Many Schools Are Using a Hybrid Learning Model This Year; Here’s What Parents Should Know

Elva Mankin

Depending on what part of the US you live in, going back to school in the traditional sense may be entirely off the table. And regardless of how old your children are, navigating these uncertain times have proven to be a hellish nightmare we wish we could wake up from challenging to say the least. While some families are setting up “pandemic pods” – where a small group of students of similar ages and abilities gathers at one family’s home to learn from a teacher – others are working with their local districts using a hybrid learning model.

Naturally, getting a full understanding of various learning setups can be hard for those of us who don’t specifically have a background in education. In an effort to keep parents informed about the options their kids may have, we tapped Vanessa Vakharia, the founder and director of The Math Guru and

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Students among first to return offer lessons for reopening schools

Elva Mankin

NASHVILLE – Abigail Alexander shuffled through a stack of papers, trying to find instructions for logging in to her school-issued laptop. 

The 10-year-old chatted with her best friend, a fellow fifth grader, about who is in their classes this year at Head Middle Magnet Prep and what period they have a specific teacher.

Their conversation Tuesday sounded like a typical one between excited, anxious students on the first day at a new school – except this year is like no other.

Abigail was seated in the dining room of her North Nashville home while her two younger foster siblings played around the table. Her friend was on FaceTime, the phone propped up against the side of Abigail’s laptop.

The girls are among more than 86,000 Nashville students who started the school year virtually while their schools remained closed during the the coronavirus outbreak.

Two states away in Indiana, where school

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Biden won’t go to Milwaukee for convention; Chicago schools to start online; Florida surpasses 500,000 cases

Elva Mankin

Another pharmaceutical giant announced a vaccine deal with the U.S. on Wednesday while Joe Biden and the rest of the Democratic celebs bid adieu to Milwaukee’s political convention before the coronation train ever rolled into town.

Johnson & Johnson said it has a $1 billion agreement to supply 100 million doses of its vaccine candidate to the U.S. government. Also Wednesday, Moderna said it expects to fully enroll 30,000 people for a trial of its vaccine candidate next month. And a day earlier, Novavax released promising results of an early trial. 

Milwaukee’s 2020 Democratic National Convention suffers the same fate as Charlotte, where plans for a full-blown GOP convention have been whittled down to a few small gatherings later this month.

While the nation waits for a vaccine that could fully reopen schools and businesses, the University of Connecticut became the first top-level college program to cancel its football season.

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Online education was a mess in the spring. As COVID-19 prompts schools to stay virtual, will it get better this fall?

Elva Mankin

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced Chicago Public Schools to make a hurried switch to remote instruction earlier this year, Lidia Muro said it didn’t work out so well for her 5-year-old stepson Elijah, then a kindergartner at Marvin Camras Elementary.

Some of the schoolwork he was given required logins and passwords his parents didn’t receive, she said. Communication with his teacher was lacking. And while it took Elijah a single day to finish math lessons that were supposed to stretch over months, he fell behind in reading.

“The program was mostly games, I think,” Muro said. “Educational games are good, but (children) can only do games for so long.”

Contrast that with the experience of Wauconda High School junior-to-be Tori Mraz. She found her school’s online classes to be rigorous but flexible, and while a lack of face-to-face instruction created challenges, she gave virtual education high marks.

“I did really

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Trump suggests delaying election; Miami schools defy Gov. DeSantis, go online-only; FDA sets at-home test rules

Elva Mankin

President Trump suggested delaying the November election Thursday, saying reliance on mail-in voting due to the pandemic would be “inaccurate and fraudulent.”

The Commerce Department issued a record-breaking report of the U.S. economy, announcing that the gross domestic product contracted at a staggering seasonally adjusted annual rate of 32.9% in the April-June period. A surge in virus infections and deaths that has slowed business reopenings in many states could signal more bad news ahead.

In Florida, reeling from rising daily death reports, the state’s largest school district announced that it will begin the school year virtually on Aug. 31. This despite a push by Gov. Ron DeSantis to have school districts provide an in-classroom options.

And in Washington, D.C., Democratic leaders and Trump administration officials said they were far apart on a $1 trillion stimulus package. Without it, there won’t be another round of $1,200 stimulus checks or another cash

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Open schools for younger kids, top pediatrician says

Elva Mankin

WASHINGTON — Younger children pose a smaller risk of catching and transmitting the coronavirus, a top pediatrician told Congress on Thursday, providing a scientific argument for why elementary schools could potentially open in parts of the country next month.

“School systems may consider prioritizing the return of younger children and taking additional measures to ensure physical distancing and the wearing of face coverings among older children,” Dr. Sean O’Leary told the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education on Thursday morning. 

Kindergarten teacher Holly Rupprecht carries plexiglass panels to her room at Zion Lutheran School in Bethalto, Ill., on Monday. (Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)
Kindergarten teacher Holly Rupprecht carries plexiglass panels to her room at Zion Lutheran School in Bethalto, Ill., on Monday. (Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

The hearing was titled “Underfunded & Unprepared,” a sign of how House Democrats, who control the chamber’s agenda, view the matter. 

O’Leary, a vice chair for infectious disease at the American Academy of Pediatrics, also cited a South Korean

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Schools Can’t Reopen Safely Without A Lot More Money. Congress Is Running Out Of Time.

Elva Mankin

WASHINGTON ― In a matter of weeks, millions of children will head back to school in the middle of a pandemic, leaving millions more parents filled with anxiety about risking their child’s health ― not to mention school staff ― to get an education.

Public schools cannot safely reopen without a massive infusion of emergency funding from Congress, which is already dangerously late to this. Think of all the things a single school needs: Hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes for classrooms. No-touch thermometers. Regular deep cleanings, which means hiring more custodial staff. Ensuring that every school has at least one full-time nurse (25% of schools have no nurse at all). Someone on every school bus to screen kids’ temperatures before boarding. Gloves and masks for staff. Masks for students who don’t bring one from home. Resuming before- and after-school child care programs with new cleaning protocols.

That doesn’t even factor

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Fall 2020 Reopening Plans At The Top 100 U.S. Business Schools

Elva Mankin

They’ll be following all the rules this fall at the University of Michigan: masks, social distancing, smaller class sizes, frequent hand and surface washing, and more — much more. They’ll also be pioneering new rules for a new reality, particularly in the realm of remote instruction, as befits one of the country’s leading centers of social and cultural innovation. Put it all together and Scott DeRue, dean of the Ross School of Business, expects a memorable term.

“As with every year, I’m looking forward to welcoming students back to campus safely for a very successful fall term,” DeRue says. “Of course, I also recognize the profound difficulties that many of our students face in this moment, and that much uncertainty remains for all of us. We will get through this, and we will do it together.”

Five months after it shut down business school campuses and curtailed spring instruction and … Read More

Classes Will Be Online Until 2021, Prince George’s Schools Say

Elva Mankin

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, MD — Online classes will be the new norm in Prince George’s County. The school system said Wednesday that distance learning will continue until at least Jan. 29. Classes will start on Aug. 31.

The announcement comes a day after the state teachers’ union and PTA said they prefer to start the fall semester with virtual learning. Prince George’s County is the second in Maryland to commit to starting the school year online. Montgomery County was the first.

Prince George’s County schools have been closed since the state superintendent, Karen Salmon, shut down all Maryland public schools in March. The school system will remain closed until Salmon and Hogan indicate otherwise.

Prince George’s County continues to have the most coronavirus cases in the state, surpassing 20,000 infections on Wednesday. Nearly 700 county residents have died from the virus

“Prince George’s County Public Schools and our county is

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Connecticut preparing for all schools to open, but state planning for online education if COVID-19 surges. Final decision will be made in a month, Gov. Lamont says.

Elva Mankin

Connecticut is preparing for three different scenarios for the opening of schools and a final decision on how education will look will be made in a month, Gov. Ned Lamont said Monday.

Educators and the state are planning for all learning to take place in schools, but that could be modified to a mix of online and in-class learning or, if there is a coronavirus surge, all education will shift to at-home learning.

“Things change,‘’ Gov. Lamont said at his afternoon COVID-19 briefing, noting that San Diego and Los Angeles decided Monday to shift to an online learning model. “We still have very low metrics compared to San Diego and Los Angeles and most of these other states.”

How schools look “is going to be subject to where we are a month from now,‘’ Lamont said.

Fran Rabinowitz, executive director of the Connecticut Assoociation of Public School Superintendents, said that

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