Governor Carney Closes Delaware Schools For Next Two Weeks

After a lot of back and forth, Delaware Governor John Carney signed an Executive Order to close all Delaware public schools for the next two weeks:

State to close schools March 16 through 27 to prepare for potential spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Friday directed all Delaware public schools close from March 16-27, to allow schools to prepare for potential spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The following is an excerpt from a letter Governor Carney sent to superintendents and charter school leaders on Friday:

Over the next two weeks, the State of Delaware will work with school leaders and public health experts to create a plan for Delaware students and educators as this coronavirus outbreak continues. We will specifically prepare for the potential impact of extended school closures on Delaware children and their families. Public school leaders should also undertake a deep cleaning of their facilities during the two-week closure.

Delaware children deserve a world-class education, and ongoing access to services that are delivered in our schools each day. Many students – especially those from disadvantaged communities – also rely on school meals for nutrition, and other important social services. We will be working with districts to plan for providing learning opportunities and other meal and social services for our students in the event of an extended closure.

The Reason Delaware Schools Aren’t Closed Yet

There are two major reasons Delaware schools aren’t closing yet.  Equity and special education.  It all comes down to the digital learning environment school kids will be exposed to.  School districts are worried about potential lawsuits.

For special education, federal IDEA law demands students get accommodations for their disabilities in an educational environment if their disabilities interfere with their ability to succeed academically.  With digital learning from home, how would those accommodations happen?  Disability Scoop covered this topic today in an article.

The Education Department said that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act do not specify what should occur if schools are closed for an extended period of time, which is considered more than 10 consecutive days. However, schools should generally offer the same level of services to students with disabilities that they are providing to other children.

As for equity, what about those families that don’t have wifi or bandwidth, or for that matter, computers, for their children to access digital learning from home.  That is a huge concern.  If they don’t receive instruction how can they even grasp educational material?  What happens when the students return and those who were not able to get the digital learning are woefully behind?

These are the concerns the districts are having.  And while we are in a state of emergency at not just the state level but the whole country, it does open up the possibility of litigation.  But what is more important?  Money or the health and well-being of not just students but every single citizen in the state?  With all the ed-tech personalized learning, how did these get-rich quick companies not prepare for a day like this?  But I digress…

So Governor Carney needs to be the one to make the call according to the districts.  But will he?  Or will he leave it up to the districts?  As the risk and danger to Delaware citizens continues.  Don’t believe what the Secretary of Health in Delaware is saying.  About schools being safer.  They aren’t.  It is just a bigger Petri dish.

Meanwhile, parents are left with a choice- do I send my kid to school or not?  Some districts, like Christina, are telling parents they need a doctor’s note in order to have an absence excused.  So some parents are sending kids in whether they are sick or not cause their kid has too many absences already.  It is a dangerous time folks!

 

As Governor Carney And School Districts Play The “Are We Closing” Tug Of War, Students And Families Are At Risk More Every Single Day

It was widely expected parents in Delaware would hear something about school closings today.  It is now after most schools have gotten out for the day and nothing.  But what is going on behind the scenes is even more confusing.  Delaware Governor John Carney is playing a game with the school districts and they are not happy about it. Continue reading

The Toilet Paper Hoarders of Delaware

As I got some groceries at Target last night, the top of my list was toilet paper.  I had to get some anyway.  I saw many carts filled with toilet paper.  There was no limit to customers.  I grabbed what little was left, an 18 pack of Angel Soft.  I figured that would keep for a while. This situation played out up and down The First State yesterday as it has across the country.

People are not necessarily panicking, they are preparing.  For the worst.  For a potential eventuality where they are forced to stay home for at least two weeks in case they get the Coronavirus.

As well as toilet paper, hand sanitizers and wipes are gone.  As if they never existed.  In addition, soups are disappearing along with other quick-fix meals.

With pretty much all major sporting events canceled, I have to wonder what folks will do at home.  Will they play games with each other?  Will they not venture out into the public?  Will tv ratings reach all-time highs?  We will find out in the coming weeks and possibly months.

While this pandemic is certainly a matter of grave concern, it can also be a time where we reconnect as families and count our blessings.  Yes, our 401ks are taking a bath like never before.  Yes, we could be unemployed or have to work from home.  Yes, we could lose income.  But this is a time that humanity has to come together and do the right thing.  We are trying to prevent a deadly disease from spreading.  From ravaging humanity, especially the elderly.

Some folks out there seem to STILL think this is no big deal.  The normal flu kills so many people each year but this one hasn’t.  First off, this is a new flu strain.  We don’t know what it will morph into.  The fatality rate is at least ten times higher, probably more.  So if it does stick around we could potentially be looking at fatality statistics anywhere from 500,000 to 5 million.  Each year.  That is no joke.

I will fully admit I made light of it until recently.  It was a bad flu I thought.  But when the numbers started growing it became a harsh reality.  The best way to fight this thing is to be prepared and use common sense.  Be safe, wash your hands, and hold onto your loved ones.

Will The Delaware DOE Cancel The Smarter Balanced Assessment This Year?

With rampant closings brought on by the ongoing Coronavirus saga it is imperative the Delaware Department of Education cancels the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  Any longtime reader of this blog knows my thoughts on this worthless and flawed test.  But it is here and until our legislators agree to dump it the test will stay here.  But this year is different.

As schools in Delaware prepare to close beginning next week for a two week “disinfecting”, the Smarter Balanced Assessment officially began earlier this month.  The test is not given at the same time in every school district or charter school.  Some last until the end of April or early May.  While giving SBAC in Delaware is a federal requirement, the test should disappear this year.

What are your thoughts?  Should the Delaware DOE cancel the test?  If schools are closed it would be impossible to have kids do it from home as there must be an instructor watching the kids take the test.  A Pennsylvania legislator already introduced legislation to get rid of their state test this year.  Should Delaware follow suit?