COVID-19

Chronic Absenteeism Has Gone Up Since the Pandemic

A national group that seeks to curb chronic absenteeism is sounding an alarm after finding that the number of chronically absent students continued to surge even as pandemic closings abated. The organization, Attendance Works, believes that the number of students missing at least 18 days of school a year doubled to 16 million in 2021-22 from 8 million students before the pandemic. If correct, this means that one out of every three public school children…

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As School Gets Back to Normal, It’s Both Better and Worse

“Things are better this year, right?” I am asked again and again. The short answer, from this high school administrator, is yes and no, depending on which aspect we choose to focus on. On the surface, things are mostly back to normal. We’re not in masks or tracking COVID cases or on a hybrid learning schedule. We’re having assemblies, sporting events, band concerts, and school dances. Hallway shenanigans are back. We had a senior prank…

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COVID Precautions for the Holidays

At this stage in the long slog of the pandemic, many of us are forgoing masks in places we previously wore them and getting together indoors when we had formerly avoided it. But the holidays throw new variables at everyone’s risk calculus. People trek across the country to see each other. Families crowd around dinner tables, with older, more vulnerable people sitting beside their younger relatives. As we enter our third pandemic holidays, experts are…

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What School Nurses Are Saying About Back to School

Back to school brings bandages, bumps and bruises, but it also brings meeting students’ needs for sensory challenges, chronic conditions such as diabetes and food allergies, emotional needs such as anxiety and depression, and battling infectious diseases — including COVID. What should families know for the 2022-2023 school year? These school nurses will tell you themselves. School nurses need up-to-date information on a student’s needs — including medical conditions, changes in the home, and other…

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New COVID Protocols in MA as Students Begin School

The first day of school for thousands of students in Massachusetts has already come and gone as school districts across the state prepare for another academic year to get underway while co-existing with COVID-19. As children in Worcester, Lawrence, Fitchburg, and several other districts headed back to the classroom Monday, there are a number of changes in COVID-19 protocols in schools that parents may want to take note of. There is no longer a statewide…

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COVID-19 Learning Update: Fall 2022

What do we know about how kids are catching up at school as the pandemic drags on? The good news, according to the latest achievement data, is that learning resumed at a more typical pace during the 2021-22 school year that just ended. Despite the Delta and Omicron waves that sent many students and teachers into quarantine and disrupted school, children’s math and reading abilities generally improved as much as they had in years before…

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How Did the Pandemic Disrupt Student Learning?

How did the pandemic disrupt learning for America’s more than 50 million K-12 students? For two years, that question has felt immeasurable, like a phantom, though few educators doubted the shadow it cast over children who spent months struggling to learn online. Now, as a third pandemic school year draws to a close, new research offers the clearest accounting yet of the crisis’s academic toll — as well as reason to hope that schools can…

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COVID Vaccines for Kids Under 5 Now Becoming Available

Parents of children under 5 could be able to get their youngest family members vaccinated as soon as next week after the Food and Drug Administration authorized the vaccines by Modern and Pfizer on Friday. COVID vaccines for kids under 5 are slowly rolling out around the US as of June 21, 2022. Children under 5 are the last age group to become eligible for COVID vaccines. While only 3% of U.S. COVID cases were…

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5 Ways to Stop Summer Colds in their Tracks

Perhaps the only respite pandemic closures brought to to families was freedom from the constant misery of summer colds, complete with all the dripping noses, sneezes, and coughs. And statistics suggest we weren’t the only ones who had fewer colds last year: with daycares and in-person schools closed and widespread use of masks and hand sanitizer in most communities, cases of many seasonal respiratory infections went down, and flu cases dropped off a cliff. That…

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Teach For America Incoming Class Hits a 15-Year Low

Facing a sharp drop in applications, Teach For America is expecting its smallest crop of first-year teachers in at least 15 years, new data from the organization shows. The organization expects to place just under 2,000 teachers in schools across the country this coming fall. That’s just two-thirds of the number of first-year teachers Teach for America placed in schools in fall 2019, and just one-third of the number it sent into the field at…

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