HomeEconomyCovid crisis hit schools in New York City

Covid crisis hit schools in New York City

I’ve come and I’m sorry to report too much about Covid, but Omicron is in a speeding state, and the political and business world is still picking up pace after the holidays. In terms of Omicron’s impact on schools, New York City may be a canary in a coal mine. One reason for running this article is to let readers understand the performance of schools in their communities.

Many elements of this story are amazing: the drop in attendance, the degree of teacher absenteeism, and student fear. But this is prominent and is part of the subtitle: “Unvaccinated children are crowding the intensive care unit of the hospital.”

Recall that children under 5 years of age cannot be vaccinated. Pfizer found that its vaccine did not cause a strong enough antibody response in children between the ages of 2 and 5, so its use was justified.

Therefore, the opening of school may have an undesirable second-order effect: Older children will be infected with Omicron (regardless of whether it is a bad/symptomatic case) and infect younger siblings and babies who are more vulnerable.

The photo below illustrates it all: the students eat lunch one by one, three adults hovering, two wearing only cloth masks.

Authors: Katie Honan, Josefa Velasquez and Farah Javed.Originally published on City on January 3, 2022

Mayor Eric Adams and school principal David Banks visited Concourse Village Elementary School in the Bronx. Michael Appleton/Mayor’s Office of Photography

Facing the first major test as mayor, Eric Adams vowed on Monday to keep public schools in New York City open, despite the record number of COVID cases in New York City, even if classes resume after the holidays , One-third of the children still stay at home.

“We want to be very clear: The safest place for our children is in the school building,” the mayor said in a press conference after visiting Concourse Village Elementary School in the Bronx. “We will keep the school open to ensure that our children are safe in a safe environment.”

The people who treat them say that although nearly 1 million children plan to return to public school classrooms, children infected with COVID — almost all of whom have not been vaccinated — are crowding the intensive care unit of the hospital.

As New York City fights the latest COVID wave, the city’s teachers union has called for temporary distance learning because of the proportion of five boroughs that test positive for COVID Reached 22% on Monday.

Some parents and teachers called for “leaves” to protest the lack of remote school options. According to data from the Ministry of Education, the student attendance rate at city schools on Monday was 67.38%, and this fall is close to 90%.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, data on the absence of teachers, administrators and staff in urban schools are not immediately available.

The students who did show up expressed anxiety.

“I have always been afraid of contracting COVID because people around me are unwilling to follow safety precautions properly,” said 16-year-old Katherine Jiang, a student at Fort Hamilton High School in Bay Ridge.

She believes that schools should resume distance learning—online education that all students experienced part or all of last year—because cases continue to increase.

“People are still missing [in-person] They study because they are afraid of contracting COVID,” she added. “They would rather stay at home. “

Teacher exam

School staff are also facing their own attendance crisis.

On Sunday night, the principal of Carroll Garden PS 58 reminded parents that the elementary school will Keep closed Because of staff shortage.Monday night, they Inverted process.

But a similar fate may await other schools, such as an elementary school in Brooklyn. About a third of the faculty and staff were called on Monday, third grade teacher Andrea Castellano told the city.

“My school was almost at that time. We were absent 20 times today,” Castellano said of her school’s teaching and support staff. “No submarine. On a normal day, you might get a [Absent Teacher Reserve] Or you can cover the entire course, but if 20 people go out, no one will do it. “

She said that teachers merge courses as needed.

But Adams faced a daunting recovery from COVID and a record-breaking surge in infections in his first week in office. He said students will stay in school – noting that vaccinations and distribution of 1.5 million COVID tests to take home Is a way the building will stay safe.

Adams seems to have an ally in Governor Kathy Hochul, and he promised that even in Some schools Due to staff shortages, the state is turning to distance learning.

In Rochester on Monday, Hochul warned against distance learning on the grounds that communities of color might not have access to high-speed internet and other resources.

“The teachers have tried their best. The parents have tried their best. However, we are asking too much to try and manage the differences between children and communities across the state in distance learning,” Hochul said.

“We have seen 50 children”

Even after the Food and Drug Administration approved vaccination for children under 5 years of age, the vaccination rate for children still lags behind. In the five administrative regions, only 43% of children between the ages of 5 and 17 were fully vaccinated, and 13% were partially vaccinated—and nearly 44% were vaccinated. According to the Municipal Health and Mental Health Bureau, eligible children have not yet been vaccinated.

Dr. James Schneider, director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Cohen Children’s Medical Center on the Queens/Nassau County border, said the hospitalization rate for unvaccinated school-age children is rising rapidly.

“I am the head of the ICU, and I can tell you now that, frankly speaking, in the entire pandemic, the number of children we have been admitted to the ICU and hospitals is the most we have seen. For example, we watched in the hospital today. By the time 50 children were infected with COVID, more than half of the people in my ICU are now positive for COVID, which is unheard of,” Schneider told THE CITY.

He said that although some of these children entered the hospital for other reasons and happened to test positive for COVID in the hospital, for many other young patients, the virus itself “is causing them to get sick.”

Schneider added that this rate has changed “tremendously” compared to mid-November, when there may be one or two children with COVID who will be treated in the hospital. Schneider said the vast majority of hospitalized children—some are only a few weeks old—have not been vaccinated and suffer from illnesses ranging from fever and respiratory diseases (such as pneumonia) to neurological diseases.

“If your child is vaccinated, the risk of serious infection will be particularly low. This vaccine is particularly safe, and now we know that it is effective. Not being vaccinated will still expose your child to higher levels of serious infections. Risk-we see this situation every day,” he added.

‘Safety Design’

The new principal, David Banks, outlined the health and safety protocols in an email sent to schools across the city.

Any student who shows symptoms of COVID or may have been exposed to COVID will be tested at home. According to the Ministry of Education, anyone who may have been exposed to a positive case can continue to school if they have no symptoms and the test result is negative.

Students who test positive for COVID must be isolated for 10 days after the first positive result.

In the Bronx on Monday morning, Adams and Banks also discussed a new “command center” for principals and district leaders to resolve any issues, although it is not clear that this is related to the current “condition room” tracking the school’s positive cases. “What is the difference.

Banks said that based on mandatory health checks and tests, “the school is designed to be safe.”

“They must pass a health examination, The building is well ventilated, masks are commonly used, and every adult is vaccinated,” he said on Monday. “These measures make the school the safest environment for young people. “

In an interview with NY1 on Monday night, Banks said that “more than 98%” of the students previously required to be quarantined have never gotten sick or tested positive.

But some students said that the mandatory health check did not make them feel safe.

“It’s useless, I think my safety is in danger,” said Yin Yan Lui, another 16-year-old student at Fort Hamilton High School. “I don’t know how to protect myself from other infected people. I want the school to close because it’s really dangerous and scary.”

Antonio Zucardi, a 17-year-old senior at James Madison High School in Brooklyn, said he is trying to get rid of the latest wave of COVID without getting sick.

“Although it is rising, I feel safe about it, but I haven’t become positive yet,” he said. “I want to maintain this state, but if there are cases, I will take preventive measures and keep my distance.”

Not vaccinated, in class

In the low-income communities taught by Castellano, the shortage of testing sites, basic health conditions, low vaccination rates, and ethnic demographic data mean that students and their families are at increased risk of illness.

“Those in power should consider these dynamics [and] How fair they are in the whole city,” she said. “It’s a question of fairness. Everyone’s situation is different. “

“This is a huge experiment that makes children the main pawn. Most of them are unvaccinated, the most vulnerable, and they have the least measures to protect them,” Castellano said.

Due to the influx of new cases leading to low student attendance, teachers at Castellano School have also had to suspend their planned classes in the past few weeks.

Although less than half of her students showed up at school on Monday, in other classrooms, you “can count some class sizes with one hand”, which forces teachers to suspend their teaching until more students show up.

“This is a huge destruction.”

Adams firmly opposed these concerns.

“I know there are questions about staffing, I know there are questions about testing,” Adams said. “There are many questions. But we will turn these question marks into exclamation marks-we will stay open.”

This story was originally published on City, An independent non-profit news organization dedicated to hard-line reporting that serves the people of New York.

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