Covid-19 Policy Update #638
Sending out the Update a day earlier than usual because I’m headed out to SxSW Edu tomorrow. If you’re attending, stop by our featured session on Monday at 4:00pm, where we will be discussing "Teaching & Learning in the Age of AI: What's Next?" Our esteemed panelists include Terah Lyons, a fellow at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, and Cameron Wilson, President of Code.org. We’ll explore the current and future impact of AI on education, from smart teaching assistants to emerging ethical concerns. I’ll also share a few examples from ChatGPT and other systems, like this MidJourney image generated from the prompt: “Bernese Mountain Dog puppy running in the style of Pixar.” Eerily close to the real life Teddy.
Three Years Since The Pandemic Wrecked Attendance, Kids Still Aren't Showing Up To School: Via NPR.
"Before the pandemic, about 8 million U.S. students were considered chronically absent, according to the research group Attendance Works. That's when a student misses 10% or more of the school year. By spring 2022, that number had doubled to around 16 million."
"In a survey of 21 school districts in rural, suburban and urban areas, NPR found most districts – from New York City to Austin, Texas, to Lawrence, Kan. – still had heightened levels of chronic absenteeism."
"Transportation has been our number one issue," says Ryan Voegtlin, director of student services for the large Maryland district. He says a bus driver shortage has made it hard to cover all the bus routes and guarantee transportation for every student."
"Carvalho describes the same attendance challenges NPR heard from multiple districts around the country: a youth mental health crisis, heightened fear around health concerns, transportation difficulties and poverty and homelessness, which can make it difficult for students to keep a routine around going to school."
"In Michigan, Grand Rapids Public Schools collects and analyzes data multiple times a month. Mel Atkins, who leads attendance efforts there, has found sharing that data widely can make a difference... That data-driven program helped cut chronic absenteeism by more than half in his district."
Heart Attacks and Strokes Late After Covid: Via Eric Topol.
"Back in February 2022, Ziyad Al-Aly and his colleagues from Washington University published a seminal paper about major adverse cardiovascular outcomes at one year following Covid infections. It was based upon nearly 154,000 patients with Covid (median age 60, 90% male) from the US Department of Veteran Affairs with 2 control groups each with over 5 million people. Importantly, these were events after 30 days from infection. There was a 1.7-fold risk of heart attack and 1.6-fold increased risk of stroke, among the other adverse outcomes, as shown below, for people with Covid versus controls."
"Subsequently, Wang and colleagues published on nearly 700,000 people with Covid compared with a control group of 2.25 million people without Covid, of whom there were matched controls by propensity analysis for the people who had Covid. The results were remarkably similar to the Al-Aly Nature Medicine report with a 1.6-fold increased risk of stroke, a 2-fold higher risk of acute coronary disease."
"Today a new study from a private insurance claims database was published by DeVries and colleagues. It compared 13,345 people with Covid matched with 26,870 control without Covid. The individuals were a mean age of 50 and 58% were women. Like the prior 2 studies, these were people unvaccinated. Accounting for differences in risk factors pre-Covid, there was yet another independent replication of a 2-fold increase in stroke risk, >2-fold increase in all-cause mortality, and other major cardiovascular outcomes including pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis."
Related via CIDRAP: Cardiovascular risks of long COVID persist for at least 1 year, study suggests.
K–12 Teachers Are Quitting. What Would Make Them Stay?: Via McKinsey
"McKinsey surveyed more than 1,800 US educators, school leaders, and school mental health professionals at the end of the 2021–22 school year."
"Approximately one-third of respondents said they planned to leave their role before the next school year began. That equates to roughly 900,000 teachers across the nation."
"Of the teachers ages 25 to 34 that we surveyed, 38 percent say they plan to leave, compared with about 30 percent of older educators."
"Almost 40 percent of teachers in districts where most students received free and reduced-price lunches (FRL) said they planned to leave, compared with just 25 percent of teachers in districts where fewer than one in four students received FRL."
"Meaningful work is by far the top reason that motivates teachers to stay. In fact, educators are nearly 20 percent more likely than private-sector employees to identify meaningful work as a top reason to stay in their jobs. Of those who cite this as a reason they want to stick with their current position, 93 percent say they believe their work helps others, while 89 percent say the mission and purpose of their organization aligns with what matters to them."
"Though our research shows that compensation is a top driver of both attrition and retention, school districts typically do not have much leeway to alter salary ranges. States and districts are exploring different models of addressing compensation concerns, especially in large urban districts where workforce shortages are felt more acutely."
"Districts and state education systems could also consider tailoring bonuses to teacher segments that are particularly prone to attrition, such as those working in higher-poverty districts or with younger grade levels and high schoolers."
NTIA: Is seeking public comment on the design and implementation of two components of the Digital Equity Act of 2021: the $1.44 billion State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program and the $1.25 billion Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program.
White House: The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) will host a series of virtual listening sessions to inform the development of the 2023- 2028 Federal STEM Strategic Plan.
If you would like to provide information in addition to or in lieu of your participation in the listening session, you may send a brief message to this public email address, email@example.com.
STEM Education: Support learners and educators in and across all science and technology disciplines. Wednesday, March 15, 2023 from 3pm-5pm ET.
STEM Workforce Development: Prepare and recruit our Nation’s future STEM workforce. Friday, March 17, 2023 from 2pm-4pm ET.
STEM Workforce: Foster inclusive STEM learning and working spaces to retain STEM learners and workers. Monday, March 20, 2023 from 3pm-5pm ET.
STEM Engagement: Foster meaningful community and public engagement in science and technology. Wednesday, March 22, 2023 from 4pm-6pm ET.
STEM Research and Innovation Capacity: Build and drive capacity and cutting-edge STEM (and STEM education) research and development. Friday, March 24, 2023 from 2pm-4pm ET.
The National STEM Ecosystem: Monday, March 27, 2023 from 6pm-8pm ET.
White House: Biden-Harris Administration Launches Nine Life Experience Projects to Streamline Service Delivery for the American People.
Recovering from a disaster.
Having a child and early childhood for low-income families.
Facing a financial shock.
Navigating transition to civilian life.
Long COVID Mirrors Concussions: A University of Denver study finds that people experiencing long COVID share similarities with people diagnosed and recovering from a concussion.
Flu and COVID Combo Shots Won't Come in Time For This Year: Via CBS:
"The FDAs top vaccines official, Dr. Peter Marks, had previously said in September that vaccines to cover both viruses could be deployed this year."
"But at a webinar this week by the National Foundation for Infectious Disease, Marks acknowledged the effort had proved "too heavy a lift" for this fall, ending hopes of a combined option for the 2023 fall and winter respiratory illness season."
Alabama: "Alabama’s ambitions for high-quality education could be restrained by staffing shortages and a looming loss of federal relief funds, the state schools’ chief told legislators on Thursday."
Peak bloom will align with this year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival, which runs March 20-April 16.
Dozens of D.C. public schools are slated to lose funding next year under DCPS’ proposed budget.
Illinois: "In Chicago, overall attendance remains just as low as last year, district officials cautioned principals during a recent meeting though the district said in a statement the rate ticked up above last year’s February rate, to about 88%."
"Chronic absenteeism — defined as missing roughly a month of classes in a school year — remains well above pre-pandemic levels and increased slightly for Asian American and white students, according to an internal data analysis obtained by Chalkbeat."
"Black students saw the most marked drop in absenteeism, but more than 40% are chronically absent this year — still well above the 27% rate pre-pandemic."
"And while suspensions are down markedly, overall student discipline is up slightly over last year."
Michigan: Ann Arbor Superintendent Jeanice Swift disputes value of the term “learning loss,” admits COVID affected “trajectory of growth."
"The superintendent of Ann Arbor Public Schools says students who were locked out of classrooms for up to a year suffered the equivalent of getting a flat tire during a trip to the zoo."
New Jersey: NJ seeks vendors and colleges to tackle elementary school learning loss from pandemic.
Texas: Houston ISD braces for possible state takeover.
Illinois: Some Unit 5 school board candidates are touting e-learning as a solution to the district's budget crisis.
Housing: Via Axios, "It finally happened. Median home sale prices are lower than they were a year ago for the first time since 2012, according to new data from Redfin."
"The biggest price drops are in Austin (-11%), followed by San Jose, California (-10.9%), Oakland (-10.4%), Sacramento (-7.7%), and Phoenix (-7.3%)."
Study Finds Students from Underserved Populations Less Inclined to Seek Education after High School than Their Peers: A new survey conducted by ECMC Group in partnership with VICE Media Group of more than 1,000 high school students ages 14-18 from low-income, first-generation and BIPOC backgrounds:
Only 45% believe education after high school is necessary, compared to 52% of all high schoolers.
"Only 8% feel fully prepared to make the decision of what to do after high school."
"83% of students surveyed feel pressure—often self-directed—to pursue a four-year degree, but more than half (53%) are open to a path other than four-year college, and nearly 60% believe they can be successful without a four-year degree."
Sal Khan on COVID’s Staggering Math Toll: Via The 74.
COVID Learning Loss Is Real: Via Psychology Today.
Tell Parents the Truth About Learning Loss: Bloomberg Editorial.
"Even when parents do get access to test scores, they often are presented in confusing language, arrive too late in the year to be of much use, and fail to show whether a student is progressing over time."
"This lack of transparency has corrosive effects. Inadequate information about student performance makes it harder to convince parents of the need for supplemental instruction or summer school. It also weakens political incentives for districts to invest in high-quality tutoring, an extended school year and expanded school choice."
"The federal government should require that states not only conduct assessments but also make results available to schools and students’ families as quickly as possible, rather than months after the tests are taken."
Bears on the Pitch: Fans of Besiktas and Antalyaspor threw stuffed toys onto the pitch when the clock was at 04:17 as a sign of solidarity for children affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.
Blue Shirt Guy: Makes his return.