In a Tuesday conference call Secretary Betsy Devos explained that the risks associated with the pandemic should not be the reason for not reopening schools. Devos said, “Risk is involved in everything we do, from learning to ride a bike to riding a rocket into space and everything in between.”
Devos, who has an estimated net worth of about a billion dollars, has been reported insisting that schools be “fully operational” this coming fall semester. This comes as a surprise especially in light of her previous stance that some schools may have to use virtual learning in the fall.
She explains, “Ultimately, it’s not a matter of if schools should reopen. It’s simply a matter of how. They must be fully operational…How that happens is best left to education and community leaders.”
Though she did not explain exactly what “how” meant, she was quick to allege that some education officers “just gave up.” She later expressed disappointment in the efforts many public school districts made to comply with government health instructions and guidelines.
Despite this coronavirus presenting schools with an unprecedented dilemma this past spring, many public schools worked with swiftness and tact to ensure that students still get the education they need. They deserve to be recognized for their efforts. Fairfax County Public Schools, a top district in the nation, planned to split the school week into two days of in-person learning and three days of remote learning. This was an abomination to Devos, according to Salon media. “Things like this cannot happen again in the fall,” she said. Betsy Devos later said in an interview with Neil Cavuto that Fairfax County Public Schools was a “disaster.”
President Donald Trump said in a tweet Monday that “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!” He also threatened in another tweet to cut off funding for public schools despite lacking the power to do so. This comes after some states have reported increasing infection rates especially in states with high populations like Texas, Florida, California, and Arizona.
According to reports from Fox News, a minimum of 8 lawmakers in the state of Mississippi now have tested positive for Coronavirus. Reports indicate that these lawmakers were working in close proximity for the past few weeks. Among this group of lawmakers include House Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann.
According to the Mississippi State Health Officer, there may be over 10 suspected cases largely involving Capitol employees. At the moment Governor Tate Reeves is in quarantine with his family after coming into contact with another lawmaker that tested positive previously. Reeves continues to encourage people to get tested if exposed.
Mississippi has had a minimum of 1,158 deaths and 30,000+ confirmed cases. The amount of cases in Mississippi continue to rise rapidly putting stress on the health system.
In accordance to a recent Nanos Research survey, at least 80% of Canadians believe that the U.S.-Canada border should stay closed for the foreseeable future.
Though a majority of travel across the border has been paused for 30 days since March 21, it seems that most Canadians would rather maintain the border restrictions for at least some time especially with rising case numbers of COVID-19 in the United States.
In June, the Prime Minister of Canada made it clear that the U.S. and Canada will continue to block non-essential travel between the two nations until July 21. With confusing leadership and premature calls to reopen, the U.S. seems to be struggling to mitigate the spread of this deadly disease that has taken the lives of 130,000+ Americans.
Although non-essential travel is restricted, foods and goods, which are deemed essential, can travel across the border. Moreover, people can travel for work-related reasons. The Prime Minister of Canada also said in June that family members are able to visit each other as long as those entering Canada quarantine for 2 weeks. They are issuing fines for non-compliance.
The survey, which was conducted for The Globe and Mail, specifically asked their participants whether the border should be open for non-essential travel immediately(from low risk areas) or if the border should remain closed for at least some time. According to this poll over 80 percent said that the border should remain closed.
These responses most likely stem from the United States’ handling of COVID-19. The CDC documented over 52,000 new cases just this Sunday. The total cases are about 2.8 million currently. Canada’s handling of this virus seems to be quite remarkable with low numbers of new cases every day.
***This survey, according to The Globe and Mail, included over 1,000 Canadian adults. It occurred between June 28 and July 2. The margin of error is about 3.1% ***
(My Public Health) – Just this Saturday, The New York Times Reported a new claim made by hundreds of scientists saying that there is proof that COVID-19 can infect people through smaller particles in the air. They are asking that the World Health Organization revise their recommendations.
Previously, the World Health Organization had said that novel coronavirus primarily transmits through small droplets from the mouth or nose. Because symptoms of COVID-19 usually include coughing and sneezing, this novel coronavirus can easily spread through these droplets especially without the usage of a mask or facial covering. In fact, these contaminated droplets have been found to spread through actions as simple as speaking.
In a letter to the WHO, planned to be published next week, over 200 scientists from over 30+ countries highlighted evidence that possibly proves that smaller contaminated particles can infect people.(New York Times)
According to the NYT, scientists say that the coronavirus is certainly carried through air and can infect people when inhaled. Currently, this seems to be how the virus is transmitted whether through large droplets from a sneeze or through smaller droplets that can travel across a room.
NEVERTHELESS, the WHO has stated that the evidence for calling COVID-19 airborne was inconclusive at best. (NYT) Dr. Trish Greenhalgh, a primary care doctor at the University of Oxford in Britain has said,“So at the moment we have to make a decision in the face of uncertainty, and my goodness, it’s going to be a disastrous decision if we get it wrong,…So why not just mask up for a few weeks, just in case?” Whatever the case may be, COVID-19 is still a threat to society. Wear a mask and continue to be vigilant.
If you have any questions or concerns, let us know in the comments below!