High school will be two mornings per week here in Maskachusetts

Friends have a son who had planned to head into Lincoln-Sudbury High School for 9th grade. The superintendent/principal (remarkably, the same person does both jobs in this one-school school system), sent an email to parents:

As you may recall from earlier communications, we are required to develop three learning plans for the opening of school: 100% all remote, hybrid in-person and remote, and 100% in-person. We are required to submit the learning plans to the state by July 31st after approval by the L-S School Committee. The state is also requesting that we indicate which plan we anticipate utilizing when we reopen school this fall. The School Committee is scheduled to take its vote at its meeting scheduled for July 28.

As stated in the preamble for the initial draft for fall opening it is my recommendation that we reopen school with a hybrid of in-person and remote learning and not 100% in-person. This recommendation is based on the challenge of ensuring a safe environment with 100% students in school all at one time and the compromise to delivery of instruction. Maintaining 3’ separation would significantly compromise delivery of instruction in all science classes. Maintaining 6’ separation significantly compromises delivery of instruction in all classes. And, finally, maintaining a strict protocol of social distancing and disinfection during lunch periods, mask breaks and travel through the school between classes is not feasible with 100% in-person.

[Why a limit based on “disinfection” if masks are the answer (the link below says “All staff and students wearing masks”) and if “science” now tells us that people are getting coronaplague from aerosols, not from funky surfaces?]

The “hybrid plan” recommended by Bella Wong (principal/superintendent) features two mornings per week of in-person instruction:

On Monday, the students tracked into “Cohort A” will attend school from 8:25 am to noon on Mondays and from 8:25-11:05 on Thursdays.

I asked the father of the 14-year-old boy who is headed into this arrangement why the teenage boys sitting at home wouldn’t play shooter games during all of the time that they should supposedly be in “remote learning” or “independent activity”. He responded “One of them was doing that already, according to [the son]”.

Will we go back to the Victorian era when families of even slightly above-average means hire private tutors to come to the house?

Also, won’t this heavily favor students who happen to live in super-sized McMansions? They can have a dedicated classroom, not just a desk in a cluttered “room room”.

(Note that teachers will presumably have to clock in four mornings per week in order to collect a full-time paycheck.)


9 thoughts on “High school will be two mornings per week here in Maskachusetts

  1. I’m basically speechless at this point. I’ve read all the school and transportation guidelines and a good deal more, as you know. The rules and plans are so intricate, overwrought and a half dozen more adjectives that I just feel sorry for the kids, the parents, and even for the teachers and administrators, some of whom must surely loathe this situation but can’t or won’t speak out about it.

    It’s like trying to ride a unicycle while juggling teflon-coated pool balls on the dark side of the Moon.

    What is the epidemiological justification for doing all of this to millions of people?


    • Alex: I hope that you’ll agree with me that even zero teachers exposed to Covid-19 is one teacher too many! The only question is how it can possibly be safe for teachers to show up 4 mornings per week (since science proves that it is unsafe for them to show up for 5 six-hour days per week).

    • @Philg: Sqrt(-1) to that. I haven’t seen anything this absurd since Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr’s drunk driving test.

    • The reason has nothing to do with epidemiology. My alternative hypothesis is this has to do with the complicated mental model administrators everywhere have accepted for reality. The rules they devise are logically consistent even if resting on a false premise. We see the same thing happen more broadly in medicine (even before COVID-19).

      Separately, most administrators are incentivized to manage, not lead their organizations. Hence the disinterest in applying common sense and disincentives for risk-taking. This gets worse when administrators end up making decisions by committee.

      Given we’ve adopted exit criteria based on driving infected cases down to next to 0, we have painted ourselves in the proverbial corner. The politics of an election year with dubious candidates vying for the presidency does not help either.

  2. Expect to see a lot of this, the 2 mornings in meatworld is only to justify the existence of the local school system. If they went full online the kids could go to any online school, anywhere in the world, at any price. Free(depends on state laws) online high schools already exist.
    The education industrial complex is going to get knocked off their high horse soon.

    • GB: How can you say that the public school teachers and administrators will “get knocked off their high horse”? They’ve now won the same hero status as “first responders” for daring to go into a room full of 7-year-olds that the European scientists say are biologically incapable of being infected with coronavirus. They’re getting paid 100 percent for working either a few hours per week (“full remote”) or four mornings per week. I predict things will go in the opposite direction. Retirement with full pension at age 40, for example, for hero teachers. It isn’t reasonable to expose teachers older than 40 to the risk of Covid-19.

  3. My prediction is enrollment will fall, no enrollment no jobs. That has always been the one thing the teachers unions couldn’t cover for. But you have a point they often get everything, and it is an election year, so yeah maybe they will all get retirement, but with full pay to 65, cause fairness.

  4. 30 years ago, there wasn’t much reason to attend class by highschool except for some science classes, maybe a public speaking class. Music & art classes were already being defunded out of existence.

  5. End universal compulsory education. It is a Prussian innovation that perpetuates white privilege.

    Imagine if Trump issued an Emancipation Proclamation of families, returning control of children’s lives to their parents. Think of all the out-of-work white social workers no longer able to take away black babies from the black families that birthed them. Compulsory education is predicated on black bodies lacking agency over their own issue.

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