The ongoing debate on the start of the next school year

Dolores

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With the announcement by President-elect Luis Abinader that Roberto Fulcar will be the next Education Minister, the focus is on when and how will the school year resume. Education Minister Antonio Peña Mirabal has set the start of the school year for 24 August 2020. This would be a combination of alternate days at school and online classes.



But the Dominican Association of Public School Teachers (ADP) says the conditions are not there for that plan to go forward.



Father Manuel Ruiz, who is the director of a Catholic vocational public-private school, Movearte, proposes that schools reopen in January 2021 for a school year through October-November. He proposes that the government take this as an opportunity to overhaul the education system. Ruiz says Dominican students have tested poorly with the traditional learning programs in place. He says better ways can be found...

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bob saunders

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We hae determined at least for us, online classes are not a worthwhile option. More than half our clients have no internet and some of our teachers don't either. Data packages aren't enough. Little kids that are just learning to read need face to face learning not online. The time it takes to instruct one child ensure you can only give lessons to a maximum of ten a day. For high school aged children online is fine, if the students are both motivated and disciplined ( sound like most teenagers to you)
 

NotLurking

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School should reopen, kids need the interactions with classmates and benefit from the teacher's guidance. Some kids get depressed when they don't socialize. There is plenty of scientific evidence that kids are in a low risk group for CV19 and have milder symptoms if infected.

Parents that are in high risk group can opt to keep children home and continue to home school with the school providing all of the student's work material. I doubt that public or even some private school can offer students the option of online classes. This would be the ideal solution but even if available many here in DR don't have permanent stable internet for such a task, and others don't do well in this environment.

Germany began reopening schools in May, though debate continues as to the role children may play in spreading the virus to vulnerable adults at home as well as to older teachers and school staff.

The study by the University Hospital in Dresden analysed blood samples from almost 1,500 children aged between 14 and 18 and 500 teachers from 13 schools in Dresden and the districts of Bautzen and Goerlitz in May and June.

The largest study conducted in Germany on school children and teachers included testing in schools where there were coronavirus outbreaks.

Of the almost 2,000 samples, only 12 had antibodies, said Reinhard Berner from the University Hospital of Dresden, adding the first results gave no evidence that school children play a role in spreading the virus particularly quickly
The exemplar is Denmark, where the first children began returning in mid-April, when the country had just under 200 new cases a day. As of June 8, Denmark had just 14 daily new cases. And while the reproduction rate of the virus increased after the country began reopening, it has since dropped.

The head of experimental virology at Copenhagen University’s Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Allan Randrup Thomsen, was initially hesitant about the move. But now he notes that, since reopening, there “hasn’t been any effect that we can see.”
Another analysis from Australia included nine students and nine adults, who were infected with the coronavirus and came into contact with more than 700 other students and more than 125 staff members. The researchers found that only two infections were known to be linked to these exposures.

In a commentary published in Pediatrics, two pediatric infectious disease experts concluded that while these studies are "far from definitive, the [research] provides early reassurance that school-based transmission could be a manageable problem."

However, as testing of children has increased, scientists are learning more. Just last week, a top health official in Victoria, Australia, cautioned that child-to-child transmission is "more apparent" than was previously understood, as more kids have started to be tested
Then we have this study that contradicts the findings in Germany and other European countries.
A large new study from South Korea offers an answer: Children younger than 10 transmit to others much less often than adults do, but the risk is not zero. And those between the ages of 10 and 19 can spread the virus at least as well as adults do.

The findings suggest that as schools reopen, communities will see clusters of infection take root that include children of all ages, several experts cautioned
 
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Africaida

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We hae determined at least for us, online classes are not a worthwhile option. More than half our clients have no internet and some of our teachers don't either. Data packages aren't enough. Little kids that are just learning to read need face to face learning not online. The time it takes to instruct one child ensure you can only give lessons to a maximum of ten a day. For high school aged children online is fine, if the students are both motivated and disciplined ( sound like most teenagers to you)

I have become a teacher/assistant teacher these past few months. It s painful, not my calling I guess (and I am somehow lucky since I am able help my kids in any subject).
My kids dearly miss the social interactions they had in school as well.
 

josh2203

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School should reopen, kids need the interactions with classmates and benefit from the teacher's guidance. Some kids get depressed when they don't socialize. There is plenty of scientific evidence that kids are in a low risk group for CV19 and have milder symptoms if infected.

That is all true and I'm aware of the studies you linked as well but the problem here is that should anything go wrong, you cannot expect proper treatment, as far as I have seen/understood... The studies are also from 1st world countries, where things work really differently in the case something should go wrong...As with many things in the DR, everything is fine as long as you're healthy, but if you get sick, things can get ugly...

Also, while you are right that kids are low-risk group and mostly have milder symptoms, there have been nasty cases as well, so it's never anything absolute...
 
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NotLurking

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That is all true and I'm aware of the studies you linked as well but the problem here is that should anything go wrong, you cannot expect proper treatment, as far as I have seen/understood... The studies are also from 1st world countries, where things work really differently in the case something should go wrong...As with many things in the DR, everything is fine as long as you're healthy, but if you get sick, things can get ugly...

Also, while you are right that kids are low-risk group and mostly have milder symptoms, there have been nasty cases as well, so it's never anything absolute...
Although I might understand you apprehension it really isn't justified under our current understanding of CV19 and the science we have doesn't support your premise. In matters of health we should defer to science and leave feelings aside. We must not subject our kids to our preconceived notions of safety and our taboos lest we ruin their sanity and possibly their lives. Kids need to be kids. We can not relinquish our kids need to interact, play and go to school in lieu of keeping them safe, like keeping them in a glass box, particularly when all scientific data indicate that they'll be just fine.

The graph below is from the US CDC listing all US CV19 cases by age. The blue line represents all deaths for ages 0-24. Note that the blue line is near ZERO in all instances.
11.png



In the following graph deaths from South Korea, Spain, China and Italy are listed. In ages 0-19 all deaths are at ZERO percent except China that has 0.2% in ages of 10-19.
22.png


I think that if you don't feel comfortable here in DR with the quality of heath services offered, may I suggest you relocate to another part of the world more suited to your level of comfort and requirement of the health care system, preferably a first world country.
 

tee

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I am concerned for my eldest daughter, who is 17, as she is entering her final year. She has been at school here since she was 3 years old and I just hope that her final year, the most important of all her school life could be affected. I am not so concerned for my 10 year old daughter. as she has many years ahead of her. Home schooling was OK, but they do not concentrate or learn as much as they would in a group with their tutor. Of course health is the most important thing and I would never put my kids at risk, so I am torn between supporting them going back, if it was to happen, in August and keeping them home. When you have a child that is in their last year it is very tough to make that decision knowing her final grades could affect her future so much.
 
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Cdn_Gringo

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Getting sick with CV19 isn't just about maybe dying. It can be a very debilitating disease with effects that can persist for a long time. I think many are defining this disease too narrowly. This I suspect brings forward the ridicule from those who don't appreciate the need for some to isolate themselves so they do not get sick. Full hospitals makes the prospect of getting sick even more terrifying.
 

josh2203

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Although I might understand you apprehension it really isn't justified under our current understanding of CV19 and the science we have doesn't support your premise. In matters of health we should defer to science and leave feelings aside. We must not subject our kids to our preconceived notions of safety and our taboos lest we ruin their sanity and possibly their lives. Kids need to be kids. We can not relinquish our kids need to interact, play and go to school in lieu of keeping them safe, like keeping them in a glass box, particularly when all scientific data indicate that they'll be just fine.


I think that if you don't feel comfortable here in DR with the quality of heath services offered, may I suggest you relocate to another part of the world more suited to your level of comfort and requirement of the health care system, preferably a first world country.

Firstly, I don't really understand what is the point of your post being sort of offensive tone? Secondly, this is, of course, assuming, which I don't like to do in general,, but just based on your writing, I might be wrong, but I'd like to say that you don't have kids?

Feel free to post as many sources of science and statistics as you wish, but I think it's only very normal to have very strong feelings involved with your own kids... You're asking above to leave feelings aside... Yes, kids certainly need to be kids, that is the best possible thing a parent can offer, but so is a healthy and safe life as well... Our kids are not numbers nor statistics nor reports and there needs to be a balance on everything... The risks might be low, but the risk is there... In the DR and outside of it, quite a few parents are pondering the exact same thing at the moment, whether it's the right thing to open schools or not, and if yes or no, what kind of measures need to be taken, whether parents are fine or are not fine sending the kids to school etc. etc.Not sure what "glass box" has to do with a global pandemic with hundreds of passed away victims already... Why parents in quite a few countries are then concerned if there is nothing to be worried about??

For the health services provided here, if you'd read my past posts, you would know by now that I have spoken very fondly of many professionals in the mentioned industry, but I'd like to ask you, are you really saying that the public and private health care providing are in their best shape due to the pandemic at the moment? If the answer is yes, we must be following news from different countries...
 
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josh2203

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Getting sick with CV19 isn't just about maybe dying. It can be a very debilitating disease with effects that can persist for a long time. I think many are defining this disease too narrowly. This I suspect brings forward the ridicule from those who don't appreciate the need for some to isolate themselves so they do not get sick. Full hospitals makes the prospect of getting sick even more terrifying.

That is absolutely correct. There have been scientific results posted already from various countries that it's really not just "flu" but the virus does in fact affect the whole body and various organs, and in the long term...
 
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josh2203

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I am concerned for my eldest daughter, who is 17, as she is entering her final year. She has been at school here since she was 3 years old and I just hope that her final year, the most important of all her school life could be affected. I am not so concerned for my 10 year old daughter. as she has many years ahead of her. Home schooling was OK, but they do not concentrate or learn as much as they would in a group with their tutor. Of course health is the most important thing and I would never put my kids at risk, so I am torn between supporting them going back, if it was to happen, in August and keeping them home. When you have a child that is in their last year it is very tough to make that decision knowing her final grades could affect her future so much.

Our eldest would start his 2nd grade in next month, we're currently simply checking how things proceed. The school, which is thankfully very well managed, has already published guidelines and rules for many different scenarios, so we definitely feel good about that, but as he already had to study those 3 months in the spring remotely, going to school physically would be absolutely ideal. He did really well studying remotely, but that's of course not how your first grades of school should be at all...
 
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bob saunders

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Not DR related but worth listening to. <iframe width="853" height="480" src="
" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
 
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RDKNIGHT

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School will only be done by video this year...too dangerous for the teachers and kids.. From my inside source
 
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Cdn_Gringo

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With the disease out of control I do not know any parents who are planning to send their kids back to school and running the risk of them bringing the disease right back home. Sick parents and limited treatment options makes for more orphans.
 
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bob saunders

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With the disease out of control I do not know any parents who are planning to send their kids back to school and running the risk of them bringing the disease right back home. Sick parents and limited treatment options makes for more orphans.
My brother has both his children going to a private Christian academy in Chilliwack BC. The protocol they have in place is very strict and enforced. They have a school nurse and availability of doctors. So far no positive cases. My sister in law is running a Salvation Army Church camp for the,next two weeks. She has the,maximum allowed already enrolled. There attitude is you need to take as many precautions as possible but you cant stop living.
 

josh2203

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School will only be done by video this year...too dangerous for the teachers and kids.. From my inside source

To be honest, I hope this is the case. The new ministry of education is supposed to say something official next week, if I have understood correctly... What I'm principally concerned about is the direction of the curve lately... If there will be new cases like this daily, the DR will soon have 100k infected, and compared to the population, that would bring the severity of the situation to same what US already has... I sincerely hope that won't be the case...
 

josh2203

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4 million kids watching school on WhatsApp with a claro paquetico at 56Kbps

That is the problem in inequality... Yes, you are right, at least for the public schools and I'd imagine at least for part of private schools... That is an aspect the government should have thought a long time ago... It was clearly said in the news that at least the public part of the system is no way prepared to have anything virtual/remote, so I think someone even suggested that the school year would start in January 2021... Some education provided in the TV or radio was also mentioned, but no idea how would that ever work... It will be interesting to see how things proceed...
 

Auryn

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Basically three scenarios have been proposed for us in my province in Canada; completely online, completely in school, or a blend.
There was debate over limiting class sizes to 15 students, but facility and staffing limitations for supervision ended that.
As of today, we are back in classrooms for the fall with additional safety measures- none of which are clear. The discussion is that the main reason for opening schools is economic. The work force must be available and with schools closed, there is not sufficient childcare and correspondingly not an adequate work force.
Even in Canada, middle class households couldn’t support online learning 100%. Multiple children did not equal multiple devices, and with parents working from home, bandwidth went quickly. Parents told me that their internet speed slowed down to near dial-up at times.
Classrooms considered 1-1 (one device for each student) had to send devices home, and even the best private schools in the DR are not 1-1. Sure those families have the means to purchase additional devices for their kids, but do the service providers have the resources to maintain internet?
Many Dominican families rely on prepaid internet, or don’t have it at all in their homes.
If the logistics of online learning are difficult for us here in Canada, there would have to be massive and robust financial, technological, and logistical investments for it to be accesible and successful there.
Much was needed on the Dominican education front prior to Covid. Now? Sadly I do not see that investment as feasible. But I do hope for the best.
 
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Cdn_Gringo

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Just like all of the other aspects of this pandemic that affect the DR. It seems very little planning has gone into the preparaion and response
 
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