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Covid-19 Policy Update #636
Despite K-2 Reading Gains, Results Flat for 3rd Grade ‘COVID Kids’: Via the 74.
"The percentage of third graders on track in reading hasn’t budged since this time last year, according to a new analysis from Amplify."
"The test’s administrators are interpreting the flatline at 54% as good news. Paul Gazzerro, director of data analysis at curriculum provider Amplify, said it’s likely that third graders would have fallen even further behind without efforts like tutoring and additional group instruction."
“It looks as if nothing happened, but the reality is I would’ve suspected that things could’ve gotten worse,” he said. “These are students in many cases that are missing very tangible skills. They may even be grade levels behind.”
"At The 74’s request, Burbio, a data company, scanned 6,500 districts’ plans for spending American Rescue Plan funds. Over 3,800 report an emphasis on literacy, more than 4,100 mention reading and over 2,586 note ELA or English language arts. A smaller number, 530, specifically included phonics, and 258 identified science of reading in their plans."
"Reassuring data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines was presented. I won’t go through all of it because there was a lot, but I will highlight one thing: temporal scan results. I hadn’t seen this before, and it’s pretty cool."
"The CDC looks at real-time adverse events and maps them over time. They have a system that finds abnormal clusters. This helps because random events happen all the time. These clusters are designed to be very sensitive; they cast a wide net to find the smallest of signals. This comes with a trade-off, though—we may see things that happen by chance alone. This is what may have happened with the stroke signal found after bivalent vaccine among those over 65 years. They saw a cluster, but then the cluster receded. The other monitoring systems didn’t find anything."
"The vast majority of COVID-19 hospitalizations (80-90%) for those under age 5 years or over 50 years are “for” COVID-19. This hasn’t changed over time"
"The CDC ran a risk-benefit analysis on bivalent boosters.
Per 1 million bivalent vaccines given to 12-17 year olds:
Benefits: 17-75 hospitalizations “for” COVID-19; 5-22 ICU admissions “for” COVID-19; and 0-1 deaths prevented
Risks: 0 cases of myocarditis
"Data on protection against infection by age was presented. It’s clear that this protection wanes and more so among older adults."
"ACIP decided there was “insufficient evidence” to suggest older adults need another bivalent dose at this time. They did say this could change in the future based on three things: Hospitalization rates among those who got the bivalent start to increase; Other signals of waning vaccine effectiveness of bivalent vaccines; SARS-CoV-2 significantly mutates"
Summer School Can Remedy Pandemic Learning Loss: WSJ oped by Michael Bloomberg.
"More than 16,000 students from 224 schools participated. At the end of the summer, we tested students to assess their progress, and the results were encouraging."
"The percentage of students who met grade-level standards in math nearly doubled—and in English, it more than doubled. The share of students scoring below the most basic levels of proficiency fell by nearly half. By the end of the summer session, many students had caught up and were back on track for success. But in much of the country, students didn’t spend any of their summer vacations in classrooms."
"Because of the strong results we saw in New York City, we have decided to run the program again this summer—and expand it to charter schools in seven other cities: Baltimore; Birmingham, Ala.; Indianapolis; Memphis and Nashville, Tenn.; San Antonio and Washington."
White House: The Mess will open for in-person dining for the first time in President Biden’s White House on March 6.
Nasal Covid Vaccine Shows Promise in Early Clinical Trial: "The vaccine, developed by a startup called Blue Lake Biotechnology Inc., was found to reduce the risk of symptomatic Covid infections by 86% for three months in people who received it as a booster dose."
Pfizer/BioNTech Apply for Full FDA Approval of Updated COVID Vaccine: Via Reuters.
Doctors Who Touted Ivermectin as Covid Fix Now Pushing It For Flu, RSV:Via the Washington Post.
"The Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance, formed in 2020 to “prevent and treat covid,” is touting ivermectin for common respiratory infections amid a dramatic drop in prescriptions for the drug as clinical trials undermined claims of its efficacy against covid."
"There is no clinical data in humans to support using ivermectin for flu or RSV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other medical experts."
Merck’s Covid-19 Pill Gets Negative Recommendation in EU:Via Bloomberg, "The EU’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use couldn’t conclude that the drug, Lagevrio, reduces the risk of hospitalization or death or shortens the duration of illness or time to recovery in adults at risk of severe disease, according to a statement Friday." Merck will appeal.
FDA Authorizes the First At-Home Test for COVID-19 and the Flu: FDA: "With a shallow nasal swab, the single-use kit can provide results within 30 minutes indicating whether a person is positive or negative for COVID, as well as influenza A and influenza B, which are two common strains of the flu."
Celebrity Tweets Swayed Public Opinion Toward Pandemic Efforts: Study suggests
"A team led by University of Tennessee researchers analyzed the sentiments of more than 45,000 COVID-related tweets from 34,000 unique users from January to March 2022 that mentioned a well-known vaccine skeptic. The tweets garnered more than 16.3 million likes, with the most popular one earning 70,000."
"The skeptics included podcaster Joe Rogan, TV host Tucker Carlson, political commentator Candace Owens, broadcaster Phil Valentine, football player Aaron Rodgers, tennis player Novak Djokovic, musicians Nicki Minaj and Eric Clapton, and politicians Rand Paul, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Ron DeSantis."
"New intelligence has prompted the Energy Department to conclude that an accidental laboratory leak in China most likely caused the coronavirus pandemic, though U.S. spy agencies remain divided over the origins of the virus, American officials said on Sunday."
"The conclusion was a change from the department’s earlier position that it was undecided on how the virus emerged."
"Some officials briefed on the intelligence said that it was relatively weak and that the Energy Department’s conclusion was made with “low confidence,” suggesting its level of certainty was not high. While the department shared the information with other agencies, none of them changed their conclusions, officials said."
"Four other agencies, along with a national intelligence panel, still judge that it was likely the result of a natural transmission, and two are undecided."
Arizona: New school spending dashboard.
Florida: "Florida schools are feeling pressure from the Florida Department of Education to stop participating in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System — a national survey for teens and adults created in 1990 to monitor “health behaviors that contribute markedly to the leading causes of death.”
Michigan: “The graduation rate was 81.01%, a small increase from 80.47% for the Class of 2021. That’s still below the pre-pandemic rate of 81.41% in 2019. The dropout rate for the Class of 2022 was 8.19%, up from 7.65% the year before. In 2019, it was 8.36%.”
Tennessee: 2022 Tennessee Educator Survey
8 out of 10 teachers believed that the tutoring their students had received is associated with improved academic performance in their classroom.
Over 20% of teachers reported that they do not have access to training or resources to help students with mental health issues or trauma.
53% said adapting to quarantines was a challenge.
Burned Out, More Americans Are Turning to Part-Time Jobs: Via WSJ.
"The number of Americans working part time rose by 1.2 million in December and January compared with the preceding months, according to the Labor Department. Most of that increase—857,000 workers—was driven by people who worked part time by choice, not because they were unable to find full-time work or their hours were cut."
"The total number of people working part time voluntarily—22.1 million in January—is now almost six times the 4.1 million who are working part time but would prefer full-time hours. That is the highest ratio in two decades."
"School systems are now paying around $150 a day for substitute teachers, an amount that has risen about 16% over the past few years as school systems struggle with teacher shortages, said Nicola Soares, president of Kelly Education, a division of staffing agency Kelly Services Inc. that places 20,000 to 40,000 substitutes in schools every day."
Inflation: "The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge rose last month at its fastest pace since June, an alarming sign that price pressures remain entrenched in the U.S. economy and could lead the Fed to keep raising interest rates well into this year."
"Friday’s report from the Commerce Department showed that consumer prices rose 0.6% from December to January, up sharply from a 0.2% increase from November to December. On a year-over-year basis, prices rose 5.4%, up from a 5.3% annual increase in December."
Road to Recovery: How States are Using Federal Relief Funding to Scale High-Impact Tutoring: Report via CCSSO.
The Next 10 Years of Ed Finance: Declining Enrollment: Via Allovue
'The Best Dog You Could Ask For': 7-year-old boy writes a sweet letter to foster pup's adopters.
Trey Louis Sings "Stone" by Whiskey Myers: "Trey from the Fe" suffered a school shooting in May 2018, during which he lost 8 of his friends and 2 of his teachers.