Students, teachers prepare to return to classrooms

Ronnie Hotdogs

Registered
My
You go on and on about how Argentina is one of the worst performing countries in the world (it's your major contribution to the COVID threads), so yes, I get that you're happy to see it get worse. Let me go through the list of occupations you mention (I wasn't able to parse your second paragraph, sorry)
  • Doctors and nurses use (or should be using) protective clothing and equipment.
  • Waiters have short interactions with customers, and are generally working outdoors at the moment.
  • Checkout operators are behind perspex shields in all the supermarkets I've been in.
Teachers will generally not have PPE, will mostly be in not very well ventilated classrooms having all-day interaction with groups of 10-15 kids, and not from behind perspex shields either. Your comparisons fail.

BTW, the kids, depending on their ages, will not be wearing masks (or wearing them like the kid in the photo here: https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/argentina/schools-in-argentina-finally-re-open-doors-for-students.phtml). So much for protocols in schools...
How many children do you have in school?
 

FrankPintor

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We could cut this short by noting that the most important recommendation coming for example from https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/11/10-simple-rules-surviving-pandemic-holidays/617122/ is "Don’t spend time indoors with people outside your household", and from https://english.elpais.com/society/2020-10-28/a-room-a-bar-and-a-class-how-the-coronavirus-is-spread-through-the-air.html for a group of 6 people indoors "The risk of infection drops to below one when the group uses face masks, shortens the length of the gathering by half and ventilates the space used".

Neither of these recommendations is possible in a classroom scenario. The comparisons you used fail. Argument over. But since you do go on...

  • Doctors and nurses rarely wear more than a mask. Not sure if you have been to a hospital, GP or dentist since the start of the pandemic? For example:
    • In Sanatorio Mater Dei even the general doctors, nurses, nuns and receptionists are just walking around wearing simple surgical masks while dentists wear what they always have.
    • At the GP office or hospital consultorio the doctor sits opposite you wearing a surgical mask. No perspex in between - nada.
    • Often these people work in poorly ventilated environments where the only air circulation is A/C - such as a basement hospital lab open to the public with a waiting room attached (in a hospital that accommodates with COVID cases...)
  • Waiters work 5-8 hour shifts with hundreds of anonymous people every day and have no way of ever knowing if they have been exposed or not. Let alone other diners who have been less than 2 meters away from groups of other people for 20-60 minutes or more. This includes interior spaces with A/C which are from my observation just about as popular as outdoor areas. The amount of people inside a class-room sized restaurant while not wearing masks and talking loudly can easily surpass 20.
  • Checkout operators in Dia breath the same air that gets circulated by A/C despite those perspex shields as all of those anonymous shoppers, plus handling items touched by others countless times a day.
  • Entry to hospitals, restaurants and (big) supermarkets usually comes with a temperature check and basic social distancing arrangements but little else to support contact tracing in case it is needed.
  • Most of these workers need to use crowded public transport to get to work (which have less protocols than a school bus that requires the temperature of each passenger to be taken before boarding.)
How exactly do the comparisons fail? I understand in schools the protocols include "isolating" students into bubbles so if one gets sick, all contacts can be traced and put into precautionary isolation. That's already arguable more valuable than what most of the above groups get.
So I'm to respond to examples you pick where protocols aren't being observed and useless checks are being implemented?
  • Yes, I have been to the dentist since the pandemic started, the dentist used a mask, gloves, and overalls. Hospitals (e.g. Hospital Italiano) are supposed to have 3 levels of protection depending on the potential exposure to COVID. Level 1 includes gloves and overalls.
  • Restaurants are supposed to keep tables 2m apart, not use more than 25% of the indoor capacity, and ensure adequate ventilation (not air conditioning).
  • Virus transmission via surfaces is not considered to be a major factor in virus transmission
  • Temperature checks are pointless for pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic cases


THE PROTOCOL

It is implemented according to the reality of each school. The use of face masks and taking the temperature when entering are common measures to all. It is a detailed protocol with guidelines to guarantee careful presence, such as:
  • The entrance to the schools will be done in a staggered manner, every 10 minutes.
  • The bubbles will be the grade, room, course or year.
  • The social distance will be at least 1.5 meters and for that the furniture was redistributed.
  • Upon entering, all the kids' temperature will be taken and their hands will be cleaned with alcohol gel.
  • The mask will be mandatory from five onwards and acetate masks will be given to teachers.
  • Air renewal is key. Therefore, the doors and windows will be kept open.
  • There will be breaks, but without contact between the different bubbles. They can be staggered or in different spaces.
  • Some activities, such as physical education and music classes, will have their specific protocol.
  • Major events, including the start of classes, are suspended for the moment.
As for Argentina failing in the rankings, some people may prefer to pretend they live in a safe and well organised little bubble here in Argentina where one can just trust the government to keep them safe with drastic and dramatic acts. But that is just not true. The numbers speak for themselves despite all the political blah blah blah and blame games we have endured to get to this point. Yet some still need reminding.
As previously pointed out, temperature checks are useless, acetate masks are also considered ineffective, if the classrooms have windows that's very nice, but given the lack of investment in the education system over the past few years, many don't. That's half the protocol gone already. And this idea that classes for a bubble will be suspended and everyone should isolate if someone in the bubble has symptoms is just closing the door after the horse has bolted. It's a given that there will be parents who try to send their kids to school even if they have symptoms. Have you had anything to do with schools here recently?
 

FrankPintor

Registered
This is a report on the first day of school that rings true: https://www.pagina12.com.ar/324393-cronica-de-la-vuelta-a-la-presencialidad-de-la-mano-de-la-in. Looks like it's going well. The highlights:
  • "As we didn't know what to do because the schedule didn't arrive by mail, this morning we got up and brought our kid to school. Luckily, it was just his turn, so he had classes".
  • "Many schools have the same problem: the infrastructure is not prepared for ventilation, the purifiers were not installed with the filters and there are not enough masks".
  • "Kits did not arrive for all teachers, there is no alcohol dispenser or soap in the bathrooms. The school is not in good condition and classes started anyway".
 

FrankPintor

Registered
There's a report in Infobae as well if you prefer, but their team went to one single school in Palermo and seem to have asked very few questions. It's more like a picture essay compared to the Pagina 12 article.

Don't blame me, some guy here called Stan recommended Pagina 12.
 

antipodean

Registered
Trying to paint kids going back to school being somehow worse that the reality we have today in most public (and private) spaces or the ushering in of a COVID apocalypse just does not add up. In practice protocols are not perfectly applied in most places in this country, not just schools - thats why we still have COVID cases.

It especially does not add up when there is currently no scientific evidence to say otherwise (e.g. even long after other countries have gone back to school) and the scientific findings from ECDC that was mentioned earlier clearly states kids going to school is not a primary driver of transmission. All kids (over 5 or 95% of the school population?) will sit in classrooms with lower occupancy (10-15 kids instead of 20-30?) while wearing masks - unlike grown ups sit in restaurants with 20+ people without wearing masks. Or is there a fundamental difference that neither the ECDC or myself are seeing here about risk exposure?

If kids going back to school (or adults sitting in a clinic or restaurant with people from outside their household for that matter) is an issue that personally affects you and your loved ones as being an unacceptable risk then as I stated earlier - you should have the choice to keep yourselves locked up at home until this is all over. But if the majority of other people feel the risk of infection is acceptable to them and their families, which according to the BBC article mentioned earlier does not mean their kids of families face higher risk of severe illness nor are teachers more likely to become infected than any other type of worker in the UK, then they should go about their public activities and mitigate the risks as best they can given the reality they are living with. According to the evidence presented, it simply is not going to change much of anything - COVID will continue to be primarily spread by adults who do no respect, follow or care about proper protocols and those who just get unlucky despite their personal efforts. A second wave is likely to infect more people and winter is likely to make things worse - with or without schools in the equation.

Anecdotally some friends in France have their kids in school at the moment but a month back were instructed to self-isolate at home for 14 days as a precaution after a family member of another kid in their bubble was diagnosed with COVID. My friend's family and all other families in that bubble made it out alive and unscathed and apparently squashed a potential chain of transmission by self-isolating. Meanwhile the kids from the other bubbles continued to receive their education at school without interruption and no other cases have been reported at the school since.
 

FrankPintor

Registered
Trying to paint kids going back to school being somehow worse that the reality we have today in most public (and private) spaces or the ushering in of a COVID apocalypse just does not add up. In practice protocols are not perfectly applied in most places in this country, not just schools - thats why we still have COVID cases.

It especially does not add up when there is currently no scientific evidence to say otherwise (e.g. even long after other countries have gone back to school) and the scientific findings from ECDC that was mentioned earlier clearly states kids going to school is not a primary driver of transmission. All kids (over 5 or 95% of the school population?) will sit in classrooms with lower occupancy (10-15 kids instead of 20-30?) while wearing masks - unlike grown ups sit in restaurants with 20+ people without wearing masks. Or is there a fundamental difference that neither the ECDC or myself are seeing here about risk exposure?

If kids going back to school (or adults sitting in a clinic or restaurant with people from outside their household for that matter) is an issue that personally affects you and your loved ones as being an unacceptable risk then as I stated earlier - you should have the choice to keep yourselves locked up at home until this is all over. But if the majority of other people feel the risk of infection is acceptable to them and their families, which according to the BBC article mentioned earlier does not mean their kids of families face higher risk of severe illness nor are teachers more likely to become infected than any other type of worker in the UK, then they should go about their public activities and mitigate the risks as best they can given the reality they are living with. According to the evidence presented, it simply is not going to change much of anything - COVID will continue to be primarily spread by adults who do no respect, follow or care about proper protocols and those who just get unlucky despite their personal efforts. A second wave is likely to infect more people and winter is likely to make things worse - with or without schools in the equation.

Anecdotally some friends in France have their kids in school at the moment but a month back were instructed to self-isolate at home for 14 days as a precaution after a family member of another kid in their bubble was diagnosed with COVID. My friend's family and all other families in that bubble made it out alive and unscathed and apparently squashed a potential chain of transmission by self-isolating. Meanwhile the kids from the other bubbles continued to receive their education at school without interruption and no other cases have been reported at the school since.
You're hell-bent on selectively quoting from the ECDRC to support your personal point of view. Here, again, is the complete quote: "No evidence has been found to suggest that children or educational settings are the primary drivers of SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission. However, research has shown that children can become infected, and can spread the virus to other children and adults while they are infectious". The bold text is unambiguous.

And no, you are not the arbiter of any of our choices, nor do you get to dismiss the facts and analyses I referenced as some sort of personal issue.
 

FrankPintor

Registered
More information becoming available on this topic: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/feb/18/covid-infections-in-england-fall-by-two-thirds-but-spreading-fastest-among-young (Yes, for those whose eyes light up at the mention of Pagina 12, it's the Grauniad!!). 25% of children are apparently still attending school in the UK. The takeaways:
  • COVID infections in England fall by two-thirds but spreading fastest among young
  • Experts urge care over opening schools as children aged 5-12 now in one of most common groups for virus
  • ...the relatively high prevalence in younger children could be due to a greater proportion of this age group still attending school...infections could be picked up beyond the classroom, such as while collecting children from school.
And this appeared today in https://www.biobiochile.cl/:

1613654725256.png

I don't think Chile managed the pandemic well, and a lack of planning led to Chile buying a less effective vaccine, but you can see how they're moving teachers to the front of the queue so they can reopen schools more safely.

For all that COVID mutates and splits into variants, the way it spreads is entirely predictable. You really only need to be able to add 2+2 to predict what will happen in any given situation. I fail to understand why people want to argue differently.
 
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antipodean

Registered
Frank - the article states that cases in England have fallen by 2/3rds. That cases are spreading fastest amongst young people. Given the circumstance that’s “good“ news, no?

We all know young people are far far far less likely to have severe illness or complications than their grandparents. We know that most of their parents also will survive the illness without any major complications or needing hospitalization. Or is there another “big picture” that we are missing?

As per UN and WHO guidelines school attendance needs to be prioritized but adjusted in a fluid way as necessary according local sanitary conditions. At the moment in CABA we have ICU occupation around 50% (which is about a “normal” level even without a raging pandemic.) How will kids going to school suddenly make it an unmanageable situation?

The only other option, aside from rapid and mass vaccination, to avoid any risk of infection etc is to keep the entire population at home. Children humans spread virus just like adult humans spread it.
 

FrankPintor

Registered
Frank - the article states that cases in England have fallen by 2/3rds. That cases are spreading fastest amongst young people. Given the circumstance that’s “good“ news, no?

We all know young people are far far far less likely to have severe illness or complications than their grandparents. We know that most of their parents also will survive the illness without any major complications or needing hospitalization. Or is there another “big picture” that we are missing?
OK, I'll break it down:
  • Cases in England have fallen by 2/3rds - good news, we can guess it's because of the ongoing lockdown there, and possibly the vaccination program, nothing in particular to do with schools.
  • That cases are spreading fastest amongst young people - bad news. Worse news is that it's spreading specifically among schoolkids, and being transmitted to their families. Most people survive COVID, some don't. That's the big picture, I don't know why it's so difficult to see.
As per UN and WHO guidelines school attendance needs to be prioritized but adjusted in a fluid way as necessary according local sanitary conditions. At the moment in CABA we have ICU occupation around 50% (which is about a “normal” level even without a raging pandemic.) How will kids going to school suddenly make it an unmanageable situation?
You raise an interesting point. Let's take your example of CABA with currently 28.6% ICU occupancy. If you have better figures please share them, but I'm going to assume that ICU occupancy is correlated with active cases. After Christmas in CABA, active cases doubled in about a week. If that translates into ICU occupancy as I assume, CABA will run out of ICU beds in about 10 days if there's a similar surge again. That's what exponential growth does, and again, as I insist, it's entirely predictable virus behaviour.

The only other option, aside from rapid and mass vaccination, to avoid any risk of infection etc is to keep the entire population at home. Children humans spread virus just like adult humans spread it.
Mass vaccination is coming, but we need to be alive when it arrives. We don't need to take the risk of opening schools.
 
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