News Digest

Click to read highlights and get link to full article

June 29, 2020 • NPR

The American Academy of Pediatrics released a strong statement arguing that “all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.”

Not only is there mounting evidence that transmission by children is uncommon, but schools are fundamental to adolescent development and well-being. Without school, there can be severe learning loss and increased social isolation, which contributes to social, emotional and health issues. These impacts are more severe for black and brown children, low-income children, and those with learning disabilities.

The three U.S. educator unions argue that remote learning should continue.

June 29, 2020 • Art & Science Group with work from The College Board

81% rising high school seniors believe colleges will be open by fall 2021 but confidence varies by subgroup with more doubts among low-income students.

66% are more likely to apply if the application deadline is extended

43% are concerned the pandemic has affected their qualifications due to:
• inability to show strong interest by visiting a the campus
• holes in academic records and lack of extracurricular involvement
• no test scores (2/3 did not take SAT and 3/4 did not take ACT)

20% more likely now to apply for early decision, especially among Black and Hispanic students

90% percent would still apply to a college even if they could not visit. Most helpful in lieu of visiting are virtual tours (77%), college websites (75%), personalized emails (51%), virtual Q&A sessions (46%), digital ads (9%)

37% attended a virtual information session; 89% would attend another.

Read Full Article


June 29, 2020 •

Even when contact-tracing or alerting students who may have been exposed to COVID-19, UNC’s website said they would not consider students who sat 3 feet apart and wore masks to be ‘close contacts’ – and therefore they would not be considered someone who needs to be traced, alerted or quarantined.

Read Full Article

June 27, 2020 • Los Angeles Times

California seismologist who conceived “Drop! Cover! Hold On!” to stay safe from earthquakes is suggesting we simplify the COVID-19 safety message similarly. In a crisis, she submits, people can’t sort out dozens of measures to take for their safety. Simply, “don’t share your air” addresses both mask and distancing issues.

June 26, 2020 • Washington Post

U.S. Health officials are having intense discussions about “pool testing,” a.k.a. batch testing. The method, previously used for STDs and HIV, combines samples from different people and tests them for coronavirus all at once. If the test is positive, each person in the pool is tested and results are individually analyzed to find whose sample produced the positive result.

It is most useful in large populations where the infection rate is believed to be low, like camps, schools, offices and correctional institutions. However, low viral loads are more likely to go undetected in a pool (the bigger the pool, the more diluted).

Read Full Article

June 24, 2020 • CBC News


This testing is an efficient way to detect outbreaks at vulnerable institutions without having to test everyone. It could provide earlier warning (than could clinical tests or hospitalizations) that the disease’s spread is growing in a community, particularly when a second wave of the epidemic arrives. 

NPR • June 24, 2020

The YMCA of the USA and NYC Department of Education show NO reports of coronavirus outbreaks after providing care for children of front-line workers throughout pandemic. What did they do?

• Groupings of non-intermingling “pods” of 9 children or less
• Use of large spaces, such as basketball courts or boardrooms
• Temperature checks and symptom screenings upon entry
• Children’s hands are stamped or doodled on before each new activity, after which, they scrub it off; no sharing of materials
• Reinforce social distancing by making “airplane arms”
• Frequent and consistent communication with parents

There is converging evidence that the coronavirus doesn’t transmit like the flu among children. There are almost no recorded cases of child-to-adult transmission. Children seem to be less likely to get infected and when infected, are often mildly symptomatic/asymptomatic.

Read Full Article

Guidelines from CT Governor’s Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group, Inc.


• Fall semester is Aug 31 to Thanksgiving; final exams will NOT be in person
• Faculty choice to teach online (synchronous or asynchronous), in-person or hybrid
• Classes recorded and available online, even when taught in-person
• Tuition rates remain unchanged
Living on Campus
• Reduced-density dorms and designated quarantine space
• Students living on campus must arrive two weeks before the start of class
• Dining hall food is take-out only
• Housing and dining fees remain unchanged

Campus Services
Health & Safety

Read Full Article
Newsweek • June 18, 2020

Two studies from Chinese scientists cast doubt over long-lasting immunity to coronavirus, prompting them to question the use of immunity certificates. They support the prolongation of public health interventions, including social distancing, hygiene, isolation of high-risk groups and widespread testing.

Notable Findings re: Anti-Body Testing:
• Antibodies for first line of defense are detectable around 7 days after infection. Virus-specific (IgG ) antibodies are detectable in about 2 weeks.
• Symptomatic patients show significantly higher levels of virus-specific antibodies than asymptomatic patients.
• Anti-bodies might not be produced to a detectable extent in all people infected.
• Virus-specific anti-body levels and neutralizing antibodies seem to start decreasing within 2–3 months after infection.
• Asymptomatic patients seem to drop anti-bodies at faster rate than symptomatic patients.
• Scientists observe that “the stronger the inflammatory reaction to the infection, the higher the antibody levels produced.” Ethnic background, genetic factors, and infection rate may also be important.

Read Full Article

USA Today • June 17, 2020

Employers cannot require coronavirus Antibody Testing for employees returning to work but without violating federal law, they CAN:
• test workers for the immediate presence of COVID-19 (using test methods other than anti-body testing), under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
• require workers to wear masks.
• require that employees get temperatures checked.

Read Full Article

CBS News • June 14, 2020

UNC Chapel-Hill adjusts fall schedule and puts rules in place:

• Starting fall semester early
• Final exams before Thanksgiving
• Students will stay home from Thanksgiving til New Year
• Lecture classes downsized.
• 100% masked in classroom
• Reduce density of “leaky” environment – not allowing large numbers to congregate.
• Two dorms set aside for quarantine.

Cal State announced classes will be primarily online. William & Mary students will have flexibility to finish school year through next summer.

Read Full Article

OpenSmartEDU • June 12, 2020

A planning tool for Self-Assessment, Risk Management & Re-Open Planning, created by Tuscany Strategy Consulting and Center for Health Security Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, with advisors from Johns Hopkins University.

The Introduction provides discussion of four central questions about addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. Does the school have:

(1) sufficient health & safety materials and protocols

(2) sufficient financial resources

(3) a quality (though modified) academic program

(4) requisite new management and oversight capabilities

Also discussed is assessment of the school’s threshold for re-opening; practical use of key COVID-19 indicators; and establishment of risk alert levels with protocols and management for each.

15 short Chapters are each dedicated to a specific response Workgroup, and include a brief introduction and series of numbered statements (over 500 total) that suggest a well-researched course of action, to be considered by the Workgroup. Suggested courses of action are highly specific, with an emphasis on modeling. Each Chapter provides links to subject-specific resources.

The Guide’s Table of Contents makes it easy to jump to Chapters and Sub-Chapters. The Chapters are as follows:

LEADERSHIP PLANNING: Vision & Planning (including Coordination across Workgroups and Equity, Inclusion & Commitment of Care)

CROSS-FUNCTIONAL AREAS: Outbreak Mitigation Protocols & Emergency Planning; Health Safety; Measures & Policies; Communications; Finance; Legal

FUNCTIONAL AREAS: Academics; Faculty & Faculty Governance; Student Services; Student Life; Athletics; Health Services; Information Technology; Campus Infrastructure; Government Affairs

Click for Complete Guide & Downloadable Self-Assessment Tool

The New Yorker • June 1, 2020

Iceland used early planning, extensive testing (15.5% of pop), contact tracing by police-detectives, and mandatory quarantine to eliminate nearly all cases of the virus in a now maskless society.

Any individuals determined to be within a 2-meter radius of an infected person were ordered to quarantine for 14 days. As many as 200 people were quarantined per one infected person.

Travel to the island was restricted, with incoming people required to quarantine for 14 days.

Different strains (mutations) came from Italy, Britain, East & West coasts of USA.

There are only two instances where a child infected a parent.

Read Full Article

Cult of Pedagogy • May 24, 2020

Strategies for maintaining health within communities:

• COHORTS of small groups of students stay together
• Students and teachers stay in ONE COURSE FOR SEVERAL WEEKS, then rotate
• Students stay in a ONE ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE all day, studying multiple subjects with the same teacher. Teachers might shift to Project Based Learning, where students are engaged in long-term projects that incorporate learning from multiple subject areas.
• A/B SCHEDULES where some students come on A days and others on B days. Those not at school would do remote learning
• HALF DAYS where half the students attend in the morning and half in the afternoon.


• Give space to grieve – Acknowledging the loss will allow you, your colleagues, and your students to feel validated.

Read Full Article

ProPublica • May 23, 2020

Studies in NYC, Guangzhou and Iceland show children infected with the virus do not get as sick as adults, and children had much lower rates of infection. However, child infections were similar to the population at large in a Shenzhen study.

In May, a severe Inflammatory syndrome, similar to Kawasaki disease, has arisen in children associated with COVID-19. Mortality risk is low due to known treatments.

Children and adults who are infected have similar “viral loads” – a measure of the amount of virus being emitted from cells, and considered a proxy for how infectious a person is.

Two of the hardest-hit areas in China found that after just over a month of lockdown, on average, about a fifth of students experienced depression or anxiety or academic setbacks.

A unique tactic to create safe living spaces is aligning beds so students sleep head to toe and 6 feet apart.

Read Full Article

The New Yorker • May 22, 2020

Mass General Brigham Hospital (Boston) has had successfully healthy work conditions with approx. 50,000 employees working. Unique practices:

Surgery rule: “Once you scrub in, never let your hands fall below your waist.”

Maximum 4 people in elevators built for 20.

Employees do a daily self-evaluation on a web app before entering hospital

Of interest:
• Less than 15 mins near an infected person might make spread unlikely.

• Early on, fever is present less than half the time. Mild symptoms are important to screen for.

• Studies consistently show infectivity starts before symptoms do; peaks around the day they start; and declines substantially by five days or so.

• Admin looked for correlations with high-risk hospital assignments and found none; where people lived made a difference.

Read Full Article

The Atlantic • May 19, 2020

Considerations for Re-Opening:

• How to police student movement to help contact-tracing
• How to prevent asymptomatic students spreading the virus
• Can the local public-health system handle whatever occurs?
• Plan A & B for vaccine/no vaccine; and for robust testing or lackluster testing
• Dedicated quarantine facilities where airflow is controlled to reduce cross-infection
• Local hotels for more social distancing in housing
• Apartment-style housing so students have their own bathroom
• Acknowledge we’re social distancing in spaces designed

Read Full Article

The Wall Street Journal • May 18, 2020

Liberty University took safety measures in its controversial spring re-opening.

  • Removing every 2 of 3 computers from the lab
  • Quarantining in a hotel 3 miles from campus

The press reported that 12 students contracted COVID-19. Reports now state only one in four employees are working remotely.

Read Full Article

May 15 2020

Notable re-opening protocols at Saigon South International School (SSIS):

  • Lunchtimes are staggered.
  • All students required to attend a 40-minute health and safety training.
  • Video re proper hand washing technique continues to run throughout the school.
  • Before students enter classroom/new space, teacher disinfects their hands.
  • School supplies a plastic ziplock-bag to store masks when removed.
  • Blue distancing dots and yellow stripes to create directional lanes.
  • All student seating faces one direction.
  • A thermal scanner monitors everyone entering the campus.
  • Vital that students’ thoughts and feelings are heard and validated at this time.

Read Full Article

New England Board of Higher Educations • May 14, 2020 Notable considerations/Steps for Assessing and Managing Risks
  • Need capacity to change course, ie Plan B, C, D, E, inc plan for a virus outbreak.
  • Need ways to assess differences between flu and COVID when flu season hits.
  • Chart risks with red, yellow or green designation: high risk, medium risk and low risk.
  • Chart ameliorating actions with a measurement: high, moderate or low effectiveness.
  • Establish critical evaluation of compliance on a go-forward basis.
  • Establish mechanisms for encouragement and dealing with those who fail to comply.
  • Need a mechanism in place for ongoing communication as issues and questions arise.
  • Social media outlets need to be monitored.
  • Many potential reporting requirements.
  • New costs are not one-time costs
  • Anything published needs to state explicitly that the plan can be adapted when circumstances require and may well change.
Read Full Article

Upcoming Events

The Central Role in the School Nurse in Bringing Students Back to Campus: Offering Expertise and Facilitating Intersecting Partnerships

July 8 at 1:00pm Eastern

June M Bjerregaard, FNP, Director of Health Services, St. George’s School (RI)
Meg McLaughlin, Director of the Cruz Health Center, Middlesex School (MA)
Adria C Pavletic, RN, MA, MN, NCSN, Director of Health Services St. Mark’s School (MA)

Summer Family Webinar Series • Zoom Webinar

July 13 at 7:00pm Eastern

Katie Titus (host), Head of School, Mercersburg Academy (PA)
Peter Quimby, Head of School, The Governor’s Academy (MA)
Randy Stevens, Head of School, St. Timothy’s School (MD)
Jenny Rao, Head of School, Emma Willard School (NY)
Anne-Marie Kee, Head of School, Lakefield College School (ON)

Email Daniel Gentle or Sheila Mitchell if you’d like to participate in our future Summers Series. Five webinars in all.

Admission Recruitment & Marketing Community Group Forums

July 15 & 29 

Tuesdays at 2:00pm • Heads of School Open Forums

TABS will be hosting Zoom Forums for Heads this Friday and each Tuesday in the coming months. We’re looking forward to providing a safe space to surface common issues and concerns regarding the 2020-21 academic year, COVID-19, and any other topics you have on your mind.
%d bloggers like this: