Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » Chicago restarts school reopening debate
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Chicago restarts school reopening debate

Wednesday, Oct 14, 2020

* Tribune

Little more than three weeks remain of Chicago Public Schools’ fall quarter, but CEO Janice Jackson and Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday would not say when they will let everyone know if schools will reopen for the winter.

“We know that parents are anxious to hear from us on this, and we’ve committed to making an announcement very soon,” Jackson said during an unrelated news conference at City Hall. “We know that the second quarter is approaching quickly and we want to be sure that the plan that we put out will be as thoughtful as our parents anticipate.”

When a reporter pressed for specifics, asking, “This week?” Lightfoot simply said, “Soon.” Fall quarter ends Nov. 5.

The state has established some guidelines, but the final decision to reopen schools has been left up to individual districts.

* Chalkbeat Chicago interviewed Justin Lombardo, the Chicago Archdiocese’s “point person on reopening schools”

CB: The Chicago Teachers Union has said it wants to see a strict protocol for contact tracing if schools should reopen to students. The archdiocese did institute a contact tracing protocol. How does it work?

JL: We have a team made up of people that have experience in doing interviewing and investigative work, as well as two nurses. We also trace within our parishes because we believe it’s part of our responsibility as a large organization. It begins with a report coming in to our central team, which reacts by immediately contacting the principal to get more details. Is it a positive case? Is it an exposure to a positive case? Or is it a presumptive positive (a case when a patient tests positive by a public health laboratory, but results have not been confirmed by the CDC)? Each of those we triage, and we take care of the positive cases first. We immediately gather data about the individual, and we quarantine the cohort. We have a standard procedure for notifying the families of students that are in a quarantined cohort, about what to do and where to go. We, of course, maintain privacy, and we never identify the individual.

I would say the overwhelming numbers of positive cases we get in our schools come from familial contacts of transmissions or transmissions in group settings outside of the school. We have many cases where the family or the parents or older siblings went to a party where social distancing was not observed, where masking was not done. We’ve had situations where there are sport leagues for students that are not run by the archdiocese or by our schools, where the precautions may not have been taken as completely as they should have been.

And so we’re really comprehensive. And that’s led to really very, very good outcomes for us. So in all cases in Chicago, where we’ve had a case reported in one of our cohorts, there’s only been one situation where a second case was reported within the 14 days of the infection time. Now, we have 40,000-some students and 5,000 staff in our schools, and in the city of Chicago alone, we have 91 schools with a population of 19,000 students, plus another 2,700 staff. That’s pretty good.

CB: Are you able to share how many cases you have had across your schools, and how many times your students have had to quarantine as a result?

JL: I don’t have the exact number, but I can tell you that our positivity rate, which is a key rate, is less than 1%. That is a very, very fine showing.

* There are competing claims about the dangers involved. From The Atlantic

Texas reported 1,490 cases among students for the week ending on September 27, with 1,080,317 students estimated at school—a rate of about 0.14 percent. The staff rate was lower, about 0.10 percent.

These numbers are not zero, which for some people means the numbers are not good enough. But zero was never a realistic expectation. We know that children can get COVID-19, even if they do tend to have less serious cases. Even if there were no spread in schools, we’d see some cases, because students and teachers can contract the disease off campus. But the numbers are small—smaller than what many had forecasted.

Predictions about school openings hurting the broader community seem to have been overblown as well. In places such as Florida, preliminary data haven’t shown big community spikes as a result of school openings. Rates in Georgia have continued to decline over the past month. And although absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, I’ve read many stories about outbreaks at universities, and vanishingly few about outbreaks at the K–12 level.

One might argue, again, that any risk is too great, and that schools must be completely safe before local governments move to reopen them. But this approach ignores the enormous costs to children from closed schools. The spring interruption of schooling already resulted in learning losses; Alec MacGillis’s haunting piece in The New Yorker and ProPublica highlights the plight of one child unable to attend school in one location, but it’s a marker for more. The children affected by school closures are disproportionately low-income students of color. Schools are already unequal; the unequal closures make them more so. Virtual school is available, but attendance levels are not up to par. Pediatricians have linked remote schooling to toxic stress.

* But

A study of more than a half-million people in India who were exposed to the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 suggests that the virus’ continued spread is driven by only a small percentage of those who become infected.

Furthermore, children and young adults were found to be potentially much more important to transmitting the virus — especially within households — than previous studies have identified, according to a paper by researchers from the United States and India published Sept. 30 in the journal Science.

Researchers from the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI), Johns Hopkins University and the University of California, Berkeley, worked with public health officials in the southeast Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh to track the infection pathways and mortality rate of 575,071 individuals who were exposed to 84,965 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. It is the largest contact tracing study — which is the process of identifying people who came into contact with an infected person — conducted in the world for any disease. […]

The researchers found that the chances of a person with coronavirus, regardless of their age, passing it on to a close contact ranged from 2.6% in the community to 9% in the household. The researchers found that children and young adults — who made up one-third of COVID cases — were especially key to transmitting the virus in the studied populations.

“Kids are very efficient transmitters in this setting, which is something that hasn’t been firmly established in previous studies,” Laxminarayan said. “We found that reported cases and deaths have been more concentrated in younger cohorts than we expected based on observations in higher-income countries.”

Children and young adults were much more likely to contract coronavirus from people their own age, the study found. Across all age groups, people had a greater chance of catching the coronavirus from someone their own age. The overall probability of catching coronavirus ranged from 4.7% for low-risk contacts up to 10.7% for high-risk contacts.

* Related…

* Chicago teacher dies from coronavirus after trips to school, family claims

* CPS students petition to shorten the class day — and end homework — during remote learning, citing headaches, stress and too much screen time

- Posted by Rich Miller        

14 Comments »
  1. - NT - Wednesday, Oct 14, 20 @ 12:12 pm:

    New Trier reopened for hybrid learning on 10/5. It closed and went full remote on 10/12. Too many parties infected too many kids apparently. So back to the zoom.


  2. - thechampaignlife - Wednesday, Oct 14, 20 @ 12:14 pm:

    ===we have 40,000-some students and 5,000 staff in our schools===

    ===our positivity rate…is less than 1%===

    It does not sound like they are testing everyone, so potentially 450 positives? Granted, most of those are probably contracting the virus outside of school. In-school transmission is one of the biggest factors to in-person school. I have not seen much data about that risk, but it seems to be relatively low anecdotally.


  3. - Ok - Wednesday, Oct 14, 20 @ 12:14 pm:

    As Justin mentioned, the Chicago archdiocese has been beset by outbreaks from outside sports leagues.

    This has actually primarily been youth hockey leagues.

    Let them play* (*and then make their whole class stay home for two weeks)


  4. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Oct 14, 20 @ 12:19 pm:

    Re: the Alec MacGillis article

    In the surveys CPS did Black and Latina/o parents were far more likely than white parents to want remote learning and feel it was unsafe. It’s easy to mistake this for not wanting in-person learning, but I think the real fear is that the mayor and CPS will sacrifice Black and Latina/o children like they always do. Is there anyone not a CPS contractor or employee who could say with sincerety that they believe CPS would have the best health protocols and care measures in place to take care of students in Archer Heights, Austin, Humboldt Park, or Roseland?


  5. - thechampaignlife - Wednesday, Oct 14, 20 @ 12:19 pm:

    It would be great if frequent rapid testing of all in-person students were conducted. That can quickly identify outbreaks before they get out of hand, and serve as an early warning for the more vulnerable staff and family members.


  6. - OK Boomer - Wednesday, Oct 14, 20 @ 12:39 pm:

    @NT last night the New Trier Board of Ed approved a saliva screening protocol for increased mitigation. Maybe CPS should look into implementing a similar protocol, at least for high school and possibly middle school students. Surveillance screening is the ticket to driving down community spread and reducing overall infection rates.


  7. - OK Boomer - Wednesday, Oct 14, 20 @ 12:41 pm:

    @thechampainlife the protocol New Trier will use turns around same-day results so infectious Individuals are pulled out of circulation.


  8. - Pundent - Wednesday, Oct 14, 20 @ 12:45 pm:

    We should have transitioned to daily testing by now. Even at our current testing rates heading into the fall rates look like they’ll continue to rise due to the lag in obtaining results and ineffectiveness of contact tracing. At this point our best hope is to ride it out until the spring and hope for a vaccine.


  9. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Oct 14, 20 @ 1:03 pm:

    =It would be great if frequent rapid testing of all in-person students were conducted. =

    The vast majority of schools do not have the resources to do that. This would require a federal-level effort. And that isn’t happening. Not sure why, it would make it easier to get kids in school.

    I have really become a fan of the work they are doing at The Atlantic. But, I think they, and other, miss a key piece of data. The part that is being overlooked is data on school-based spread and not the number of kids the test positive. We immediately get kids and staff out of the building if they are symptomatic or if they meet any of the other criteria. We work with the health department on contact tracing. And we need to keep doing that without let up.

    Due to our mitigation factors school-based spread is not happening. I want to keep it that way too. But it isn’t happening, it is all outside of school.


  10. - JoanP - Wednesday, Oct 14, 20 @ 1:28 pm:

    =It would be great if frequent rapid testing of all in-person students were conducted. =

    Because that worked so well at the White House.


  11. - cermak_rd - Wednesday, Oct 14, 20 @ 1:36 pm:

    The student in that probublica article was not particularly a sympathetic character to me. He was disorganized and not particularly motivated.

    Would it be possible for school to simply be available for parents that are wanting their student to be there and continue to support at home learning for the children’s whose parents do not want them to be there. And maybe gate that option based on the child’s special ed needs or grades.


  12. - OK Boomer - Wednesday, Oct 14, 20 @ 1:49 pm:

    New Trier’s saliva screening mitigation protocol relies on an RT Lamp test. The cost is $11/test. The protocol has been employed in La Grange SD 102 since August. They have had no false positives and no members of their in-person learning community have tested PCR positive except in cases where the RT Lamp rest indicated the individual demonstrated suspicious indications of clinical significance. SD102 has caught people who were presymptomatic and assymptomatic. The district has remained otherwise Covid-free. An MD on the New Trier Board suggested last night that the microbiologist who adapted the protocol should be nominated for a Nobel. More schools need to look into this mitigation.


  13. - thisjustin - Wednesday, Oct 14, 20 @ 3:43 pm:

    CPS teachers should just stop pretending that they wish to teach; it’s shameful how they continue to reduce their workload while at full salaries and benefits from home (Lightfoot’s Giveaway), while police officers, who can’t work from home, and at risk every day, are vilified by the Mayor and CTU as thugs. Next they’ll say just pay us for not teaching at all.


  14. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Oct 14, 20 @ 3:44 pm:

    = More schools need to look into this mitigation.+

    Right after your donation check (to cover the cost) clears.


TrackBack URI

This is not Facebook, so uncivil comments, profanity of any kind, rumors and anonymous commenters will not be tolerated and will likely result in banishment.



* Democratic Illinois Supreme Court candidate says Madigan should resign, challenges opponent on releasing child molesters, claims hunting and fishing are her hobbies, says she wants "shootout" with opponent
* Mitigations announced for southern Illinois' Region 5
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Fundraiser list and a campaign update
* Question of the day
* A bit much
* 3,113 new cases, 22 additional deaths, 2,096 hospitalized, 5.4 percent positivity rate - Southern Illinois hits 3 days of 8+ percent positivity - DuPage/Kane at 2 days
* More broadband expansion money released
* Rate the new Kim Foxx TV ad
* Always scroll to the end
* Court rules that municipal offices can remain open on election day despite new state law
* "I’ve studied pandemics, and they all end... The question is: How long does it take to end? And how many people will die?"
* Southern Illinois on verge of mitigation as Pritzker heads to region
* Rep. Costa Howard running a new sort of Democratic campaign
* NYT takes deep dive into Timpone's operation
* Open thread
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition and some campaign updates
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Saturday campaign updates (Password updated)
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Saturday polling extra! (Password updated)
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Saturday's edition of Capitol Fax (Password updated)
* Yesterday's stories

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............


Loading


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0
WordPress




Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller