Mississippi Is What a School Reopening Shitshow Looks Like

Thomas Wells/The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal via AP
Thomas Wells/The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal via AP

On Monday morning, hundreds of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders filed through the doors at Grenada Middle School in north Mississippi. 

Looking out of her classroom, math teacher Suzanne Alexander saw kids huddled together, giddy at being with friends for the first time in months. As she walked the halls, students she hadn’t seen since they moved to remote learning in March surprised her with big, enthusiastic hugs. When the bell rang at the end of the day, those same students hung out around classroom doors, waiting on friends—perhaps too intimidated, in normal middle school fashion, to be seen walking out alone. 

It was, she said, a very typical first day of school. And that was the problem.

“Right now is not normal by any stretch of the imagination,” Alexander told The Daily Beast. “And they don’t even think about it. But

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How to Navigate a School Reopening

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Christina Warner feels fairly confident that, for now, the school her 7-year-old daughter attends has proper protocols in place to deal with coronavirus this upcoming school year.

The Catholic school in Canton, Mich., is planning for smaller classes to allow for social distancing and has rules about face masks. Plus, transmission is low in the area.

“But I don’t know how long it’s going to last,” says Warner, adding that she’s comfortable switching back to virtual schooling if that’s what’s deemed necessary by the school or state.

Warner’s uncertainty about what will happen this school year is playing out in homes across the country, as some school systems are opening as planned and others are opening virtually, at least at first.

Sixty-two percent of Americans are “not too confident” or “not confident at all” that schools will be able

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Hillsborough Board Votes To Delay School Reopening 4 More Weeks

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL — Following a five-hour special board meeting Thursday in which a panel of seven medical experts were queried, the Hillsborough County School Board voted 5-2 to delay the reopening of schools for four more weeks.

Board member Karen Perez made the motion and board member Lynn Gray seconded it. School board members Melissa Snively and Cindy Stuart voted against the motion.

That mean that on Aug. 24, the first day of school in Hillsborough County, all public school students will begin school online. Brick-and-mortar school openings will be delayed for four weeks although the school board will reassess the situation at its meeting on Sept. 8.

This vote goes against Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran’s July 6 executive order mandating that all Florida school districts reopen schools five days a week by the end of August in order to receive state funding.

But after listening to medical

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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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Summit Teachers’ Union Expresses Concerns About School Reopening

SUMMIT, NJ — After revealing details of its school reopening plan last month (see them here), the Summit public schools planned to post the final plan on the district’s website (here) on Tuesday and host a forum remotely this Thursday.

But Summit’s teachers’ union, like certain other teachers’ unions locally and around the state, was concerned about aspects of returning to school in light of the coronavirus pandemic, asked about ventilation in the buildings, and more. They submitted a letter to the school board that’s posted below.

Last month, the district said it would allow students the option of either attending five days per week, single session with no lunch, or being all remote (the state has said that every district must offer an all-remote option).

This Thursday at 7 p.m., the district will host a “community forum regarding the district’s reopening plan.” Details of how to access it (via

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Toronto, Peel get green light for Stage 3 reopening on Friday

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For a full archive of the first month of the pandemic, please check our archive of events.

July 29

8:45 a.m.: Toronto and Peel will move into Stage 3

The Ontario government has announced that Toronto and Peel

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Here’s How to Make Schools Safer for Reopening in the Fall

(Bloomberg Opinion) — During the weekend, the New York Times highlighted some of the comments it has received in reaction to articles about reopening schools. They were not a cause for optimism.

“Despite all my love for my students, I don’t really want to die for them or anyone else. Neither does my partner, who is living with cancer,” a teacher from Minneapolis wrote.

“Of course we need to reopen schools,” said a teacher from Maine, who then asked whether school nurses would be responsible for all the coronavirus testing that would be needed and where the schools would get enough personal protective equipment. “How many teachers receive combat pay while being forced into mortal heroics?” he added.

A parent from Massachusetts: “Does my daughter want to go back to the classroom? Yes. Do I prefer that she does? Yes. Do I want to risk her health in order for

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Homeschool pods are gaining traction amid worries about school reopening; here’s how parents are getting the finances to work

Katrina Mulligan says her decision to organize a homeschooling “pod” – a modern version of a one-room schoolhouse, with a small group of parents splitting the cost of hiring teachers – wasn’t done lightly.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the nation, she’s grown increasingly wary about her public school’s plan for getting kids back in the building.

“I don’t think it’s a great idea to send your kids to school in the middle of the pandemic,” says Mulligan, 40. “A lot of us started freaking out.”

Katrina Mulligan and her daughter, November 2019 in Manassas, Virginia.

At the same time, she adds, she and her husband found it difficult this spring to juggle working from home while managing their 6-year-old daughter’s virtual schooling. That experience, plus concerns about school safety, prompted her family to connect with four other families in their hometown of Alexandria, Virginia, to

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What Other Countries Can Teach The U.S. About Safely Reopening Schools

One of the many challenges of reopening classrooms in the United States is that there isn’t much good data, if any, about what could happen. Will in-person learning lead to a jump in the transmission of COVID-19? Will students and teachers get sick? How many? How sick?

There is so much that health officials, teachers, parents and kids will simply be forced to learn in real time. And what works in another population, in another country, may be very different from what works in this population, here. 

“There are so many different ways in which schools have reopened around the world, and it’s hard to put in a capsule to say ‘This is the best way’ or ‘This is potentially something we can replicate,’” said Dr. Ibukun Akinboyo, an assistant professor in the pediatrics department at Duke University School of Medicine.

Yet there is something to be gained by looking

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Reopening plans at UC Berkeley, other campuses fall apart amid coronavirus surge

A group of students walk through the Sather Gate at UC Berkeley. <span class="copyright">(Eric Risberg / Associated Press)</span>
A group of students walk through the Sather Gate at UC Berkeley. (Eric Risberg / Associated Press)

Hopes that college life might begin a slow return to normal this fall were deflated Tuesday, when two University of California campuses announced they would begin the semester with fully remote instruction amid a pandemic surge.

UC Berkeley and UC Merced had hoped to open Aug. 26 with a mix of online, in-person and hybrid classes. But they reversed those plans as COVID-19 infections began their record-shattering increases throughout California, with cases now topping more than 400,000 and deaths, 7,800. In Los Angeles County, half of new COVID-19 cases were among those ages 18 to 40.

The UC reversals follow other decisions to do likewise by several California campuses, including USC, Pomona College and Occidental College. Nationally, the proportion of colleges and universities planning for in-person classes has declined from about two-thirds in

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