learning

Westbrook HS switches to distance learning through Wednesday after coronavirus case


WESTBROOK — Westbrook High School will be closed through Wednesday after a member of the school community tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a letter from the district.

In the letter, Zachary Faiella, director of health in Westbrook, and Interim Superintendent Patricia Charles said they became aware of the positive test on Sunday afternoon.

“The Westbrook Health Director, Zachary Faiella, has determined that the Westbrook High School facility needs to be closed for three days, September 14, 15, and 16,.” the officials said in the release. “These three days will enable the school to be thoroughly cleaned and to conduct the necessary contact tracing. The students will participate in distance learning during this period.”




“Pending further information on this investigation, students and staff who have not been identified as either being close contacts or in the same class

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Teachers win injunction to prevent in-person learning

A teachers’ union in Florida has won an injunction stopping the enforcement of an executive order requiring schools in the state to be open for in-person learning.

In July, Commissioner Richard Corcoran with the Florida Department of Education issued an emergency order that schools must be open at least five days per week for all students. The order was “subject to advice and orders” given by the Department of Health.

The order was for all brick-and-mortar schools to open by Monday, Aug. 31, according to court documents.

The Florida Education Association, which is the state’s largest teachers’ union, filed a lawsuit against Corcoran and Gov. Ron DeSantis in an effort to halt that order.

Tallahassee Circuit Court Judge Charles Dodson granted the union’s injunction request on Monday, ruling that the order from state officials was unconstitutional.

Dodson in his ruling adjusted the emergency order, removing the requirement that the schools

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Moms brace for school year juggling jobs, remote learning amid COVID-19 pandemic

Traci Wells was at a school board meeting when she found out the springtime balancing act between her job and helping her children with online schooling would stretch into the fall. 

“I was like, I cannot do six more months of this,” says Wells, a mother of four, who is director of education for the global health program at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. With her husband working as well, “I don’t know how we’re going to be on all the calls and get the work done when we have these responsibilities. It’s just really, really hard.”

When the coronavirus outbreak led schools to shut down in the spring, parents had to quickly rally, juggling their jobs with the added roles of teacher, tutor and occasional IT technician.

It was a stressful time, but one that many families presumed would be temporary, coming at the end of the school

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Parents brace for school year juggling jobs, remote learning amid COVID-19 pandemic

Traci Wells was at a school board meeting when she found out the springtime balancing act between her job and helping her children with online schooling would stretch into the fall. 

“I was like, I cannot do six more months of this,” says Wells, a mother of four, who is director of education for the global health program at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. With her husband working as well, “I don’t know how we’re going to be on all the calls and get the work done when we have these responsibilities. It’s just really, really hard.”

When the coronavirus outbreak led schools to shut down in the spring, parents had to quickly rally, juggling their jobs with the added roles of teacher, tutor and occasional IT technician.

It was a stressful time, but one that many families presumed would be temporary, coming at the end of the school

Read More

Families Priced Out of ‘Learning Pods’ Seek Alternatives

Shy Rodriguez with her sons, Shawn Pagan, 11, left, and Jaiden Pagan, 8, at their home in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on July 31, 2020. (Hannah Yoon/The New York Times)
Shy Rodriguez with her sons, Shawn Pagan, 11, left, and Jaiden Pagan, 8, at their home in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on July 31, 2020. (Hannah Yoon/The New York Times)

WASHINGTON — When Shy Rodriguez heard about one of the hottest trends in education during the pandemic — “learning pods,” where parents hire teachers for small-group, in-home instruction — she knew immediately it was something she could never afford for her sons.

Like many parents, Rodriguez, a single mother and nursing assistant in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, was deeply dissatisfied with the online instruction her school district provided last spring. Facing more of the same this fall — her district is offering an in-person option for now, but she is not comfortable sending her boys — she set out to create a more basic and affordable type of pod: one where parents take turns with child care duties so they can go to work

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Do kids still need vaccinations if they are learning online during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The 2020-2021 school year will soon begin the way it ended in South Florida: online.

And while your child may be temporarily learning through a computer screen instead of in a classroom, that doesn’t mean you should delay a trip to the doctor.

All public and private schoolchildren from kindergarten through 12th grade in Florida still need to get the necessary vaccines required to attend school — even if they are learning online, according to the Florida Department of Health.

And yes, this includes students who plan to remain in virtual school once kids can return to campus masked up for socially distanced learning.

Miami-Dade and Broward Public Schools are reminding parents that they need to make sure their children’s immunization records are up-to-date, or that exception requirements have been met, now that the school year is starting again, as usual.

School officials say Florida also hasn’t issued any waivers

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HCPS Virtual Learning Plan Approved By Harford County Board Of Ed

HARFORD COUNTY, MD — The Harford County Board of Education approved administrators’ proposal to hold the first semester online while also establishing in-person learning centers. The plan presented by Harford County Public Schools Superintendent Sean Bulson was approved, 8-1.

The dissenting vote came from Tamera Rush, who represents Council District D, which includes the northern part of Harford County.

Approval of the virtual learning plan came after hours of discussion, with board members asking questions of school system leadership on logistics.

While a hybrid model consisting of in-person and virtual instruction had been considered in recent months, Bulson said it would not be feasible to educate the more than 37,000 students enrolled in Harford County Public Schools in that format.

“We were not going to be able to deliver logistically to provide a good instructional program” and deliver on safety, Bulson said.

Coronavirus data in recent months showed an increase

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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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These online learning tips will help parents prepare for a successful school year, even if it is virtual.

Many of the nation’s largest school districts plan to begin the fall semester online-only. As schools consider reopening, children face a future in which online courses will probably be part of the curriculum. To make the best of this situation, here are some tips to help your child adapt to learning from home.

Studies show that in online learning, parents often take on the role of a teacher. Making school a priority will help keep kids from treating online learning as a vacation. 

Research suggests that some types of parental participation have a greater impact on children’s academic achievement than others. One analysis showed that schoolchildren benefit from discussions about learning and school-related issues with their parents and from joint readings. 

Reduce distractions

A report in 2016 found that students spent about one-fifth of class time on laptops, smartphones and tablets, knowing that doing so could harm their grades. They

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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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