Tag Archives: schools

Community transmission rate key to K-12 school reopening

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

school busAs school leaders and parents grapple with questions about school reopening this fall, a key measure to consider is the community transmission rate of COVID-19, say two educators and an infectious disease specialist.

When states and cities are reporting that more than 5% of COVID-19 tests are positive, the transmission rate is high enough that schools could become hot spots for community outbreaks, they said. Continue reading

NEA president to join webcast on re-opening schools

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Lily Eskelsen García

Lily Eskelsen García

Lily Eskelsen García, president of the  National Education Association, will join AHCJ’s webcast, “Reporting on school reopenings in the time of COVID-19,” scheduled for Thursday.

She will join Enriqueta Bond, Ph.D., chair of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine advisory committee on Reopening K-12 Schools in the Time of COVID-19; and Tina Q. Tan, M.D., professor of pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases attending physician at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. The webcast will be moderated by Bara Vaida, AHCJ’s core topic leader on infectious diseases. Continue reading

AHCJ webcast to explore how schools might safely reopen this fall

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Photo: Phil Roeder via Flickr

America’s 13,000 school systems have been under tremendous pressure to reopen in-person classes this fall but are struggling with how to do it safely and handle the increased costs.

The CDC on July 23 launched a webpage highlighting what it described as science-based resources and tools to guide school administrators, childcare providers, teachers and parents in resuming operations. Some of the content, however, has been criticized by experts who advocate a more cautious approach. Continue reading

In writing about whether schools will open for in-person classes, check case counts in kids

Cheryl Clark

About Cheryl Clark

Cheryl Clark (@CherClarHealth) is AHCJ's core topic leader for patient safety, a MedPage Today contributor and inewsource.org investigative journalist. For most of 27 years, she covered medicine and science for the San Diego Union-Tribune. After taking a buyout in 2008, she became senior quality editor for HealthLeaders Media.

Photo: BES Photos via Flickr

As you write about the continuing back and forth over the how and when — and if — it will be safe to reopen schools for on-site classes next month, journalists might ask these questions:

  • What do case counts in children and teens look like in your area?
  • Are they growing every day?
  • If so, how fast?
  • Are the children symptomatic?
  • And are their teachers, administrators, family members and friends getting sick?

In California, for example, case counts among those 17 and younger have been climbing, from 1.3% of the state’s case counts on April 7 (222) to 3.4% on May 7 (2,181) to 8.3% as of Saturday (July 11), (26,652). Continue reading

School lunches, obesity and causality

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Miller-McCune magazine’s Washington correspondent Emily Badger explains how a study found that the National School Lunch program is linked to youth obesity.

ozPhoto by bookgrl via Flickr

Badger takes great pains to put that finding into context, and doesn’t put forth the key causal relationship until the tenth paragraph. In the interim, she talks about the correlation between weight and school lunches, and about the methods the researchers used to tease out causation – namely, the kids’ birth weights and the type of meals they likely received at home. Only then does she deliver the kicker.

Controlling for those two factors, they found that children who participate in the school lunch program are more likely to become obese than those who don’t. In a surprising twist, though, the federally subsidized School Breakfast Program has the opposite effect. (And children who eat both school breakfast and lunch are less heavy than those who participate in neither program.)

That said, and with the caveats already out of the way before the key paragraph, Badger then explores the backwards incentives of the a la carte ice cream sandwich and why a school benefits financially from selling piecemeal junk food.

Miller McCune magazine is an effort of the nonprofit Miller-McCune Center and is dedicated to long-form, in-depth reporting on academic research.

Related

Covering Obesity: A Guide for Reporters

Covering ObesityThe prospect of covering such a broad, engaging and important topic as obesity can be overwhelming. This guide, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is designed to help journalists cover a wide range of stories, whether writing on deadline or researching a multipart series. It offers assistance on calculating body mass index, finding obesity statistics on the state level, gauging the quality of school district wellness policies, finding innovative school nutrition policies and much more.

Disabled student abuse goes unpunished in Nev.

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Darcy Spears, a reporter at KTNV-Las Vegas, has discovered a number of disturbing stories of teachers abusing special needs students in area schools; in some cases the districts worked to keep the details of the abuse from parents and punished offending teachers lightly, if at all. According to KTNV, there are dozens such violations reported every year.

In Part 1, Spears follows a then-5-year-old autistic boy who, when he wouldn’t eat his lunch, was violently force-fed until he vomited. Police were called, but the boy’s family still weren’t able to get an incident report until they involved legal counsel.

Despite specific Nevada laws prohibiting such actions and requiring disclosure, the incident only came to light because aides to the offending teacher reported it to school administration and local police.

Nevada law says physical restraint may not be used on a pupil with a disability unless there’s an immediate threat of physical injury to students or staff, or to protect against severe property damage.
All instances must be documented and reported to the school district and the parents.

In Part 2, Spears looks at the story of a 7-year-old autistic boy whose mother says he was abused and that the school has swept the case under the rug and a whistle-blowing special education assistant who details the abuse he’s seen take place in Nevada classrooms.

Related

GAO report: “Seclusions and Restraints: Selected Cases of Death and Abuse at Public and Private Schools and Treatment Centers”