Covid-19 Policy Update #642
WHO Leader Expects End of COVID Pandemic In 2023: “I am confident that this year we will be able to say that COVID-19 is over as a public health emergency of international concern,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at a Geneva briefing.
High Impact Tutoring: Higher Education Institution Playbook: From the National Student Support Accelerator.
In Rare Move, New Mexico Adds Weeks’ Worth of Extra K-12 Class Time: Via The 74.
"Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed House Bill 130, which will lift the state’s minimum amount of instructional time for elementary students by the equivalent of 27 days and for middle and high school students by the equivalent of 10 days."
"Total time in class differs from district to district, but the New Mexico Public Education Department specifies that younger children spend 5.5 hours per day in school, while older pupils spend six hours (lunch time is excluded from both figures)."
"The new law will affect roughly three-quarters of New Mexico’s 89 school districts, the remainder of which already meet the new requirements."
Advisors to the WHO have urged China to release all information related to the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic after new findings were briefly shared on an international database used to track pathogens.
"New sequences of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, as well as additional genomic data based on samples taken from a live animal market in Wuhan, China in 2020 were briefly uploaded to the open access GISAID database by Chinese scientists earlier this year, allowing them to be viewed by researchers in other countries, according to a Saturday statement from the WHO's Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO)."
NYT: "An international team of virus experts said that they had found genetic data from a market in Wuhan, China, linking the coronavirus with raccoon dogs for sale there, adding evidence to the case that the worst pandemic in a century could have been ignited by an infected animal that was being dealt through the illegal wildlife trade."
Science: "Flo and I have been traveling the same road of being very open to lab-leak ideas, but becoming more and more convinced as more and more evidence comes in that’s just not how it happened, and that it did happen at the Huanan market via the wildlife trade,” Worobey tells ScienceInsider."
The Atlantic: "The Strongest Evidence Yet That an Animal Started the Pandemic."
NYT: "Lab Leak or Not? How Politics Shaped the Battle Over Covid’s Origin"
Vox: "The key to Covid’s origin lies in Beijing, not Wuhan."
5,000 US COVID Deaths May Have Been Averted In Winter 2022 Under Higher Paxlovid Use: "About 4,800 US lives could have been saved during the winter 2021-22 SARS-CoV-2 Omicron wave if 5% of COVID-19 patients had taken the antiviral drug Paxlovid, estimates a modeling study published late last week in JAMA Health Forum."
America Has Decided It Went Overboard on Covid-19: David Wallace-Wells in the NYT.
"In at least 30 states, The Washington Post reported last week, legislatures have already passed laws limiting public health powers in the wake of the pandemic."
"Most of the states are in Republican control, but not all, and the restrictions legislated so far are quite intrusive: in many cases, extending outright bans against health officials or governors from issuing mask mandates, closing schools or businesses, restricting large gatherings in places like churches, or testing or vaccine protocols."
"But what is most striking is how little consideration they give to the particular attributes of future outbreaks — treating a future disease that spreads like measles but kills one in five kids it infects the same as one that spreads like swine flu and doesn’t kill anybody. And stopping public health authorities from doing anything about any of them."
"The epidemiologist Katelyn Jetelina calls this “a new phase of the pandemic — revisionism.”
“To me, it looks almost like brain fog, with the deadliest public health crisis in a century already so out of focus in our collective memory that we find ourselves talking at the level of abstract principles as though they bear no relationship to the brutal reality of the early pandemic, producing talking points so disconnected from real history they can be put to any narrative purpose that suits."
Can School-led Immunization Efforts Raise Low COVID Vaccination Rates?: The CDC says tactics like strategic clinics and culturally competent family engagement can be especially beneficial for marginalized students.
The Connecticut High-Dosage Tutoring Program. The state is launching a statewide HDT program and looking for vendors to provide tutors.
Via TNTP: "How One Connecticut School Used Learning Acceleration to Help Math Students Soar"
"After hearing Dr. Miguel Cardona, former Connecticut Commissioner of Education and now Secretary of Education, recommended TNTP’s landmark report, The Opportunity Myth. I wanted to learn more. I came across TNTP’s resources on learning acceleration, and was able to connect with Mary Pittman, a director at TNTP, and collaborators from Zearn, to host an event through NCSM: Leadership in Mathematics Education."
"The work of the Greene-Hills mathematics leadership team, teachers, and students resulted in dramatic progress—spring 2022 test scores exceeded pre-pandemic levels and student gains were higher than the state average."
Florida: NYT: "Covid Politics Leave a Florida Public Hospital Shaken"
"Tanya Parus, the president of the Sarasota County chapter of Moms for America, a conservative group, told the board at its February meeting that the community does not trust the hospital’s leaders. Some patients, she said, had “pleaded” for treatments the hospital denied."
“It’s not about us being anti-vax. It’s not about us being Covid critics. It’s not about us having nothing to do all day but pick a public fight,” she said. “We know firsthand what happened upstairs in those hallways. We know how badly hearts were aching.”
New Mexico: Online tutoring company Paper loses statewide contract in New Mexico.
"New Mexico hired Paper last fall to provide on-demand virtual tutoring to students who attend high-poverty elementary and middle schools across the state.”
“But Chalkbeat has learned that top officials at the Public Education Department, or PED, canceled the state’s contract after just three months, citing issues with how quickly Paper was able to enroll students in tutoring and how often students used those services."
"New Mexico signed a contract in late November with Paper worth up to $3.3 million funded by federal COVID relief funds. The state asked Paper to focus on the some 220,000 students in preschool to eighth grade who attend Title I schools, which serve higher concentrations of children from low-income families."
"The contract set modest goals for the company, asking Paper to enroll at least 2,200 students in tutoring by the end of this month and to tutor at least 11,000 students by the end of the contract in September 2024. The state wanted each of those students to receive at least 20 hours of tutoring."
"State officials wouldn’t say how far off Paper was from meeting those targets. A spokesperson for New Mexico’s education department, Kelly Pearce, said in a statement that the “PED’s partnership with Paper did not meet the needs of New Mexico’s students. As soon as this was determined, the contract was closed.”
SVB: Via NYT: "Before Collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, the Fed Spotted Big Problems"
"In 2021, a Fed review of the growing bank found serious weaknesses in how it was handling key risks. Supervisors at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, which oversaw Silicon Valley Bank, issued six citations. Those warnings, known as “matters requiring attention” and “matters requiring immediate attention,” flagged that the firm was doing a bad job of ensuring that it would have enough easy-to-tap cash on hand in the event of trouble."
"But the bank did not fix its vulnerabilities. By July 2022, Silicon Valley Bank was in a full supervisory review — getting a more careful look — and was ultimately rated deficient for governance and controls. It was placed under a set of restrictions that prevented it from growing through acquisitions. Last autumn, staff members from the San Francisco Fed met with senior leaders at the firm to talk about their ability to gain access to enough cash in a crisis and possible exposure to losses as interest rates rose."
"It became clear to the Fed that the firm was using bad models to determine how its business would fare as the central bank raised rates: Its leaders were assuming that higher interest revenue would substantially help their financial situation as rates went up, but that was out of step with reality."
Related: The NYT has a profile of childcare startup Winnie's CEO Sara Mauskopf: "48 Hours Till Payroll, $200,000 to Go: Diary of a Bank Failure"
Cooley has a really good resource center on the unfolding SVB situation.
Banks borrowed a combined $164.8 billion from two Federal Reserve backstop facilities in the most recent week, a sign of escalated funding strains in the aftermath of Silicon Valley Bank’s failure.
Heather Long: "The big picture: The Fed now has $318 billion in loans outstanding to the US financial system. That’s about half what the Fed did for US Institutions during the Great Financial Crisis. —per JPMorgan"
JPMorgan advising First Republic on strategic alternatives, including a capital raise.
Credit Suisse Group emergency merger with UBS Group will wipe out the bank’s riskiest bonds, rattling investors in the quarter-trillion-dollar market for similar bank debt.
Stop Requiring College Degrees for Jobs That Don’t Need Them: Via Vox.
"Between 1980 and 2012, jobs requiring high levels of social interaction grew by nearly 12 percentage points as a share of the US labor force, according to Harvard education researcher David Deming. As a hiring proxy for this, companies started to turn to four-year college degrees."
"These trends accelerated during the Great Recession, when employers had a labor surplus to choose from. Of the 11.6 million jobs created between 2010 and 2016, three out of four required at least a bachelor’s degree, and just one out of every 100 required a high school diploma or less."
"One of the researchers’ most revealing findings was that millions of job postings listed college degree requirements for positions that were currently held by workers without them. For example, in 2015, 67 percent of production supervisor job postings asked for a four-year college degree, even though just 16 percent of employed production supervisors had graduated from college. Many of these so-called “middle-skill” jobs, like sales representatives, inspectors, truckers, administrative assistants, and plumbers, were facing unprecedented “degree inflation.”
"Last year, researchers from Harvard Business School and the Burning Glass Institute found evidence of what they called “an emerging degree reset” in hiring. By analyzing over 51 million job postings dating back to 2014, the researchers found that between 2017 and 2019 roughly 46 percent of “middle-skill” and 37 percent of “high-skill” occupations no longer asked for a bachelor’s degree, and instead had job postings listing technical and social skills instead. The report concluded that based on the trends they were observing, an additional 1.4 million jobs could open to workers without college degrees in the next five years."
Decline of the Trades: Via Axios.
"The construction industry faces a gap of a half million workers, according to Construction Dive. That gap is expected to widen as federal money flows into new infrastructure projects around the country — calling for even more labor."
"The application rate for technical jobs like plumber and electrician dropped by 49% between 2020 and 2022."
Parent-Rights Bills in the States: FutureED tracker of 60 parental-rights bills in 23 states.
Open for Business: Via the Vela Fund: "The Economics of Everyday Entrepreneurs in Unconventional Education."
Rural coalition calls on Congress to codify 100Mbps symmetrical broadband for USDA ReConnect.
This is smart: Oklahoma bill requires Dept. of Transportation to include fiber conduit in new construction projects.
"$12B in Broadband Funding Committed to Date Through ARPA Programs"
"South Carolina Will Use Its Entire $185M Capital Projects Fund Allocation for Broadband."
"Kentucky grapples with broadband mapping, terrain hurdles."
"Summit County, Ohio Building $75 Million, 125-Mile Fiber Ring"
"Schools sue social media companies over youth mental health crisis."
"The legal action started in January, with a suit by Seattle Public Schools, and picked up momentum in recent weeks as school districts in California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida have followed. Lawyers involved say many more are planned."
"San Mateo County, home to 23 school districts and part of Silicon Valley in Northern California, filed a 107-page complaint in federal court last week, alleging that social media companies used advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to create addictive platforms that cause young people harm."
CDC: "Sleep Duration, Mental Health, and Increased Difficulty Doing Schoolwork Among High School Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic"
"Most respondents (76.5%) reported sleeping for an average of less than 8 hours per school night, and 66.6% said they struggled more with schoolwork than they did before the pandemic."
"Teens who slept less than 7 hours per school night were 17% more likely to report difficulty with schoolwork than those who slept 8 to 10 hours."
"The unadjusted models confirmed the hypothesized association between short sleep duration and greater difficulty doing schoolwork, which remained robust after adjusting for covariates," the researchers wrote.
"A total of 37.1% of teens reported poor mental health, which correlated with inadequate sleep (PR, 0.22). Fewer students who slept at least 8 hours a night (25.2%) reported poor mental health, while 49.1% of those who slept 5 hours or less each night and 55.9% who slept less than 4 hours said their mental health was poor."
Jonathan Haidt: Why the Mental Health of Liberal Girls Sank First and Fastest.
He was prompted, in part, by this Matt Yglesias post.
OpenAI CEO, CTO on Risks and How AI Will Reshape Society: An extremely good interview. ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis really pushes on some of the difficult questions. Education makes an appearance at the 19:37 mark.
Related, I had a fun discussion with 50CAN’s Marc Porter Magee on AI and education. Twitter thread with some examples.
March Madness: "Did we just see what we just saw???"
"I Was Not Suppose to Be Here:" Elijah McCormick had to relearn how to walk and talk again after a severe car accident on his high school graduation day.
He flatlined multiple times. Spent 79 days in the hospital. Endured 10 surgeries.