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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Colleges and K-12 schools adapt schedules and requirements as COVID cases rise

Duke University is extending its plan for remote classes for another week due to the “incredibly high” positive case count among faculty and students, the school announced on Friday.

The classes announced earlier by the school will be remote till January 10, but the classes will now be remote till January 18. This policy applies to undergraduate, graduate and professional school classes, the school said.

Michigan State University said classes would begin remotely on January 10 and would be away for three weeks, according to an announcement Friday. Residence halls will still be open for students who wish to return to campus.

“I realize that students like to be in person, and so do I,” said university president Samuel Stanley, Jr. in his letter to the students. “But it is important that we do this in a safe way. Starting the semester remotely and de-densifying campuses in the coming weeks may be one solution to slowing the spread of the virus.”

Michigan State also said that a decision would be made in the coming days on whether booster shots would be needed, with vaccination against COVID-19 already required.

More than 30 colleges and universities are now either running online classes or pushing back the start of the semester altogether, including Columbia University, Princeton University, Harvard University and Yale University.

The New York State University System Needs a Booster

Two state school systems in New York, the State University of New York (SUNY) and the City University of New York (CUNY), now require students to receive a COVID-19 booster and faculty must be vaccinated by January 15, Governor Cathy Hochul made the announcement on Friday.

While students were required to be fully vaccinated before this order, faculty and staff in these school systems were not required by the state.

“That’s how we’re going to make sure these complexes stay open,” Hochul told reporters. “As I’ve always said, we’re going to protect the health of the people of New York, but also the health of the economy.”

There are 64 SUNY campuses and 25 CUNY campuses in the state.

K-12 schools change requirements

Miami-Dade County Public Schools became one of the first school districts in the state of Florida to change its COVID-19 policy due to the explosion of the Omicron version.

The school system will now require all adults to enter their buildings and buses when they return to school next week after the holiday break. Students are “strongly encouraged” to wear masks.

The changes were needed because Miami-Dade County, home of the nation’s fourth-largest school district, currently has a 25% positivity rate, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said during a media briefing on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Broward County Schools, the nation’s sixth-largest school district, will require visitors to schools to wear masks.

In a 5-3 vote during an emergency school board meeting on Friday afternoon, board members decided against requiring teachers and students to wear masks.

Palm Beach County also announced that it is “restoring the face covering requirement for all employees, vendors, and visitors, Tuesday, Jan. 4, while indoors.”

The district is strongly encouraging students to wear masks upon return, but “considers this decision solely with the parent or guardian under Florida law.”

Palm Beach County joined neighboring Miami-Dade in announcing a requirement for masks for teachers and other adults earlier in the week, while masks for students were “strongly encouraged.”

All three school districts saw infection positivity rates above 20% in their communities.

Massachusetts schools open

Public schools across Massachusetts will remain open on Monday despite a request by the Massachusetts Teachers Association to close them for COVID-19 testing and data analysis.

“The commissioner is not going to close the schools on Monday, and asks teachers to be patient as we work to get tests in their hands this weekend. It is disappointing that the MTA is once again in schools. “What we know is the extreme loss of our children,” Colleen Quinn, a spokeswoman for the Executive Office for Education, said in a statement Friday.

Asked about flexibility when it comes to individual learning, Governor Charlie Baker said Thursday, “Kids need to be in school.”

“We also have the largest test and stay program in the country and we have saved 350,000 school days so far this year as a result of that program. There is a lot of equipment and capabilities available to keep children and adults safe at school, And we must do everything in our power to make sure the kids stay in school,” he said.

CNN’s Taylor Romain, John Cowells, Leyla Santiago, Alta Spell, Steve Contorno and Travis Nichols contributed to this report.


World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
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