School reopening plan includes strict health measures

Students and faculty must wear masks; desks will be separated.

Schools are working on creating comprehensive reopening plans to keep students and faculty safe.

Classrooms and hallways in Massachusetts will look a lot different if they end up reopening their doors in the fall. 

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released its initial fall reopening guidance for schools, which includes students and faculty wearing masks, and desks spread apart to avoid the transmission of COVID-19.

Commissioner of education Jeffrey C. Riley wrote in his opening letter that teachers and faculty are moving away from a “spring unlike any before,” and toward a comprehensive plan that will ensure the safety of educators and their students.

He also mentioned the “long history of inequity” demonstrated by the killing of George Floyd and many others, and said schools will look through this lens as well as they consider reopening.

The Return to School Working Group was created in early May to begin planning for ways to safely and effectively reopen schools as soon as reasonably possible.

All the guidance issued by the state has been compiled from input by infectious disease specialists, pediatricians, the working group, and other public health officials. 

“If the current positive public health metrics hold, we believe that when we follow critical health requirements, we can safely return to in-person school this fall, with plans in place to protect all members of our educational community,” Riley wrote.

The state is requiring school districts to develop three back-to-school models: in-person learning with new safety requirements, hybrid learning, and remote learning. 

The state’s primary goal is for in-person learning, which has all students and staff return to school, with classrooms and schedules modified to meet health requirements. Schools should prioritize developing an in-person model, according to the guidance.

Under hybrid learning, school districts would develop an alternating schedule for students, such as having students switch between in-person and remote learning on alternating weeks or days of the week.

The remote learning model is for students who are not able to return in person, and for all students in the event there is a spike in cases and schools are closed.

Temperature screenings, however, will not be required, although school staff and bus drivers are asked to observe students throughout the day for signs of symptoms, and refer them to school health officials.

“We do believe it is safe for our children to return to in-person learning at schools, but this does not mean we can let our guard down,” Dr. Sandra Nelson, an infectious disease expert at Massachusetts General Hospital and one of the many stakeholders who put the guidance together, said at a press conference Thursday.

According to Island parent and chair of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School school committee Kimberly Kirk, the high school and elementary schools are working on putting together a task force that will take the guidance from the state and receive feedback from parents, health officials, and faculty members. This group, called the School Reopening Task Force, will consist of the superintendent and assistant superintendent, an elementary school principal, a director of special education, a guidance counselor, and a nurse, along with teachers and representatives from the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School. 

Kirk called the reopening plan a “balancing act” between providing a quality education while also keeping students and teachers safe. “We have to prepare for the fall, but also look at alternative plans should the pandemic impact us in a different way,” Kirk said. “We need to be responsive and flexible, because who knows what is going to happen in the next few months.”

Kirk said now is not the time for the Island to get complacent, now is the time to work toward an in-depth plan that will prepare schools for whatever may happen in the fall. “This is the reality we are living in, and we need to stay focused,” Kirk said.

Assistant Superintendent Richie Smith said the guidelines released from DESE are “comprehensive, but still fairly general,” and that additional guidance with more specific procedures is forthcoming. According to Smith, schools need to be prepared for whatever direction the pandemic takes, and have a plan in place for providing a safe education to students.

Depending on the situation, Smith said, the school could do an entirely in-person curriculum (which he said is unlikely, as the circumstances are currently), a hybrid, “blended” model with one cohort doing online learning and one cohort doing in-person learning, or continue with exclusively virtual classes. Smith acknowledged that there is no substitute for hands-on, face-to-face learning, but said the schools on-Island will do what they have to do to keep kids and faculty safe.

“Our staff has felt the loss of that relational connection with kids. Relationships are such a huge factor toward student achievement,” Smith said. And some families might not feel comfortable with their children returning to school even if proper safety protocols are in place, so Smith said schools will have to have remote learning in place for those students. 

Should students and teachers return to in-person classes in the fall, they should expect drastic changes in health protocols and overall daily life. Under the state guidelines, students in second grade and above are required to wear a mask or face covering that covers their nose and mouth, while students in kindergarten and first grade should be encouraged to wear masks. All students will be required to wear masks while on the school bus as well. Adults, including educators and staff, are required to wear masks throughout the day. If staff or students have conditions that make it unsafe for them to wear a mask, exceptions will be considered. The guidance suggests transparent masks for both teachers and students in classes for deaf and hard-of-hearing students, and for teachers and younger students who rely on visual or facial cues.

Folks in school are encouraged to take “mask breaks” whenever possible, if they are properly distanced, or “ideally outside, or at least with the windows open.”

All masks and face coverings should be provided by the family, according to the guidance, although disposable masks should be made available for students who need them. The state is encouraging that school districts aim for six feet of distance between individuals, with a minimum of three feet. 

School facilities will also have to dramatically shift the physical structure of classrooms, entry and exit points, and areas with high amounts of foot traffic to accommodate these new health precautions. Schools will aim to place desks six feet apart, but no fewer than three feet apart, all facing the same direction. Schools will also seek to limit the intermingling of classes and student groups to avoid the spread of the virus. Students will divide into small groups that remain with one another throughout the day, and there will be no required maximum cohort size, so long as schools adhere to the other physical distancing requirements.

Gov. Charlie Baker said the state was close to implementing temperature checks, but did not because of the high likelihood of false-positive and false-negative results.

“[The] overwhelming message we got from the folks in the healthcare community in respect to kids’ temperature checks [was that they] will provide people with a lot of the wrong information with respect to the status of the kids when they show up to school,” Baker said at a press conference Thursday.

In addition to in-school protocols, families will be required to screen their kids before sending them to school, using a checklist that will be disseminated by DESE. “Checking for symptoms each morning by families and caregivers is critical, and will serve as the primary screening mechanism for COVID-19 symptoms,” the guidance states.

Everyone in the school will be required to use good hand hygiene, with hand sanitizer stations placed at key locations like entrances to buildings and classrooms.

There should also be an isolated space where students who are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms can be sequestered from the rest of the student body.

Districts and schools will be required to submit their comprehensive fall reopening plans to DESE in August. The guidelines also require schools to develop plans for how students with disabilities, English language learners, and others will receive necessary services.

Baker touched on how students with disabilities have been affected by the lack of in-person schooling. “The overwhelmingly, most powerful messages that we have heard have been from the parents of special needs kids, who believe their kids have regressed dramatically over the past few months,” Baker said. “I can’t emphasize how important, especially for those kids and their families, that face time and that daily routine and that constant sense of communication and progress is to their ability to continue to grow and develop.”

Additional guidance, including sports, transportation, and handling a positive case in the school, will be released in July.


Reporter Brian Dowd contributed to this story.


  1. There is no scientific evidence suggesting children need to wear masks. If we have elderly teachers/staff with pre-existing condition we need to have a discussion on making them financially whole until this passes in the next 6 months or so. The Commissioner of Education somehow equates covid-19 with the death of George Floyd just confirms this is a political policy and not public health policy.

    • Again, why the Times allows promotion of false information about the data and science behind wearing masks is beyond me. The spit of an infected child spreads the disease, as do droplets from infected non-children. Two year olds like Trump won’t wear masks, but by the time babies mature into 4, 5, 6 year olds and older, they can learn from their responsible parents that mask wearing protects their vulnerable friends and family. Of course if schools did what the toddler in chief does, tests everyone every day who enters the school building the way Trump tests everyone who comes in contact with him, we’d prevent spread.

    • BS, he didn’t equate George Floyd’s death with COVID-19. He mentioned two separate, distinct concerns that schools will be addressing going forward.

      Children can get sick from corona and are being studied as asymptomatic spreaders. Their parents or grandparents may be at risk. The fatality count is bad enough, and it doesn’t even tell the story of those who are hospitalized and survive. Broadway actor Nick Cordero’s case is worth reading up on. He will never be the same, and his poor wife has gone through hell, too. At 41 years old and with no pre-existing conditions, he’s been sick for three months. A medically induced coma, ventilator, pacemaker, blood clots, an amputated leg, lung damage, the loss of 65 pounds, dialysis, septic shock, two strokes. You may say his experience is not typical, but others have also suffered from blood clots, etc. Even some with mild cases (in relation to this one) have shared that a month or two later, their lungs are not back to normal and it’s affecting their jobs and lives. Kids can show severe signs of inflammation as well.

      That is not politics. It is the definition of a public health crisis.

    • BS– have you ever been around a child ? Do you think the droplets that come come out of a child’s mouth when they sneeze or cough are sterile ?
      Could you reference a few peer reviewed studies that conclude that ?
      And I wonder where you get the idea that this will be over in the next 6 months or so.
      I have hope that 6 months from now the Biden transition team will start gearing up to meet the challenges needed to deal with this pandemic.
      I know you believe nearly everything trump says. Most of his lies don’t matter– we can just laugh at his claims and his spin doctors when they cite alternative facts and just make up illogical fallacies about that he was “joking” about on any given day.
      But it’s not funny anymore.
      Yesterday, the U.S had the most new cases in a single day ever.
      You won’t read it on fox “news” ( they are too busy praising Hannity for his softball interview with trump) but it’s real.

      • Not what I meant, ajay. Clearly BS thinks matters of medical fact and experience are just political games as usual. Context.

        • “matters of medical fact and experience are just political games as usual.”
          Medical facts have have always been political.
          Just look at the variety of ‘medical facts’ coming from medical doctors turned politicians.

    • There is no shortage of data that clearly shows that the use masks cuts down on the spread of a virus.
      The size of the wearer of a properly fitted mask is not a factor.

  2. Baker’s plans are way overkill—a recipe for making sure that kids hate school. And the teachers and parents, too!
    Why are we torturing our children with the mask-wearing mania. The fact that “mask breaks” are needed sez a lot.
    Trying to learn while sitting in a cubicle with a mask on, breathing in one’s own unfresh breath and not getting any semblance of fresh air while staring at a screen is not good for children’s physical or mental health.
    I predict many parents will just not return their children to school.
    They will home-school them.
    Children have always shared germs and brought them home.
    That is a reality of having a child who attends school.
    To state that “the science” is one thing is a sign of ignorance: of the actual science of covid-19 and of the nature of science itself. After the series of 180’s that “science” had brought us concerning covid-19, the childlike insistence on one “the science” is almost touching.
    Real children, however, need to be exposed to germs in order to build up their own immune systems. That is science.
    It is seriously misleading—nonscientific—that every positive test is called a “case.” Quite apart from the issue of false positives and false negatives.
    Persons who question the wisdom and the tradeoffs of the endless lockdown—in human lives as well as economic collapse—and the stats used to support it can find relevant info at

    • Island Raised, children have always shared germs, but not all baddies are created equal. Most cooties are harmless. This isn’t. For those that are not, schools often want immunization. There is nothing unique about how corona is being viewed in this regard. They are just opting for masks, soap, and distancing in lieu of a vaccine. It’s the best that can be done while we, as demanded, get on with life. I think it makes it easier for you to deny COVID-19 if you ignore the fact that children have often been safeguarded against illnesses. Why would this be an exception? They could bring it home to vulnerable family members. It is not the sniffles. It can cause full-body inflammation and organ failure.

      Breaks are a compassionate acknowledgement that this is a little hard for kids. No one thinks it’s a perfect solution or wants this. But those emotions don’t negate that masks have been shown to help. One author of this study is a past Nobel recipient. (Will wait for someone to complain about his field while offering nothing.)

      I wore a mask in school sometimes. Not fun. Hardly a big deal. And it worked. That you think wearing a covering for only a portion of the day is the equivalent to a sealed bubble, especially given your use of air quotes around science… Yes, we have to interact with the environment in order to function best. They will still be exposed to plenty of grime at home, when outdoors playing, and on their food and pets and skin. Why bother with masks? Because they help control the most aggressive form of droplet transmission, reducing cases. They’re not magic shields that prevent all forms of exposure to the physical world. We can look at examples of children who have been harmed by COVID-19. Where is the proof that harm from masks even exists in healthy kids, let alone exceeds COVID? If you can’t answer that, your reasoning is unethical. Medicine operates by weighing benefit against risk. I side with the known risk. There are ways to boost immunity if you’re concerned.

      This article and the measures you’re attacking pertain to the opposite of a lockdown — opening up. Isn’t that what you want? We care about the economy. That’s why some are striving to keep the population as healthy as possible. Health and economic recovery align. Sick people can’t work and make for poor consumers.

      Your objection to the term “case “is odd. Its application to corona is in keeping with the standards for many conditions. Accept that science, by its very definition, takes time. This is a NOVEL virus. You can’t demand every answer upfront. Studies have been and will be retracted. New information will emerge. That means science IS working, via self-correction and free of politics. Chastising new developments is like admitting you don’t understand the method or what we can reasonably glean. Why follow the mask data if some things evolve? Because the basics about transmission have not changed. And because masks have been around a very long time, observed in various situations, and are in keeping with common sense. Everyone in the field knew they were needed ages before they were required. They weren’t recommended due to low supply. A failure of planning and honesty, NOT science.

    • Islandraised– if the trump regime had a plan– any plan, to deal with this virus, we could perhaps be in a situation, like most other developed countries, where we would not have to be so concerned for the safety of our children, and indeed their extended families . Fortunately for the citizens of Massachusetts , we have a governor that is taking some steps to actually address the problem, and put measures in place to protect the citizens of the commonwealth despite the objections of callous idiots who do not care about people’s safety.
      And this one is about children, who do fact die or in some cases have serious , presumably life long health consequences if they contract this disease.

    • Every true positive is a case.
      It means you have it.
      Even if you do not show it.
      People who do not show it spread it more than those who do.
      Sickness is an indicator to stay away.
      The non-symptomatic diseased are free to hand off their disease to who ever they can get close to.

    • Yup. And most of those masks, especially worn by children, are handled all day long. There is plenty of science that says wearing a mask for extended periods is very unhealthy. Mask mania is absolutely correct. I absolutely would not send a child to school to wear a mask all day.

  3. dondondon. Yes new cases but they are much milder and spike is not everywhere, and the mortality rate is way down. It is not the cases we should be counting but the deaths. Protect the most vulnerable and let the rest of us get on with our lives. You blue state dems want this to continue for election purposes. You who tout statistics always leave out the most important ones–deaths as a percentage of cases. If you test more of course you will get more cases. Many of us have had Covid and didnt know it or maybe just suspected it.

    • So now you’re claiming to have had Covid?
      Is that why you disappeared at right around 1000 deaths?

      • No , he said he was doing “clandestine work” in Minneapolis. Lol. Andy agrees with the President, too. If you test more you’ll have more cases. Ergo, the President wants to test less. That’s like saying if we throw away the thermometers, we won’t have anyone with a temperature of 104. Also Andy’s advanced age puts him well within the high risk category.

        Today we surpassed our US record (from April) for the highest number of new cases, 36,000. But they’re not dead, so it’s cool for those who have so little regard for other people they place bets on how many will die.

        • Jackie, self-appointed expert on covid-19, defunding police, etc., you don’t know what you are talking about.

          • Read Aquinnah’s response to you and try to learn something. She has patience for willful ignorance. I don’t. But I am aware her calm insistence on facts might convert A few of the stubborn mask-averse, but sadly, no one can fix selfishness and stupidity.

          • Island raised people do not know what they are talking about.
            Only the ‘born here’s’ do…..

    • Andrew, it is shortsighted to only look at fatalities, especially with a new disease. There are some very disturbing and longterm, maybe even permanent, complications for certain patients. Especially within the lungs. That can be debilitating and impact work. This may be linked to blood type, but it’s early still. I think ignoring how many have been hospitalized or what a long ICU stay can do to a person mentally, financially, and physically is plain wrong. We have always known the majority would recover from corona. Well, the majority of people on the planet won’t die in a DUI-related accident either, but decency says that refraining from drinking and driving can save those who would meet that fate. Not all vulnerable folks can stay home or avoid those they live with, who are exposed to the public. The disease is at their front door, home or not, for as long as others refuse masks. That’s why “do your part” still applies.

      • Aquinnah– It’s easy to twist statistics. In my reply to Andrew I used the statistics I feel are most pertinent to Andrew’s request to me to provide some statistics.
        Andrew would like to use all confirmed cases, vs the # of deaths in order to make it look better than it is. It is absurd to count cases that were confirmed yesterday, as it takes a while for this disease to kill you. It woulod be pretty accurate to say that very few or none of those people have died. if you use the wrong accounting method, you coulod say the virus is weakening because there nave been no deaths from recent cases. About 90,000 in the last 2 days.
        I used the number of “cases which had an outcome” — either you survived and are now disease free , or you died. That tells you the real rate of death.
        Eleven % in the U.S.
        That means if no else got it, we could expect 284,000 total deaths in the U.S.
        Now of course there are factors that will influence that number.
        We could certainly assume that the medical community is doing a better job of keeping people alive then they were at the begining of this disease, when they had little knowledge and limited ppe’s.
        But Andrew’s comment reflects his willful ignorance and ideologically based beliefs.
        The point is– masks work, Social distancing works, washing hands works and not being stupid works.
        Unfortunately, many southern red states choose to not read that memo. They choose to follow their great leader while drunk on the trump kool aid .

        • Don, all good points about stats. That is one thing I’ve seen missed here since the beginning — some forget that none of this is instant. When they see photos from the same day of maskless crowds, they argue that it’s not an issue because the numbers still look “good”. As if what we do today would be reflected in official counts already. They demand consistency from science but don’t respect the lengthy process. We are at that point where the deaths will never be enough to satisfy some because they’ve made up their minds to ignore it. I saw a Tolstoy quote today that read, “A man cannot get rid of responsibility for his own actions.” BS’s post below tells me some sure will try. Lazy and selfish can be fatal qualities. Unfortunately, it’s others who pay the price.

    • Andrew– the current mortality rate in the united states is 11 % — if that is way down, we are “fenced”. You ask me to provide statistics– so here we have them .\
      Other ‘developed ” countries have lower rates
      Ian for example, as i know how you despise them — 5 %
      even Venezuela, which you and you buddies hold up as a failed socialist country only has a mortality rate of about 3 % ( you have to do the math on this one–(good luck )
      The world wide average is about 8 %
      so why are you praising the U.S for such a dismal statistic ?

        • Andrew- is my 11% number “sheer nonsense” based on the fact that you habitually deny all factual information that does not fit your narrow horse blinder reality ?
          I provided a link to the statistics, if you bothered to look, and provided a rational explanation as to why I think that particular metric should be a way to gauge the actual death rate. It’s not even from CNN.
          Your complete disregard for actual facts is beyond deplorable.
          Some people are so naive that they will actually believe some of your and your ilks lies, and will wind up dying because of it.
          We know you have no shame, but you could perhaps try to develop some self awareness as to the consequences of your words ?

    • Andrew, are you claiming you are not among the most vulnerable? Your admitted age in this newspaper from 6 years ago was either 70 or 72, making you now 76 or 78, depending on if you believe the Times or you. ([m going with the Times.) That’s really up there where deaths are most likely if you contract the illness. How did you manage to travel from Florida to Minneapolis for your 3 weeks of clandestine work? As far as how misinformed you are about jumping on the Pence idiocy bandwagon about the death rate, give it a few weeks. The only good news in your post, is that you are not trying to make a wager about how many more Americans are going to die from these enormous surges and overfull ICU’s. Every medical expert expects the deathrate to soar from these latest surges. Trump and Pence are trying to pretend (lie) that the worst is behind us. This of course makes every deplorable exit his stay-at-home basket without wearing a mask or keeping distant. Believing Trump and Pence, liars to the nth, is what cult followers do for themselves, and then try to pass on this idiocy to the rest us. The “rest of us” are tired, though, tired of the lack of decency, capable leadership, and compassion from this Trump world. Former die-hard supporters will not be voting Trump/Pence in November. Any person of faith who supports Trump is not a person of faith– unless devil worship is your thing.

      • Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man ——-who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator. She has turned away; she has become useless. She never does good, not a single time, Her throat is an open tomb; With her tongue she has practiced deceit. The poison of asps is under her lips and a mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Her feet are swift to shed blood. Destruction and misery are in her ways. And the way of peace she has not known. There is no fear of God before her eyes.’’

        • Andrew– your seemingly misogynistic rant about something concerning some woman with snakes doesn’t really have much to do with the topic at hand. If you think it does, could you please enlighten me as to how ?
          Perhaps you could go back to your drawing board to try to explain yourself.
          And, by the way, you are likely committing blasphemy by misquoting and rearranging the words of scripture in such a hacked up way to try to get across whatever your point was.
          You should just stick to denying reality and making things up.
          The Flying Spaghetti Monster will be more merciful on you later if you do . Although there is no statute about heresy in the Pastafarian religion, you are disrespecting most of His Noodlynesse’s eight ” I’d really rather you didn’ts”

          • SEEMINGLY misogynistic rant? Lol, Don. From my point of view, since the rant is in reply to my comment, (and my reply to Andrew did not see the light of day) when Andrew gets very angry and frustrated at being outed and called to task for all his misdeeds and untruths on these pages, he has a tantrum and we get a mishmash bible rant. Last time he plagiariazed a christian magazine article. People of honor and of true faith do not behave this way.

    • You Red State Reps know that Trump’s reelection depends on the state of our economy.
      Not the number of Covid – 19 deaths.
      Dead people do not vote, very often.

  4. Frankly, this sounds expensive. Is there additional funding to accomplish this mandate? What will happen if districts are non-compliant?

    • “New information will emerge. That means science IS working, via self-correction and free of politics. ”

      Oh, my dear, if only!
      This issue has been almost completely politicized. You haven’t noticed?
      You seem to be fairly well informed, so I wonder how you can think that a lively scientific debate is being aired. One Nobel winner winners does not a debate make, when many other equally prominent establishment experts are canceled. Not to even speak of information coming from alternative health practitioners.

      Indeed your comment is full of statements that reflect conviction, not the results of an actual scientific debate.
      Your comment is replete with transparent attempts to ascribe to me views that I have not expressed.
      Such as, just one, “I think it makes it easier for you to deny COVID-19.” Huh?

      Regarding the use of “case” for those who test positive, check your sources.

      Accept that your own views are based on a narrow spectrum of information.

        • Sorry, this is a response to Aquinnah. Not sure how it landed here. My glitch I am sure.
          But while we’re at it, let’s have a good discussion of the lockdown rationale from a genuine expert, Dr. Knut Wittkowski (25 years head of Rockefeller U epidemiology), who like many others of his calibre, has been canceled by Google and other platforms):

          There is so much disinformation and misunderstanding and complacent “superior” lecturing around here, it would be laughable if . . .

          As for guilt tripping, I can do that too! You “just don’t care” about millions who are losing their livelihoods, basically for nothing. You “just don’t care” about the elderly who are being virtually imprisoned far longer than necessary, for no long-term gain, to their very real detriment. You “just don’t care” about all of those who will end up with cancers of various kinds, and other conditions, and perhaps die of them because they couldn’t get screened or biopsied or examined and diagnosed (these deaths are already mounting). You “just don’t understand” that you are playing god, determining which deaths are not acceptable (according to you) and which are. You seem to be blissfully unaware of the concept of any kind of cost benefit analysis in this complex situation. You “just don’t care” to grasp the fact that the only long-term solution and response is herd immunity, and the faster we get there, the better for everyone.

  5. We are going to have a massive second wave in the fall and schools will be shut down, so don’t worry about these hopeless plans. Thank the hopeless national response from our President for that and please shelter in place, wear masks, wash your hands a lot, and take care of yourself and your family.

    • A massive second wave? Just like we we’re going to run out of respirators, PPE and hospital beds with 2 million deaths! What nonsense. Hundreds of thousands of truck drivers, grocery workers, first responders, and health care workers have been going to work every day for the last 3 months. Don’t you think we’d see devastating statistics regarding these workers interacting with the public every day id this was truly a dangerous virus? Let it go, the facts won, you lost.

      • 125,000+ deaths is a “devastating statistic!” You can thank those of us who continue to practice distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, etc., that it isn’t a worse disaster.

        • Thanks for staying locked up, the rest of us are living our lives. Sorry if you get sick. It wasn’t intentional. Just like if my tire blew out on my car and accidentally crashed into you , or if I unknowingly gave you a cold or the flu. Life’s a gamble. Covid or not everyday of our lives we roll the dice when we go out into the world. You have a choice in life, I hope you enjoy it.

          • So what you’re saying, BS, is that if he dies, he dies. Touching. I liked it better coming from Ivan Drago. At least that guy managed to be entertaining while cold.

          • It’s more like barreling into the car in front of you because they are going slow and you think you’re too good for the brake…

          • Bs- let run with your tire analogy. If you know your tires are worn out and unsafe but drive on them anyway because you don’t want to spend the money you are responsible for the accident.

      • bs– you comment is unbelievably naive — trump said that it would all go away by April– Andrew told us the U.S would never get close to a thousand deaths– and even got me to risk my hard earned money on a “dollars for death” wager. He never had any intention of paying if he lost anyway, so that is emblematic of the entire “conservative” cultural morass they have spun. Andrew speaks of the “poison of asps is under her lips”. How ironic …
        Where do you get the idea that we liberals were expecting 2 million deaths?
        It’s wonderful that you and you’re ilk can just pull numbers out of the air and claim “the liberals” said this or that, and never have to assume any accountability for such outlandish lies. have you no shame or sense of accountability for your words ?
        If you think Andrew “won” on his wager with me — long pause and deep breath here– you really need to take a better look at what is going on.
        You can thank the editor here for such a kind comment from me .

  6. Island Raised, I’m familiar with what constitutes a case. Not complex stuff. But this isn’t about me. It’s about trying not to fail these kids. If they went back to school without any precautions and someone got seriously ill, that would be unforgivable. We do not know enough about this condition yet:

    Differing professional opinions are typical, but I’m not seeing the degree of chaos you are. There are journals and med sites that have been as consistent as can be expected with a novel virus. Their recommendations for preventing transmission never changed much. As stated, the initial discouraging of masks was based on a lack of PPE, not their usefulness. Fauci confirmed.

    Your comments contain nothing in the way of facts or proof that masks are a danger, or that kids are no longer exposed to sufficient microbes. Just circular talk about how everyone else cannot grasp what you do. So tell us in your own words. What is science? I thought you cited four participants and a “crude” method to debunk masks before. Meanwhile, multiple studies have indicated they can help. I don’t have time right now to link them. Should the one I posted earlier end up being retracted, and that happens with, as I said, self-correcting guidelines, it will likely be because of the way masks were weighed against social distancing within the format. I see that point and agree both measures are necessary. We should not mislead. But to leap to masks being of no help, or even a danger, when they have a long history and you have zero data? That’s bold.

    Alternative practitioners are not often researchers. I never see them bother with the rules of causation. An example of one chiropractor’s bad advice starts at 19:11. If anyone has 37 minutes to spare, this is a decent video that balances out Plandemic.

    Seems the same people are pushing two opposing theories. Claim #1: Masks are a waste because they don’t filter or hold in anything. An empty social gesture. Claim #2: Masks are inner-biome-destroyin’ power shields worthy of the Starship Enterprise. They filter everything too well, causing children to become physically altered. In reality, masks are known to hold back some droplets, cutting down on some viral spread. Nothing wild. While there are a handful of kids for whom masks would be contraindicated, safe usage is common even among children with cancer.

    A face covering has many names. Some wear them daily for religious and cultural reasons. China uses them due to poor air quality. Yet I couldn’t find evidence of impaired immunity within these populations. Will keep looking. What I do know for sure is that masks have not killed half a million people, a number COVID-19 will hit this week. If you can find a study linking them to 500,000+ fatalities in a year, the risk outweighs the benefit. If not, please admit you are arguing to leave kids exposed based on suspicion.

    Of course politics are all over the handling of this. Politicians control resources and make decisions. The public reacts. I meant that they don’t determine historical knowledge of viruses and pandemics, or the way the U.S. has tracked excess deaths for decades, or the observing of how positive patients present in ICU. Or that other countries also find masks, etc. helpful. Biology and PPE existed before Trump became a source of disagreement. Much of what’s being recommended now falls in line with traditional wisdom.

    Jackie, I think that patience just took off out the window. ????

    • You are putting so many statements and views in my mouth that I honestly can’t be bothered to go over each one. I will respond to just one point. You accuse me of putting “science” in quos and interpret this to mean that I don’t believe in science or some such. That is 180 wrong. I put “the science” in quos, in a specific context in which I think my meaning is clear.Many politicians refer to following “the science,” as though this were one clear set of info. That is not realistic. Actually there is considerable disagreement on virtually all aspects of this disease and the correct policies that flow from the available data. Much of which is worthless, because utterly inconsistently defined and gathered. You yourself veer between lecturing me on what science means—a process of testing different hypotheses—and stating that actually a consensus has been reached on the science of covid-19 and policy that would flow from that. So you don’t seem to know whether you think “the science” is settled or not.

      I prefer to inform myself by learning from actual scientists than to your partial understandings.

      • Island Raised, what you prefer to do is ignore facts in favor of weak ad homs. You skipped over addressing inflammatory disease in children when that alone should be enough to make you reconsider the criticism of how schools are proceeding. The studies are ongoing where this is concerned. There is an obligation to protect kids in the meantime. No expert who observes the method could disagree.

        I don’t feel superior for promoting common sense. The exact opposite. It continues to mess with my head that such simple steps are smugly rejected. That basic biology is twisted. Precisely *because* I assume everyone is equally capable of seeing the need for caution.

        Many of us never wanted a lockdown. There were better options available in the early days. Some of us care about the virus, finances, and non-COVID medical needs at once. We even said so here. Imagine that. But this is what you end up with when a government cuts a vital budget and wastes months of prep time. A no-win. You can have the best scientists & economists working together on plans. It won’t matter if the shot caller fails to act.

        If you know what herd immunity would entail for this particular virus, then I shouldn’t have to tell you why some of us strongly object. If we found out tomorrow that masks and distancing only help a tad, I would still support those small efforts over no effort.

        That’s all. Take care.

        • Ajay, the link to an interview posted by Island Raised farther up the thread should answer your question on what kind of science we are talking about. Read the beginning, at least. Note his telling take on HIV. He also insists this is just another flu.

          • Yep, Aquinnah, you sure have the chops to judge the assessments of the head of the Epidemiology Department at Rockefeller U and other leading epidemiologists (NB: epidemiology is the study of epidemics). Perfect example of how someone with an agenda to defend ignores the actual process of science while deeming herself an enlightener of the great unwashed. Note also the implication that Aquinnah cares more about children than people who challenge her ideas.

          • Caring about children is the only reason I responded to your nonsense in depth at all. I’m sure my replies wouldn’t make sense to anyone who missed what you posted under another article. I saw it. Hard to forget that “science” and politics. And the man you’re pushing on us is merely giving his opinion. Which he can do. But no studies. No proof. Not even a definition of the flu that matches up with major universities. Meanwhile, the Mayo Clinic has to actually STUDY inflammation in kids before they boldly declare the cause as known. That’s the process. You have such low standards that you seem to miss how how claimed AIDS never hit the hetero population in Europe. Turns out he meant the Caucasian population. I hate when I accidentally conflate race with orientation and real predictive success. I hope everyone read that dribble.

    • “Never argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ~Mark Twain
      Aquinnah, that’s my view also, although it’s hard not to get caught up. It’s the spreading of dangerous and false information here that needs to be corrected, and I thank you for doing it and doing it far more respectfully than I am able.

      • You and Mark are very right, Jackie. ???????? I think this chat hit me particularly hard (aka rambly) because children are involved. It’s difficult to see anyone ignore the possibility of unfolding inflammation while criticizing protective steps. Sometimes I can’t decide between countering it or saying the Serenity Prayer. I watched Plandemic and feared discussions would head further south. At least Baker and the schools are being cautious. This is such a mess.

        • There are two kinds of people. The kids who grab an apple from the neighbor’s tree and the old person yelling “hey you kids get away from my apple tree” I choose to grab the apple. You and your Republican Charlie Baker fans like Jackie and Don Don are the cranky old folks.

          • So what are the apples? The health of others? If so, yeah, get off our lawns. I thought your crew objected to looting.

            I’m not old. What I am is sick of the entitlement, which you just admitted to. It’s always been my belief that you should do as you please, no matter how awesomely weird, as long as it harms no one else. Contagious disease doesn’t fit that motto.

            My 72-year-old friend and neighbor has three other risk factors and no choice but to work in a busy spot. Both to provide the Island with a necessary service and to pay for his wife’s care. I worry for him daily. He shouldn’t have to accept that some won’t lift a finger to keep him safe. He then goes home and wonders if he will be responsible for making his wife worse. Do you understand the strain of that? Of course not. You preach hollow words about enjoying life without considering the most vulnerable already do. That’s why they’d like to stay healthy. If you were really a positive and life-affirming person, you’d support this.

          • There exist many, many children who do not steal. They were raised to respect other people’s property and not to entitle themselves to take it. Thank you for confirming how you were raised, even though it’s been obvious since you typed your first comment.

        • Aquinnah, you are a warrior.
          “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” —Angela Davis

  7. This should just be explained to everyone that this is temporary. Once the vaccine is discovered things will return to normal. Sacrifice by the kids and public is necessary until this is whipped. Masks are very uncomfortable, even dangerous working where you have to see what you are doing. I wont wear one on a bike but if they werent necessary I wouldnt wear one. The economy wont return if we have to wear them.

    • When will the vaccine be discovered?
      How effective will it be?
      (After being vaccinated how many people will die of Covid – 19.)
      Will it’s efficacy be a function of age and underlying conditions?
      How long will the immunity last?
      What will the side effects be of this yet to be discovered vaccine?
      (There is no free lunch, what will be the death rate from vaccination.)

      Like everything on God’s green earth this virus will continue to evolve.

      • There is no shortage of 18-25 yr olds willing to be tested. I have faith a vaccine is coming soon. We cant afford a second round of hand outs so we will just have to sacrifice and wear the masks till the time comes.

  8. Why hasn’t our Republican governor that people like Jackie and Aquinnah and Dondon so adore not taken steps to educate the public on how will can build up our immune systems. Shouldn’t this be paramount in our efforts to fight the virus? Nothing but crickets.

    • I don’t adore Baker, BS. I disagreed with some of his pandemic decisions. But anyone who is going to take health within our schools seriously will get no criticism from me at the moment. You make a good point about boosting immunity. I mentioned it earlier. It’s something I have experience with, and I don’t know why it hasn’t been discussed in more depth lately. But it wouldn’t replace other steps we’re taking. It’s just a puzzle piece.

      • People with strong immune systems are still getting very sick. Blood type is thought to have something to do with it. BS spreads so much dangerous, non-factual information, Id not encourage anything he says. He invalidated himself from the beginning, so he is responsible for no one respecting even a reasonable question from him. Boosting immunity with eating well and exercising is always important, but wearing masks, washing hands and keeping distances are what we know helps. A vaccine would also help, but science tells us we will not have one, if at all, until more than a year from now. Besides, idiots are already saying they will not get one when and if one does exist.

        • Jackie, definitely true that immune boosting cannot and should not replace any effort to contain the virus. There are people who will end up with severe COVID no matter how healthy they start off. It should also be noted that those with autoimmune disease can’t use some immune-boosting methods, especially without medical guidance, which is probably why there is no one-size-fits-all advice. There are some positive and interesting connections being looked into with vitamins C and D, which is where my head went, but I didn’t mean to imply we can do away with safety protocol. Was tired from work when I replied and may not have been clear about what I meant by piece of the puzzle. Sorry.

    • Bs– Since when is it on the governor to tell people how to build up their immune systems ?
      so lets say the governor actually does recommend these things :

      Don’t smoke.
      Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
      Exercise regularly.
      Maintain a healthy weight.
      If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
      Get adequate sleep.
      Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.

      do you think if everyone followed these guidelines they would be immune from covid ?
      You know, it is widely accepted as fact in many underdeveloped countries that if a man has sex with a virgin, he will never get Aids.
      So what educational criteria would you have the governor use ?
      Perhaps he should follow the president and hawk hydroxychloroquine, which is not recommended by most health care professionals, and is even considered pretty dangerous. Or perhaps he should recommend one of the thousands of miracle products that are on line.
      We know if he actually promoted the guidelines I cite above, he would be mocked my the likes of yourself, Andrew , TQ and BS as being the “nanny”governor .
      I can hear the outcry already ;
      How dare he tell us not to smoke, drink, or eat ourselves into obesity. Exercise ??? are you kidding me ?
      I want my fat arse to be firmly planted on my couch while I drink beer, eat cheetos and watch a baseball game in a stadium filled with unmasked fans. This is ‘merica after all, and us freedumb lovin hicks don’t want no poli-tishians tellin us whut we kan do.
      No sir re Bob, we had enough of the former fist “lady” tellin us we shud feed our kids —“vegetables” yuks–I hates vegtabls and i ain’t gonn let no woman tell me whut to do feed my kids– ‘specially THAT won.

      So, Bs– what do you think the governor should tell us?
      And would you listen ?
      Have the “nanny state” government officials not been telling us for years ways to improve our health ?
      have we listened ?
      The virgin theory seems more suited for most maga Americans.
      Hey, if it works for aids– how can you argue with that ?
      But remember, the virgins must be consenting adults..

    • Build our immune system to contain the spread? Do you have any wish at all to inform yourself and therefore arm yourself and others against being a spreader? Aquinnah can’t help you BS. No one can. The only thing that will affect you is if you or a loved one become terribly sick. I don’t wish that on you, but it is all that can help people like you. Your ignorance is as much a menace to our community as are the selfish antivaxxer crowd who rely on everyone else to cover their own behind. Willful ignorance, downright stupidity, and a blind selfishness have led to the virus being so bad in this country that the months of quarantine by the educated and careful are now out the window. People like you are led by the nose by Trump.

  9. I can’t keep up with all the misinformation being displayed here. First, Island Raised is wrong about herd immunity. The Rockefeller U guy’s blog he linked, has been debunked and Rockefeller University has issued its own statement, distancing itself from the opinions of Knut Whatshisname. Bluster and posturing do not make anyone sound intellectual. Second, Sara Croft is wrong to state that it is unhealthy for healthy children over the age of 4 or 5 to wear a clean mask every day for several hours. There is absolutely no evidence of this, but there are ignorant parents who incorrectly carry on all over the internet about CO2 and how they will not send their children to school with masks. Good. Keep them home and home-school them, just like all the anti-vaxxers should be forced into doing. Doctors have debunked this CO2 nonsense time and again. Third, BS is BS.

    Sorry if the USA Today article is not academic enough for those who fancy themselves “smart”, but it will have to do for this discussion. Also, Knut Whatshisname is a FORMER bio-statistics guy at RU.
    People who carry on about herd immunity and alternative medicine, while ignoring what’s been working and working well (see NYC) sound very much like anti-vaxxers to me– those selfish, ignorant parents of healthy kids who are willing to threaten and endanger all those at-risk chidren, and now adults, who cannot medically tolerate vaccines. These are the parents who are willing to sacrifice other people’s children (and now, grandparents) so that their precious offspring do not have to endure anything that may be uncomfortable.

    Kids need to wear masks. Adults need to wear masks. The longer people refuse to take the simplest steps, the longer we will have shutdowns all over the country. Do your part.

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