a number of school districts across the US, lawmakers, school boards members, and parents have been debating whether or not schools should reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Matt Lambert, an emergency medicine physician and former chief medical information officer for New York City Health and Hospitals, told Business Insider that schools could reopen with strict health safety precautions, but the prevalence of the virus could challenge if they are able to stay open.

  • Lambert said it could be difficult identifying and separating potential coronavirus cases and flu cases due to the similarity between symptoms and increased exposure to others.

  • “When the flu comes back around October, it’s going to create some challenges

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An emergency medicine physician projects that if schools open up in the fall, they’ll be closed by the end of October due to COVID-19 outbreaks

Principal Pam Rasmussen (L) takes the temperature of arriving students as per coronavirus guidelines during summer school sessions in Monterey Park, California on July 9, 2020.
Principal Pam Rasmussen (L) takes the temperature of arriving students as per coronavirus guidelines during summer school sessions in Monterey Park, California on July 9, 2020.

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

  • As the fall semester quickly approaches for a number of school districts across the US, lawmakers, school boards members, and parents have been debating whether or not schools should reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Matt Lambert, an emergency medicine physician and former chief medical information officer for New York City Health and Hospitals, told Business Insider that schools could reopen with strict health safety precautions, but the prevalence of the virus could challenge if they are able to stay open.

  • Lambert said it could be difficult identifying and separating potential coronavirus cases and flu cases due to the similarity between symptoms and increased exposure to others.

  • “When the flu comes back around October, it’s going to create some

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The hybrid learning model for schools reopening is ‘imperfect on many levels,’ experts say

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2020/08/03: A protester holds a placard that says No return until zero cases during the demonstration. (Photo by Ron Adar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES – 2020/08/03: A protester holds a placard that says No return until zero cases during the demonstration. (Photo by Ron Adar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

While some schools across the country have already reopened their doors to students and staff, it’s crunch time for other states and school districts to decide what learning will look like in their areas this fall. And pandemic school models vary wildly.

Chicago Public Schools officials announced on Wednesday that the city’s schools will be fully remote until “at least” November 6. In a series of tweets, school officials shared graphics that featured the headline, “Families Not Yet Ready to Return to Classrooms,” noting that many district families are hesitant to do in-person schooling. 

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Biden won’t go to Milwaukee for convention; Chicago schools to start online; Florida surpasses 500,000 cases

Another pharmaceutical giant announced a vaccine deal with the U.S. on Wednesday while Joe Biden and the rest of the Democratic celebs bid adieu to Milwaukee’s political convention before the coronation train ever rolled into town.

Johnson & Johnson said it has a $1 billion agreement to supply 100 million doses of its vaccine candidate to the U.S. government. Also Wednesday, Moderna said it expects to fully enroll 30,000 people for a trial of its vaccine candidate next month. And a day earlier, Novavax released promising results of an early trial. 

Milwaukee’s 2020 Democratic National Convention suffers the same fate as Charlotte, where plans for a full-blown GOP convention have been whittled down to a few small gatherings later this month.

While the nation waits for a vaccine that could fully reopen schools and businesses, the University of Connecticut became the first top-level college program to cancel its football season.

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