University of Amsterdam: Virtual Reality as a means to improve education . “The 4D Research Lab (4DRL) is going to use Virtual Reality (VR) technology to introduce students to archaeological sites, laboratories, museum displays and historical places that have limited access. The Virtual Past Places, Reinventing the Classroom (ViPP) project has received a grant of 165,000 euros for this purpose via the SURF incentive scheme. The Lab will also make use of the advantages that VR offers in the provision of learning materials.”
University of California: New publication helps youth evaluate post-high school ‘pathways’. “The ‘Pathways to Your Future’ curriculum invites high school-aged youth – and their families – to map their unique situations and passions before embarking on their own road. Whereas similar guides might convey advice on a one-way street, this free download outlines a “hands-on” experience – in school settings or out-of-school programs – to help young people steer toward their best post-high-school education, training and career options.”
BBC: Covid: Pupils to wear face masks in class to tackle Omicron. “Face masks are to be worn in secondary classrooms in England’s schools to reduce the spread of the Omicron variant, the government has announced. The temporary reintroduction of face coverings aims to address concerns about schools remaining open for face-to-face learning this coming term. Meanwhile, six school staff unions have issued a demand for urgent action to limit the spread of the virus.”
State of Vermont: Free Rapid Test Kits Available For Vermont Students In Grades K-12. “Governor Phil Scott today announced that parents and caregivers of Vermont’s K-12 children will be able to pick up one free rapid antigen test kit per student this week at sites around Vermont. The state is encouraging parents to use these kits to test kids before they return to school next week, but a test is not a requirement for returning to school.”
New York Times: She’s 17, Trying to Get Through School and a Pandemic. “During the spring semester, Genesis [Duran]’s juggling act would begin from the moment she opened her eyes each morning. A little after 7 a.m., when her mother left for work at a nearby Dominican restaurant, Genesis roused [her younger sister] Maia and asked her to splash some water on her face. Genesis made breakfast and logged Maia on for another day of kindergarten. Genesis then had less than an hour to prepare for first period math. The rest of the day would be spent toggling between her own assignments and monitoring Maia’s needs, which invariably won out.”
Newswise: New Research Shows Virtual School Can Harm Children’s Vision. “When COVID-19 first shut down classrooms and virtual schooling became the new norm, ophthalmologists predicted an increase in digital eye strain in children. New research from ophthalmologists at Wills Eye Hospital confirms that the increased screen time did lead to more eye strain in children, as well as a more troubling eye condition called convergence insufficiency, which can cause difficulty reading. The study is being presented at AAO 2021, the 125th annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.”
ABC News: School districts struggle to establish COVID-19 testing, frustrating parents. “Six months after President Joe Biden offered states $10 billion so schools could routinely test students and staff to prevent asymptomatic cases, the school year is being hindered by the virus. Some 925,000 children have become infected since school began this fall, according to data collected by the American Academy of Pediatrics, a staggering spike that has pushed many more kids into quarantine.”
Texas Tribune: At least 45 districts shut down in-person classes due to COVID-19 cases, affecting more than 40,000 students
Texas Tribune: At least 45 districts shut down in-person classes due to COVID-19 cases, affecting more than 40,000 students. “At least 45 small school districts across Texas have been forced to temporarily stop offering in-person classes as a result of COVID-19 cases in the first few weeks of the new school year, according to the Texas Education Agency. The shutdowns, which affected about 42,000 students as of Thursday, come as cases caused by the highly contagious delta variant have plagued administrators who hoped for a normal return to the school year.”
CNN: It’s the same pandemic, but now it’s drastically different for kids. “Kids are heading back into the classroom for yet another pandemic school year, but this time with the more contagious Delta variant getting more people sick. Navigating school safely will be trickier than ever.”
Politico: Sarasota becomes first Trump county to defy DeSantis on school masks. “By a 3-2 vote that came late Friday night, Sarasota’s board became the sixth in Florida to mandate masks and the first in a GOP-county to defy state laws blocking local Covid-19 requirements. Parents and local residents showed up in droves to protest the decision, telling the board they were ‘disgusted’ and ‘mad as heck’ over their ‘medical tyranny’ during a tense five-hour meeting where multiple people were kicked out for disruptions.”
NPR: Moms Describe Preparing For Another Pandemic School Year. “One year ago, August 2020, I got on the phone with some other moms. We were all staring down the back-to-school season in the middle of a pandemic. Our kids were reporting to school in their pajamas in front of a laptop. Well, somehow we all managed to navigate an academic year like no other – same for teachers, who we heard from on the program yesterday. Today we are going to check back with a couple of those moms, share some thoughts as we gear up once again for a school year that is not looking normal. Dominique Spencer, you first. You have two kids. You run a child care center in Washington, D.C. What grade are your kids now going into?” 8 minutes of audio with transcript.
WREG: Marion, Arkansas school superintendent says more than 830 now under quarantine. “More than 700 people in the Marion School District are quarantined, with 43 positive cases of COVID-19, the district’s superintendent told state leaders Wednesday. Superintendent Glen Fenter said 730 were quarantined as of the morning, and that number was rising. None were hospitalized, he said.” The quote does not match the headline because the district quarantined another 100 people overnight.
Lifehacker: How to Help Your Kids Transition Back into School. “Transitioning kids back into the classroom after a three-month summer hiatus is often a challenge. Even the transition back to school after a couple of weeks off for winter break can send some kids into a tailspin. And now, as schools across the country plan to reopen, many families are facing the Mother of All Transitions—getting kids back into the classroom after a literal year at home.”
MIT Technology Review: Kids are sick of Zoom too—so their teachers are getting creative. “A few times a week, Vincent Buyssens’s students in Mechelen, Belgium’s Thomas More University College get on Instagram while he’s lecturing about creative strategy. They swipe through stories, add posts to their profile, and get lost in rabbit holes. But they’re not being surreptitious about it; in fact, Buyssens requires those taking his college course to use the app. The more they scroll during his lecture, the better.”