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Baker: Decision on whether to close schools for the rest of the school year could come soon

COVID-19 Update: April 17, 2020

At his daily press conference today, Gov. Baker said he will announce a decision on whether to order public schools shut for the remainder of the school year "shortly."

Baker said that to date, local school officials he's talked to would, "if we had a magic wand, which we don't," prefer to have kids come back to school before the end of the school year, both to have them take tests to help determine their placement and classes for school in the fall and to get everybody settled and talk about what's going on and what will happen.

But he acknowledged that Covid-19 might make that impossible, depending on how things continue to progress with it - and that he realizes he's going to have to make a decision soon.

Walsh added that, so far, the build up of the state's hospital system, which has included adding beds at both existing hospitals and at temporary field hospitals, has worked. Even with a continued surge in both people testing positive and people needing hospitalization, overall, the state's hospitals continue to have spare beds.

He said a key factor in planning the extra capacity was to ensure that people with heart attacks, strokes and other non-Covid problems could continue to get care.

Baker also said he hopes that if the federal government enacts another stimulus program, that part of it includes a major increase in funding for the FDA and the CDC, because both are critical for both ramping up testing and coordinating work on possible vaccines and medications to fight the virus.

Baker also announced that while his daughter is a Whole Foods shopper, he's more of a Stop & Shop shopper. Exactly why he declared this wasn't clear, it may have had something to do with the issue of supermarket workers getting sick and dying, but it was in response to a reporter's question and, unlike Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Baker never repeats reporters' questions for people who might be watching online. His response to another reporter's question that was inaudible on the broadcast was, in its entirety: "We've discussed that, yeah."

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Comments

1) There is no way Charlie Baker is a Stop & Shop shopper. No friggin way. That's hilarious.

2) WTF is the issue with Charlie not repeating or restating the questions? It's so easy, and so necessary. It's also standard operating procedure if the reporters are not mic'd. I wrote 10, yes 10 emails to Charlie on this subject, one for every day I watched or listened to his pandemic press conferences. I stopped at 10. Today would be 13. There is a lot of good information at these press conferences but it all falls apart at the Q&A session. Some of my favorite answers to questions I couldn't hear so far over the last two weeks are "yes" , "yup", "maybe", "I'm not going to do that" and today's comment noted above by Adam.

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F-you. If you have an actual opinion we should respect and consider you should identify yourself. Otherwise keep it to yourself. If you feel you are important enough to have the Governor change his behavior to suit your request you could at least let us know who the F you are.

Anons should not be permitted to post. Sorry Adam. Just my 2 cents.

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Ok terrapin
IF THAT IS EVEN YOUR REAL NAME

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I bet he's just an Eastern Box turtle putting on airs.

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A turtle with thumbs...who has been posting here for years.

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According to sources terrapins can have both hinged and unhinged plastrons. I think we all know what kind of plastron our Uhub terrapin has.

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Hi Terri
I am the anon that’s got you all riled up this time. However virtually everyone here is anonymous including you. There are very few exceptions, like John Keith , Pat Payaso, and Doug Bennett back in the day. And we’re only 99% sure that they are real. That’s how the internet works.
Yes I am aware you have a registered nom de plume and thus a “body of work”, which includes numerous expletive filled rants about anons . But the fact remains you are still anonymous.
If you disagree with my opinion, I suggest you post your disagreement without attacking me for being anon.
Sincerely
A real anon not an anonymous turtle

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Anonymous Testudines should not be allowed to post.

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No reasonable person in the education field has believed we would go back this year since, at the very latest, reopening was pushed from district-decided dates (April 7 for us) to May 4th.

We need to start prepping for next year rather than sitting here and talking about "IF we come back this year..."

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My overall impression of Baker's public performance and my feeling about the decisions and actions in response to this crisis is largely positive.

But for someone who is such a good public speaker, how can he not be repeating the questions? Does he not think this is important? He has to know that both members of the press and the public are watching from elsewhere. Several of his briefings have even been aired live on C-SPAN (or aired recorded later in the day.) And clearly the national media is paying attention to Massachusetts.

I don't think anyone would suggest that Marty Walsh is the worlds greatest public speaker but he repeats the questions before answering and that is important.

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But don't you miss Menino?

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When the post came out earlier today about the sound trucks, I started thinking about the Logan Airport welcome message you hear on the people-movers going to and from Central Parking. I think there must be enough archived Menino audio to program a speech synthesizer to have it be his voice driving through the neighborhoods.

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You know, sometimes I do. Both Walsh and Menino possess a certain passion for the city. Even when you couldn't understand a damn thing, you know each of them meant whatever they were saying.

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[Duplicate post]

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Even if they come back this year (which they probably shouldn’t and won’t) how the hell can you justify testing them? The unpacking of what just happened and reviewing what they’ve been doing should be the only thing on the agenda. I for one welcome a return to the days where the teacher knew who should go where vs some standardized test. What a stupid idea to give kids standardized tests coming off of this.

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Um...you realize that we're not talking about standardized testing AT ALL, right? With all due respect, you're kind of raging about nothing. MCAS has already been cancelled for the year. Baker acknowledges, however, that there is a need in many schools to conduct some kind of placement test, assessment, or task to place kids for next year.

To give an example: where I teach, history classes are semester-long. The current group of students I taught, I had them for just over a month before we closed. In terms of where students should be placed next year, I can say with certainty where half of them should go, but the other half ranges from "I could make a guess" to "I have no fucking clue what class this kid should take next year." We now have to deal with a lot of "what ifs" and making guesses based on a month of information (and wondering what six months of no school will do for their English acquisition), which is never a good way to make a placement decision.

I do not think we should go back to school this year. But I also feel a notable amount of anxiety about placements for next year that will set students up for success. We can't wait until kids come back to school to make these decisions, unfortunately. We will all have to adjust our classes to take six months of lost English into account, but some of my students were only just starting to get into the groove and show their true selves (for better or for worse).

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MCAS is cancelled. SATs and AP tests are going to be online. Schools that are doing online classes are also doing online tests.

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Globe is reporting that the teachers’union has come to a deal regarding remote teaching. Im taking this as a very strong sign that schools will remain closed for the year.

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I agree that school won't reopen (am a teacher, but in Chelsea and not BPS), but reading through the Globe article it sounds as if their MOU is about the very basics of what our district is calling "the final stage" of remote learning (per the memo sent by DESE on March 26th) that lays out expectations for staff members.

In other words, it sounds like the BTU and BPS are only -just- agreeing on what most districts have been operating on for 2-3+ weeks now. I am not surprised given what I have heard about the administrative sluggishness of BPS and what I witnessed going through the hiring process there.

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Interesting that we close schools for flus that kill the old while we don’t close them for flus that kill kids. Shows who counts.

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Kids are affected by this virus. They are not immune.

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I'd show you the difference in the mortality rate of COVID-19 and influenza, but it would be a waste of my time given how stupid you have demonstrated yourself to be.

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I think you will find out I was right about a lot of things.

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To the CDC stats on that. Of course, there is the issue of how widespread the disease is, but as of the date of this page, coronavirus has killed 15 kids under 24 (and only 3 ages 14 and under. Flu has killed over 100 ages 24 and under. It's not zero, but coronavirus seems to pose very little risk to healthy people under 20 and limited risk to healthy people up to about age 40. Then the numbers start to shift. Underlying health issues are of course a huge complicating factor (Van Jones was adding hypertension to the usual list of suspects which may be a reason it's hitting communities of color so hard).

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/COVID19/index.htm

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If all kids went to boarding schools, removed from their parents and the rest of society maybe they'd be and argument for reopening schools without widespread testing. But as it stands, kids go home to their middle aged parents and are taught by middle aged teachers. And we don't know what the long-term affects of the virus are, even if there's no outward symptoms.

The fix is widespread testing, something that that Trump administration is unable or unwilling to help with. If the US was testing millions of people per day, much of society could reopen with some limits.

Once again this is how Trump fucked up by not preparing for this eventually and still not doing what needs to be done. The states can't handle this alone.

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I had never heard so many people concerned about the dangerous of influenza before this pandemic started. The fact is that we have vaccines for influenza (yes, it's a guessing game each year on which strains will be most prevalent, but there is benefit from these vaccines even when they are not fully effective.) and there are effective treatments for influenza. Not to mention that many people have some previous immune response to influenza, which just like a mismatched flu vaccine, does help your body fight off a future infection.

If you want to address the dangers of influenza, you should do your part by getting a flu shot every year. Everyone should. We typically see just under 50% nationwide for flu shots and just like most other public health data sets, there is a significant disparity between flu vaccination coverage between white and non-white populations.

A novel virus, that has caused a global pandemic, for which there is no vaccine, nor treatment nor natural immunity in any population is a very different situation from influenza and the response to it needs to be significantly different.

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One more point that I haven't seen anyone point out, at least not highlighting is that "the flu" or influenza is not a single virus.

It's a collection of several closely related viral strains that circulate around the globe roughly correlating with seasonal changes. So "the flu" kills X number of people every year, but those deaths are not all from a single influenza virus. The current pandemic is a single, previously unseen and unknown virus causing the growing number of deaths.

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There is a vaccine for influenza.

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But based on worldwide data, covid19 is far more contagious than the flu.

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Yes, it's more dangerous in the elderly. A schoolchild is unlikely to die from COVID-19, but the thing about children that age is, they live with grown-ups and spend a lot of time together, and a lot of the people getting sick from this are parents of underage children.

You can keep your children away from their grandparents, and you as an old person can stay away from children during flu season. If the schools were open, children would be bringing the virus home to their parents.

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I'm going to say something scary here ...

There are VACCINES for the flu! (dun dun)

Somebody get the fainting couch ... Jennie clutched her pearls so hard that she passed out.

Oh, and infected but asymptomatic isn't herd immunity honey.

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It's Ms. Gluten Free Racist again. Still think black people are more likely to get coronavirus because their diet is bad?

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I could've sworn I banned Ms. R earlier. I must not have hit submit after changing her user status to "blocked." I was more careful this time.

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She definitely posts controversial opinions.
But I think your original reason for blocking her was that she claimed New York's hospitals were not overwhelmed. In fact, Cuomo said exactly that in a press conference this week. Hat tip to the New York hospital workers on that one.

Your site your call, and I don't pay her a lot of attention. However, in that case at least (I think it was her), she was actually posting factual information that the rest of the gang was disputing.

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I don't get all the hostile reaction to the post. Before HIV was AIDS it was GRID ("Gay Related"). It wasn't until straight people started spreading it that government took it seriously. If COVID was more hazardous for the young than the old, who knows how the government would be reacting today.

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If COVID was more hazardous for the young than the old, who knows how the government would be reacting today.

There are no children in government. Remember where you are. As with most things in the US, and especially the current administration, it's about money. If the Trump crime family thought there was a way to make more money from shutdowns, they'd be pushing shutdowns. They've decided there isn't, so they're pushing an end to shutdowns.

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A mother of 4 kids who has kids in school and daycare. I would be so afraid for them to go out again not knowing if they would be exposed to people that show no symptoms. I think I would keep them home for the rest of the year. You still have people out there that are not taking this virus serious. My kids need me and I need them.

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It was reported, On Friday, Baker said the “vast majority” of local leaders want students to return at some point this year to settle in and talk about next year and for competency testing to identify any gaps in learning tied to students being out of school for weeks.

"SETTLE IN' long enough to catch the virus and spread to their parents, grandparents. HUH???? No need for this.

This comment is nonsensical as it is not safe being in a school in Boston during this time. The students have engaged in remote learning and are in a routine. Why did he say this?? I don't understand why he would even think to send us all back into schools with the high rate of the virus in MA, especially Boston and they are not sure of it's transmission. We are already working on staying safe with social distancing, why would leaders want students and teachers to return to likely get sick. This academic gap is not higher than the risk of students and teachers health.

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