We are about to witness a massive effort to close schools again next semester.
Teachers unions will demand that schools not reopen after Christmas break. Colleges will “begin the semester with remote learning.” Elite private high schools will do the same.
Many schools started Christmas break early due to outbreaks. Schools without outbreaks are following suit. And now Stanford is leading the charge on not reopening come January.
To minimize disruptions to coursework and provide as much predictability as possible, Stanford is now planning to begin winter quarter with two weeks of online instruction.— Stanford University (@Stanford) December 16, 2021
Stanford says, “We will resume in-person instruction Tuesday, Jan. 18, after the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday. We continue to expect students and instructors to be on campus for the winter quarter.”
I put the odds of a Jan. 18 return-to-classroom at Stanford at only 50%. We may be on the downslope from the winter wave, but we will still have very high case counts by then, maybe higher than today. If cases peak in the first week of January as they did last year, hospitalizations may be peaking Jan. 18.
California may very well have new booster mandates. The promise of the vaccine for babies will be weeks away. Pfizer will be in the middle of ramping up production of its therapeutic drug.
There will be a thousand new reasons why "now is not the time” to reopen.
The same thing will happen in public K-12 schools. If your school says it will reopen “remotely” for a week or two after the New Year, do not be surprised if those 14 days to "slow the spread" turn into 14 weeks. Maybe your children will be back in the classroom after spring break.
Haven’t we all realized that remote learning was a failure and that school closings didn’t help? Yes, but “this time it’s different,” we’ll be told because the omicron variant is so much more contagious.
If you don’t want your children on Zoom for 14 weeks to start 2022, you need to prepare for a fight.