"Thank you management"

There is no safe way to have indoor dining without massive vaccine deployment, no matter how much you want someone pandering to you.

There is no safe way to have in-person classrooms without massive vaccine deployment, no matter how much you want a babysitter.

This is not rocket surgery.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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41 Responses:

  1. Dude says:

    Yeah, just ask all the fitness-bros who who had to learn the hard way.

    Just kidding - they didn't learn anything from it.

  2. Jacob says:

    It seems that the data on COVID transmission does not support the conclusion that reopening elementary and high schools is particularly unsafe.

    Virtual schooling for elementary and high school students is, however, substantially detrimental to social and educational progress, especially among populations with poor access to technology. And the Government isn’t going to provide everyone with high-speed data connections and computers, and it doesn’t matter, because virtual school just doesn’t work as well for the kiddies.

    In person vs. remote schooling is not just an issue of childcare, it’s one of the general long term development, both socially and educationally, of the children. Kids who don’t have a good educational foundation early tend not to be able to make it up later.

    • jwz says:

      You know who else has long term developmental problems? Dead kids.

      • Jacob says:


        Second paragraph in:
        “ Children are less likely to develop severe illness or die from COVID-19.6,12-15 Nonetheless, 203 COVID-19 deaths among persons ages 0–18 have been reported to the National Center for Health Statistics through January 27, 2021.”

        203 deaths of people under 18 out of 500,000 total COVID deaths, the disease is not a serious hazard to school age children. While each death is an individual tragedy, public policy decisions cannot be based on individual tragedy, but must be based on the larger consideration of the effects on the entire population.

        Tens of millions of kids are having their future ability to function as adults jeopardized by the insistence on keeping schools shut down.

        There has been a large jump in suicide and attempted suicide amongst teenagers during COVID, far outpacing adolescent deaths due to COVID itself. What about those dead kids?


        I’ve been a teacher at both the high school and college level for the last 25 years. I have done educational psychology research and I currently teach physical sciences at a medical school. I’ve put myself on the line so that in-person instruction can continue, and I’ve worked uncountable hours to try to make the virtual programs that I oversee be as close as possible to the real thing as I can make them. I can tell you that society is going to be paying a enormous price in psychological problems in teens and adults moving forward, that’s going to last far longer and do far more damage than any risk to kids at in-person school ever will.

        Educational outcomes suffer: https://www.epi.org/publication/the-consequences-of-the-covid-19-pandemic-for-education-performance-and-equity-in-the-united-states-what-can-we-learn-from-pre-pandemic-research-to-inform-relief-recovery-and-rebuilding/

        Mental health in general is suffering:


        But sure, by all means, go on reducing an exceedingly complex issue in risk management, risk abatement, public policy, and long term consequences down to sound bites and things that will fit in a tweet. It’s not like anyone in a position of importance would have done that in the recent past, getting this whole shitstorm started, right?

        • jwz says:

          And you expect me to watch these videos of schools with no ventilation to speak of (but lists of the cleaning products that they use) with 30 desks per room enclosed by salad bar sneeze guards, and believe that this is safe and sane? Or read these endless stories about schools opening up only to be shut down again a week later because it turned out they had no idea what the fuck they were doing?

          Just like restaurants, there are people who want so urgently to return to "normal" -- for almost exclusively financial or political reasons -- that they won't accept that there can be no normal until the virus is under control. "It's been a year and I'm tired of waiting" is not a good enough reason.

          The SF Teacher's Union has refused to return to classrooms until the teachers are vaccinated. I guess they're just "wrong"?

          I would very much like to be able to re-open my restaurant. But not if it means killing my customers.

          • jwilkes says:

            > I would very much like to be able to re-open my restaurant. But not if it means killing my customers.

            Post-pandemic, I'd pay good money for an app that can show me the nearest restaurant operated by someone who said likewise publicly during the pandemic.

        • Dude says:

          I'm one to defer to experts, so I'll start by pointing out how that CDC report is out-of-date (this one is more recent and illustrates the danger of the virus from teacher-to-student), by pointing out that Daily Signal is right-wing propaganda akin to Breitbart, and I'll defer to a dear artistic colleague of mine, herself a high school teacher for over 20 years. Last summer, she tweeted this heart-breaking thread imagining schools re-opening before wide vaccine roll-out.

          I not only recommend everyone read it, but to also consider this separate tweet she posted just days earlier:

          It's going to be awful when kids start losing teachers who die of Covid from in-person classes. But when teachers start losing students, that will be horrific.

          No one is arguing the fact that in-person education with a licenced educator is the best, nor is anyone arguing that kids have gotten the worst of this year missing out (especially those from low-income families and neighbourhoods). But these kids from HUNDREDS of different families who'll be spending the majority of their day mingling amongst both teachers and one another.

          That. Is. Dangerous. (Seriously, read the heart-breaking thread above.)

          • Jacob says:

            I wasn’t aware that JAMA Psychology was right wing propaganda, as they published the report that shows a huge spike in mental health related ED visits in 2020.


            How about Psychology Today?

            Or perhaps NPR?

            I understand that people are afraid, but as far as schools are schools are concerned, you can feel whatever you want, but the data (you know, that science stuff we’re supposed to believe in) just doesn’t support continued closures. I’m up to my eyeballs in the research and data on COVID in schools and in the psychological effects of the pandemic because of my position as a health sciences educator, and there’s just effectively no risk to children from COVID, and there’s a huge risk to them from social isolation and educational failures.

            JWZ, as far as your restaurant is concerned, I have not followed research on indoor dining in any great detail, so I will refrain on commenting on the safety of indoor dining. I of course have an opinion on this, but since I can’t back it with data, it’s worth no more than anyone else’s uninformed opinion.

            I’m clearly not going to change any minds, as everyone’s drawn their battle lines. Any parent needs to make their own decision about what their children should be doing, and I’m not about to demand that every child must attend in person school right now, but I do think that it’s not as serious a risk as many people think, and I’m comfortable putting that opinion out there because I’m comfortable with the data and research that I’ve seen.

            • Dude says:

              {slow clap} Bra-voohhhh, Prof. Gaslight. Ignoring everything said (I said Daily Signal is right-wing propaganda) to choose the Gina Carano/Meghan McCain route of playing victim to "librul bullies".

              And then the psychology links you added mean nothing because I (and everyone else on here) already mentioned that. We know kids are mentally struggling during the pandemic...

              What YOU ignore is that they will physically die if schools re-open too soon. We know that because that's exactly what happened last year.

              For you to claim to be a teach and ignore that fact makes you not only a horrible teacher, but an even worse human being.

              I weep for your students.

              • Jacob says:

                Kids aren’t dying in droves of covid. They aren’t transmitting it in droves. Even the article you linked to says that transmission in schools is tiny:

                “ New York City's schools shifted to all-remote learning Thursday because the rate of positive tests for the coronavirus hit the 3% threshold set locally to trigger a shutdown. Critics said it didn't make sense to close schools when bars and gyms could stay open. What's more, the virus rate transmission within New York City's public school buildings had stayed very low, around 0.22% according to the latest in-school testing results.”

                To date, 204 people under 18 have died from COVID. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid_weekly/index.htm#SexAndAge

                Kids have not and will not die in any meaningful way from attending school now.

                You call me a horrible person, apparently because I’ve expressed an opinion and interpretation of data that is different from yours, one that I have no desire to enforce on anyone. You, of course, have every right to think whatever you wish about me, and you have every right to express that opinion in any way you choose.

                All I’ve suggested is that, based on my understanding of the research, that keeping schools closed is not warranted. As I’ve said many times, anyone who wants to keep their kids home should, and should have that option. Any teacher who wants out of the classroom should have that option. I don’t personally think that it’s good policy, but I respect those who feel the risk is too great.

                I also think that the option should exist for people who share my opinion that in-person school is not an unreasonable risk.

                I’m a firm believer in letting people make their own decisions about their own lives, whether I agree with it or not. If you don’t agree with me, please, by all means do what you think is best for you and yours.

                However, if calling me names makes you feel better in these difficult times, feel free to continue to do so, it matters not one bit to me.

                • Dude says:

                  {snore} Sorry, what?

                  Your justification for letting kids die by cherry-picking quotes, ignoring what's already been said, and your outright lying was putting me to sleep. By all means, recommend that teachers inject themselves with bleach and start up with the readin', writin', and 'rithmatic - truth be damned.

                  Enjoy meeting Herman Cain.

                  • Jacob says:

                    I hope you’ve enjoyed calling me names today. If I’ve brought you some entertainment or happiness, I’m glad.
                    I wish you a long life filled with good health, joy, success, and all the things that you desire.
                    Have a good night and best wishes.

                  • Dude says:

                    In other words, all the things your students and fellow teachers won't get because you thought they deserved to die just so you could get tenure.

                    Ta, killer. Their deaths are on your head.

                  • Jacob says:

                    This was a most enlightening exchange. I’ve learned a great deal from you.
                    You will, of course, assume that I’m being flippant, but I do mean it sincerely. This was one of the more educational exchanges I’ve ever had online.
                    Thank you, have a wonderful night.

                  • Dude says:


                • MattyJ says:

                  Kids "not dying in droves" is not a green light to relax safety regulations, it's proof that those regulations are working.

                  I'm not sure how people have convinced themselves that a school full of kids who wipe their noses with their hands and never wash them are somehow not able to spread this deadly virus to everyone in the school. There was a reason for that threshold that re-closed the NYC school system. Reason: science! In 2021, we actually don't have to wait for the 'proof' of people dying in droves to know there's a problem and take action. Again, science!

                  This is the rare case where an opinion doesn't matter, and shouldn't matter. We know the science. We know what to do. We all just need to do it. In the past decade or more we've seen a sharp rise in dead children due to smallpox and other various poxes because more people have the 'opinion' that they don't need to vaccinate their children.

                  Contact tracing has become good enough that we can usually find patient zero in an outbreak. Maybe we enact a law that a parent is liable if they send their murder kids to school and people die because of them. Maybe the prospect of a few years in federal prison will help people decide that they want to do something to benefit society as a whole and stop thinking just about themselves.

                  • Elusis says:

                    People who say stuff like "I’m not about to demand that every child must attend in person school right now" are tipping their hands. Who do they think will be attending to those kids? Other kids?

                • AA says:

                  Your first mistake was thinking you could have a intelligent conversation on the internet. Thanks for trying, I agree with you.

            • Elusis says:

              If you're a health sciences educator, surely you know that "Psychology Today" is nothing more than a bunch of uncurated pop-psych blogs written by people who mostly are not researchers and are more interested in promoting their therapy practices than in empirical evidence. I receive monthly copies because I pay to be in their therapist database and I can't convince them to stop sending them. I have always filed them directly in the recycling bin to make sure none of my clients accidentally read them and get weird ideas.

        • Chad says:

          There are numerous examples of actual schools that reopened last year and had to shut down quickly because of near-immediate outbreaks.

          Sure, high-school students in well-ventilated classrooms at quarter-capacity (to maintain distancing) and following reasonable precautions are likely to be low or very-low risk. This is a similar situation to grocery stores.

          Do you see a lot of 10 year olds managing day-long trips to the grocery store by themselves? In groups of 8+?

          The kids that people want to send back to schools full time (5 days a week, in-person learning) are NOT going to follow the guidelines that are required for safe school attendance. We know this from A.) Teachers, B.) students and C.) other countries that have tried this already.

          There are, undoubtedly, schools that can resume safely. Thanks largely because of a mass of compounded privileges — small class sizes, excellent facilities, lots of well-paid (relatively) staff being among but not the entirely. Pretending that their existence means that average A,Erica’s can safely send their kids to school again right away is _at best_ risky self-deception.

        • Elusis says:

          So 203 dead kids is acceptable, good to know.

          How many dead teachers is acceptable?
          How many dead janitors, lunchroom workers, school nurses, bus drivers, office staff, and 1:1 aides is acceptable?
          How many dad family members of students, teachers, janitors, lunchroom workers, school nurses, bus drivers, office staff, and 1:1 aides?

          We just want some numbers.

          Also, how much are you willing to have your taxes raised to pay for the number of classroom aides and other staff that will be needed to break classes of 35-40 children into smaller units and convince them to maintain social distancing?

          Just some numbers will be fine.

          • Jacob says:

            You may be surprised to know that I live, by choice, in a school district with one of the highest tax rates in the country, precisely because the district uses that money to provide an extremely high quality service. So, yes, I am quite willing to pay quite a lot in taxes, so long as the product I buy with those taxes is worthwhile.
            And you’d be surprised at how well kids have adapted to following social distancing and masking rules. It’s quite entertaining to see the 4 year olds lined up wearing masks, standing on their assigned dots, waiting quietly for pickup after school.
            And yes, 204 dead kids out of tens of millions is an acceptable risk. More than 10 times that many kids commit suicide each year. At least 5 times that number die because of improper child safety seats in car accidents each year. Yet I don’t hesitate to put my kids in my car, because the statistical likelihood of an accident is low enough that I consider it to be an acceptable risk.
            It’s about risk management and mitigation. No activity is without risk, the question is what is an acceptable level of risk, and that is a question each person needs to answer for themselves.
            If a teacher, parent, worker, whoever feels the risk is too much, by all means they should never be forced to do so. On the other hand, if there are people who feel that the risk is tolerable, let them accept it.
            The data on schools shows very much that the risk to children is very limited and that the risk to the adults is also small.
            All I’ve ever suggested here is that in person education be an option available, and that it is not as large a risk as many people seem to think.
            I’ve never said that anyone should be forced to take a risk that they are uncomfortable with. I’ve very clearly expressed that this is my understanding of the risks, and that I have no interest in forcing anyone to conform to my opinion, and that every person must decide for themselves what is the correct answer.

            However, as I’ve said, if people get enjoyment or satisfaction out of thinking bad things about me or calling me names, please feel free to continue to do so, and I wish you all the best.

            • nooj says:

              Jacob, I agree with your point that the number of child lives saved by closing schools is a near-zero percentage. People under 18 hardly have short- or long-term symptoms from covid. And yet I do not argue in favor of opening schools.

              I think a key aspect missing from your analysis is the opening and swift re-closing of schools is a disaster that does not exactly inspire confidence. And a lot of the mitigation strategies that are being suggested for schools to use look like someone who took adult solutions like the salad bar sneeze shield and decided to install them for children. Children behave differently from adults, on average, and often actively sabotage security measures. As jwz suggested, this does not look like a decision by people who make decisions based on health and well-thought-out plans of action instead of decisions based on fear and politics and theater.

              We all agree that the situation is multifactorial. And where there are sane policies that call for gradual changes and careful assessments, most of us are fine with implementing them.

              On the other hand, we have a large body of evidence to show that when people are allowed to gather in groups, regardless of their age or the care they take to remain socially distant, the number of covid cases spikes among groups who gather--and the households they go home to. Finally, one of the things we know is that deaths in the US (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/excess_deaths.htm) are at an alarming level.

              Now is not a great time for creating nationwide public policy that increases gatherings.

            • R Koch says:

              You just really have no fucking clue about how infectious diseases work, do you? That's what has blown me away about this pandemic: that an entire population could have utterly and completely forgotten this dimension of human experience. And the bitterest irony is that much of the effective mobilization to defeat the scourge of epidemic disease happened in the U.S., via the Federal government. I could be enraged -- I do think, after all, that our elected officials bear some burden to be competent -- but, then, I mutter to myself, 'Hanlon's razor, Hanlon's razor.' We truly have become victims of our success.

              But that's not what galls me about your assertions; rather, it's that you frame this as a decision individuals should (I love the dulcet tones of the professional caste oozing from the delicate framing of your remarks, so unctuous and seductive) make for themselves. No, it's not. Precedent is clear on this, no person has a right to choose for themselves, at the expense of an exponentially larger number of people, the proper path for controlling the spread of contagion. You are reprehensibly ignorant on this point, as well.

              • margaret says:

                it's clear that jacob teaches at the mengele school of medicine for having such radical views as allowing children outside the house.

                • R Koch says:

                  I know I'm feeding the trolls, but my goal here is not to substantively argue with the deluded and mendacious.

                  Right you are, margaret! You've no doubt lifted that carefully crafted rhetorical flourish right from the Radovan Karadžić -- Joseph Goebbels school of propaganda! We have witnessed in the U.S. a nearly surreal act of mendacity, the polarization of epidemiology for the sake of political expediency.

                  Nevermind that the result has been the failure to contain the epidemic, and hundreds of thousands have died. What's a little sacrifice of civic discourse for the sake of power?

                  I admit, I admire the skill involved in inverting the grounds for rational debate; or, the dissolving of them altogether. That this propaganda campaign came cloaked in the guise of rationality, of the noble and patriotic tradition of Western scientific positivism; why, it's almost breathtaking.

                  And here you are, margaret, bravely standing up to the ignoble, irrational, unclean forces of evil and darkness! Good on you!

                  • margaret says:

                    your finely crafted sentences are something to behold, no nickel words considered where the guild of ten cent locution could be applied. the perfumed, corseted, and powdered prose reminds one of the finest courts of europe, fanciful props hiding the scars of smallpox, the dementia of syphilis, and otherwise covering up bad hygiene.

                    the only person trying to have "civic (sic) discourse" or "rational debate" here was jacob. the rest of us are just banging a bunch of rocks together.

                    anyways, when i invoked godwin's law i ceded the "debate." there was no need to double-down on it, acting like you ceded first. is it your first day on the internet?

        • phuzz says:

          Yes, kids probably aren't going to get particularly ill if they catch covid, but they'll still be infected, and they'll be spreading that infection to their family, who will then spread it to the people that they're in contact with, and so on.
          It's not (directly) about protecting kids from covid, its about reducing the chances of them infecting other people who will be more seriously affected.

  3. Yep. And it's looking like we will have massive vaccine deployment by April. Everyone needs to chill out just a little bit more.

    • jwz says:

      Wow I hope so.

    • thielges says:

      I predict that within a few weeks vaccination appointments will be open to everyone because we will find that phasing vaccinations by prioritized tiers creates too much of a constraint. That and the large number of vax-phobics will cause the demand side to quickly dry up.

      So how do you create more demand? How about turning our shuttered bars into vaccination clinics? Tempt recipients with a free drink. A shot for a shot. Shut down covid and bolster our suffering hospitality sector with a single plan.

      • Dude says:

        The existence of tiers makes sense - frontline workers, docs, and the like should be vaxxed in order to deal with the infected; the elderly are more susceptible; and teachers deal with kids, who already brought 6 billion illnesses into the classroom.

        The problem is that this is yet another area in which the pandemic has conclusively proven that the system itself is flawed, hence the fucked up roll-out. (And the combo of anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers ain't helpin'.)

        So, now we have half-assed "solutions" like this:

    • Joe Luser says:

      it's looking like that massive deployment is already going on in february. Alameda county has already vaccinated ~25% of their residents (400K out of ~1.6M) add to that the ~40% who have had covid already and we're getting close to the fabled "herd immunity" level already. obviously, there are lots of ~s in the handwaving, but it's still not even march yet

      • David Hoover says:

        And some of those numbers are even more frustrating in context: I'm in Alameda county. We're getting there, but I'm also watching the school scramble to reopen this thursday.

        Email today from the kindergarten teacher: March worksheets out for pickup tomorrow, but they might be late since she's getting her first vaccine shot in the morning & doesn't know how long that'll take.

        Shot #1 less than 48 hours before she's supposed to be in a classroom full of our snot-nosed brats. But why push things out a few more weeks to actually let staff get vaccinated when you can just hope we don't have an outbreak while doing things in parallel?

        Again, a lot of the numbers claim the kids should probably be okay even if they get infected, but I'm massively crossing fingers for all the staff both because I can empathize with other human beings, and because I've got a selfish desire to not deal with telling my kids one of their teachers got seriously sick or died.

        • Elusis says:

          My sister is a teacher of 1st & 2nd graders.

          When this all began, she said "we can't even get parents to keep kids with lice and chicken pox home. We're never going to get them to keep kids home because they've had COVID exposure."

          And whoever referenced adorable shy lined-up 4yos has clearly not spent enough time with 7yo boys.

          I really just think that a lot of Americans have decided they hate teachers (and of course janitors and lunch servers are beneath notice anyway as they're usually POC.)

  4. ZF says:

    Can we please not make decisions based on speculative predictions of child suicide rates?

    If you do a google search for the unquoted string "australia's child suicide rate unchanged with covid” you’ll find a bunch of stories from May that say things like "Australia's suicide rate could increase by as much as 50% as the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic were taking their toll”. Then the data came arrives and the Articles from August and December look like "NSW suicide rate fell by 'remarkable' 5% in 2020” and "No spike in suicide rates in Victoria during COVID-19”.

    The earlier articles note a rise in calls to helplines and increases in suicidal behavior and assume suicide rates will increase because correlations had been observed in the past. The later articles note a lack of said increase despite strong lockdowns and social isolation. It’s not that the indicators weren’t present, it’s that they weren’t predictive. The worrying articles predicting US rates (sometimes accompanied by sparse data from a few counties –national data takes longer to collect as we’re big and dysfunctional) sound just like the May articles from Australia.

    Maybe if this is our prime focus we just shouldn’t reopen schools at all. There are studies that show that seasonal variation in suicidal ideation and self-harm in kids is lowest in the summer and pops right back up for back-to-school in the fall (*1). "Save the children", keep them home.

    My take as a parent who is not an epidemiologist: Yes, the risk of covid for the youngest kids is pretty low (*2). But it’d be safest to get teachers and support staff their vaccines before we let the preadolescents back into the classroom en masse. Thankfully we won’t be waiting long for that (*3). And then hopefully the results of the currently-in-progress vaccine studies on the older kids come in and then they can start getting shots too.

    *1 https://www.aappublications.org/news/2017/05/04/PASSuicide050417
    and a quote from the presenter of the study: “Certainly, the month of the year that is the lowest for suicidal thoughts and ideation is July. And we see those numbers creep back up right when school starts.” (https://www.cnn.com/2017/05/05/health/children-teens-suicide-study/index.html)

    *2 https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/09/kids-covid-19-flu-equally-prone-severe-illness

    *3 https://edsource.org/2021/california-teachers-move-to-the-front-of-the-vaccine-line-in-most-counties/649648

  5. Cojo says:

    And people still ask me, to this day, “Why did you leave the teaching profession?”

    I’m not fodder for bullets and disease, until the US has a radical shift in education no one should expect teachers to return to the classroom.

    Consider me on strike.

  6. Dude says:

    In similarly stupid news: TicketBastard-subsidiary Live Nation says live summer concerts are on for this year, 'cause this whole COVID mishegaas will have worked itself out by then, right?

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