Remote learning keeps children safe from the coronavirus, but it hampers their social skills development

It is the first day of school. There are no buses. No sounds of the bell ringing or morning announcements over the loudspeaker. There is no chatter, laughter, high fives or even elbow bumps between the students in the classrooms. Hallways and lockers are empty. The cafeteria floor is sparkling clean.

This first day of school is different. It is too silent – no feelings of nostalgia and excitement. Meeting new students, new teachers, new friends, new experiences and new opportunities is just a distant memory.

55 million students in the United States were out of school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These students missed face-to-face instruction that continued into the summer months. Some students are now returning to school in person, but many, like my twin boys, are continuing remote learning, while others have a hybrid situation.

The remote learning has many teachers working 24/7 to create high-quality educational

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It’s still not safe for students to return to school, Warwick superintendent says

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) ─ While the majority of Rhode Island’s schools are back in session, Superintendent Philip Thornton argues that it is still unsafe for students in Warwick to return to the classroom in person.

The Warwick School Committee, which opted to begin the school year virtually, was considering switching to a hybrid learning plan for all of its students, but Thornton said the district needs to address the ventilation concerns flagged by walkthrough teams in all of the city’s 20 school buildings.

“I don’t believe it is safe to bring students in and open a window and just put a fan in,” Thornton said. “To me, I think that’s inherently unsafe.”

The district has already said it plans to purchase 600 air purifiers using CARES Act funding and estimates that both the purchase and installation, as well as the electrical upgrades needed to support them, will take roughly two

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Education Minister to announce how Alberta will spend federal safe school funding

a person wearing a purple shirt: Education Minister Adriana LaGrange

© Chris Schwarz
Education Minister Adriana LaGrange

The Alberta government is set to announce how it will spend safe school funding from the federal government.

The province will receive $262.84 million from Ottawa as part of a new Safe Return to Class Fund announced last week by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau said that although education is a provincial responsibility, parents have said they are “extremely worried” and provinces needed more support to ensure kids and teachers are safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Provinces and territories will have flexibility to spend the money as they see fit, and it will be handed out in two instalments in the fall and in early 2021.

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw are scheduled to speak at 11 a.m.

The Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) has been raising concerns for weeks over class sizes amid the COVID-19

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Funding for school facility improvements a requirement for safe reopening

Elizabeth Beardsley is the senior policy counsel at the U.S. Green Building Council. Scott Brown is president of the National Council on School Facilities. Mary Filardo is chair of the 21st Century School Fund, [Re]Build America’s School Infrastructure Coalition. David Terry is executive director of the National Association of State Energy Officials.

Before the pandemic, the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimated a stunning 41% of America’s school districts needed to replace or update heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in at least half of their schools  representing 36,000 schools nationwide.

During the coronavirus pandemic, these building systems have become essential in helping to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, yet the focus has been on masks, cleaning, spacing of desks and other steps. School facilities also require attention, and right now, they are not ready to welcome back students, teachers and staff.

Public health experts from the Centers for

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