Omicron Threat pushes Harvard towards e-learning for early January


Harvard University said on Saturday it would implement distance learning for the first three weeks of 2022. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meanwhile, said unvaccinated students exposed to covid may stay in school subject to a testing regime.

NBC News: Harvard plans to move away in January as Covid-19 cases rise

Harvard University announced on Saturday that it will return to distance learning during the first weeks of 2022 as infection concerns grow over a new variant of the coronavirus. The Ivy League institution told students and staff it will spend the first three weeks of January returning to online classes as coronavirus infections rise locally and globally. Only students authorized to remain on campus or authorized to return to campus should plan to return from winter vacation at this time. (Madani, 12/19 /)

Axios: Omicron Surge pushes elite colleges back into 2020 mode

The rapid spread of the Omicron variant is forcing colleges and universities to adjust their pandemic policies, with Harvard announcing on Saturday that it will go remotely for the first three weeks of January in an effort to prevent the spread on campus. Omicron threatens to overturn the new normal as it doubles COVID-19 cases every 1.5 to 3 days in areas where there is community spread. (Saric, 12/19 /)

In other school news –

The New York Times: CDC Says Unvaccinated Students Exposed To Virus Can “Test and Stay”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday that unvaccinated students exposed to the coronavirus can stay in school, as long as they are tested for the virus twice in the following week and both tests come back negative. The new guideline, known as the ‘test-to-stay’ protocol, could ease the burden on children who had to stay at home if close contact tested positive for the virus, and parents who had to scramble to get them back. school or find a daycare. It also aims to minimize disruption to learning as two highly contagious variants of the virus spread across the country, causing school closures and threatening to upend strategies adopted by federal and state officials to resume classes in no one in the fall. (Weiland and Anthès, 12/17 /)

The Boston Globe: What Happens When Students Take Off Their Masks? These mass schools are finding out.

At least five Massachusetts schools – including Westborough High School and College, Norwell High School and King Philip Regional High School in Wrentham – have allowed vaccinated students to unmask themselves. Most school districts haven’t seen a significant increase in COVID cases among students or staff, state data shows. Until last week, neither Hopkinton High. But on Friday, the school had registered 15 new cases. “It was exciting to regain some sense of normalcy, but as we see a slight increase in the number of cases, we find ourselves again faced with reality,” said Jenna Galster, professor of mathematics at Hopkinton, whose statistics course was about half. masked Thursday. To be exempt from the state’s school mask mandate, schools had to first certify to the state that 80% of students and staff were fully immunized. (Martin, 12/19 /)

In the news of mental health –

AP: Schools use therapy-based programs for ‘overwhelmed’ children

On a blustery December morning in rural southwest Michigan, an American flag flew at half mast in front of Paw Paw Early Elementary School. A social worker with a miniature therapy dog ​​named Trixie offered comfort at the front doors. Children wearing face masks scurried away from buses in the cool of the morning, some stooping to pet the shaggy puppy before walking inside. Like children in so many towns and cities around the world, the youth of Van Buren Middle School District in Michigan have been through a lot in recent years. A relentless pandemic that continues to disrupt classrooms, make friends and loved ones sick, and left some families in the district jobless and homeless. Three student suicide attempts since resuming full-time in-person school this fall, two student suicides last year. And now a fatal shooting two days earlier at a school hours away. (Tanner, 12/20)

Cincinnatti Enquirer: Childhood mental health crisis: Ohio at tipping point

Long before the pandemic, mental health care for children in Ohio was in crisis: not enough access, beds or caregivers. The head of the state’s pediatric hospital association said the situation had only worsened nearly two years after the start of the global health emergency. But by the end of the year, a panel of experts is due to file a report indicating the state’s way forward to improve the system from the ground up. Formed by the 2019 legislation signed by Governor Mike DeWine, the panel report will suggest ways to expand availability, recruit and retain workers, and build necessary facilities. The group has mainly focused on prevention. (Saker, 12/20 /)

Chicago Tribune: COVID-19 Hardship Fueling Student Behavior Crisis

When Illinois classrooms fully reopened for in-person learning this fall, teachers predicted that many of their students would need a lot of academic and emotional support to recover from 18 months of COVID disruption. -19 in their education. But just three months after the start of the new school year, the quarantines and epidemics of the pandemic-era virus have been eclipsed by an increase in disturbing student behavior that seasoned educators say is unlike anything like this. that they have seen for decades of teaching. (Cullotta, 12/19 /)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of coverage of health policies by major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.


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