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Sun Aug 23, 2020, 08:14 AM

'Schools Beat Earlier Plagues Like TB With Outdoor Schools, We Could Too,' NYT

'A Century Ago, Children Attended Attended School In A Pandemic. It Seemed To Work.' Ginia Bellafante, July 17, '20.



- Art class on a NYC rooftop, 1912.

In the early years of the 20th century, tuberculosis ravaged American cities, taking a particular and often fatal toll on the poor and the young. In 1907, two Rhode Island doctors, Mary Packard and Ellen Stone, had an idea for mitigating transmission among children. Following education trends in Germany, they proposed the creation of an open-air schoolroom. Within a matter of months, the floor of an empty brick building in Providence was converted into a space with ceiling-height windows on every side, kept open at nearly all times. The subsequent New England winter was especially unforgiving, but children stayed warm in wearable blankets known as “Eskimo sitting bags” and with heated soapstones placed at their feet. The experiment was a success by nearly every measure — none of the children got sick.

Within two years there were 65 open-air schools around the country either set up along the lines of the Providence model or simply held outside. In New York, the private school Horace Mann conducted classes on the roof; another school in the city took shape on an abandoned ferry.

Distressingly, little of this sort of ingenuity has greeted the effort to reopen schools amid the current public-health crisis. The Trump administration has insisted that schools fully open this fall, with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos proposing no plan for how to do that safely. In New York, the nation’s largest school system, students will attend live classes only a few days a week, a policy that has angered both exhausted parents, who feel that it is not nearly enough, and many teachers, who fear it as way too much.
At the same time, one of the few things we know about the coronavirus with any degree of certainty is that the risk of contracting it diminishes outside — a review of 7,000 cases in China recorded only one instance of fresh-air transmission. While this ought to have activated a war-room focus toward the goal of moving as much teaching as possible outdoors, nothing like that has happened.

“What I’m hearing instead is that people are looking at plastic shields going up around desks,’’ Sarah Milligan-Toffler, the executive director of an organization called the Children & Nature Network, told me. “That’s our creative solution?”

Bureaucracy, it hardly needs to be said, is not inherently creative. And despite its self-image as an engine of innovation, the education-reform movement backed by Wall Street tends to recoil at anything that reeks of bohemianism. No hedge-funder, obsessed with metrics, achievement gaps and free Apple products has ever sat down and asked himself, “Hey, I wonder how they do it in Norway?” Outdoor learning, though, is not a wood nymph fantasy; the body of evidence suggesting the ways it benefits students, younger ones in particular, is ever growing. A 2018 study conducted over an academic year looked at the emotional, cognitive and behavioral challenges facing 161 fifth graders. It found that those participating in an outdoor science class showed increased attention over those in a control group who continued to learn conventionally.

At John M. Patterson, an elementary school in Philadelphia, suspensions went from 50 a year to zero after a playground was built in which students maintain a rain-garden and take gym and some science classes, the principal, Kenneth Jessup, told me...

Read More, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/17/nyregion/coronavirus-nyc-schools-reopening-outdoors.html



- Public School 51 in Manhattan, 1911.

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Reply 'Schools Beat Earlier Plagues Like TB With Outdoor Schools, We Could Too,' NYT (Original post)
appalachiablue Aug 2020 OP
Blues Heron Aug 2020 #1
appalachiablue Aug 2020 #2

Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Sun Aug 23, 2020, 08:42 AM

1. "only 1 instance of fresh air transmission"

Disingenuous - the Covid outbreak in China was in winter when most people were inside most of the time. They weren't holding sturgis-level events outside the way we are. I would not sit down anywhere near someone who was Covid positive inside or outside. No one would. This thing spreads much more easily than TB. Not a well thought through article.

..."a review of 7,000 cases in China recorded only one instance of fresh-air transmission."

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Response to Blues Heron (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 23, 2020, 08:59 AM

2. School outdoor time and modifying classrooms & bldgs. like

hospitals and shelters with UV lights; modifications not only for tuberculosis which the NYT article emphasized but also measles, influenza and other illness caused by airborne pathogens.

Homeschooling suits children of affluent white collar professionals who can work from spacious (suburban) homes; what about the rest of the population of adults who have to go out to work? And their children's schooling and welfare?

- Excerpt:.. Schools should consider installing ultraviolet lights along classroom ceilings, a technology some used in the 1950s & earlier to combat measles, tuberculosis & other airborne diseases & that is still used in hospitals & homeless shelters. Viruses & bacteria are destroyed using a spectrum of UV light that is safe for humans.

Teaching classes outdoors may be one solution to air circulation problems as was done during tuberculosis & influenza outbreaks in the early 1900s, even in cold weather. The coronavirus spreads less efficiently outdoors & students could more easily sit 6 feet apart.

Outdoor teaching advocates claim that having classes outdoors has other benefits & children actually are less distracted & feel better emotionally. Several NE schools have bought large event tents & plan to use them to teach outside through November [some tents are equipped with propane heaters]..https://democraticunderground.com/1016266670

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