More Coronavirus Testing Is Key To Reopening, RivCo Officials Say

Laveta Brigham

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CA — More Riverside County residents need to get tested for the coronavirus if they want to see increased reopening of local industry sectors.

That was the underlying message Thursday from county health officials.

“… increased testing supports moving into the next level of the state’s reopening plan … that will allow more businesses, as well as schools and places of worship to reopen indoors,” read a news release from Riverside University Health System – Public Health.

People who don’t show symptoms of the virus may not be inclined to get tested, but they are the ones who could influence the metrics used by the state to determine which counties can reopen.

While several benchmarks are eyed under California’s reopening framework, Riverside County remains in the state’s most restrictive tier because of its higher COVID-19 case rate.

Under the state’s color-coded tiered framework, a COVID-19 case rate of

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Vaccine could be ready by November; more colleges alter reopening

Laveta Brigham

Higher education continues to grapple with the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with more universities altering plans on Wednesday.

That includes Iowa State University, which, two days after announcing plans to allow 25,000 fans to its home-opening football game, reversed its decision. Also Wednesday, 30 out of 40 Greek houses at Indiana University-Bloomington were asked to quarantine after a spike in coronavirus cases. School officials on Monday reported an 8% positivity rate among students living in Greek houses.

Some universities, however, are staying the course. University of South Carolina officials said they had no plans of shutting down campus even after reporting over 1,000 confirmed cases among students.

Some significant developments:

  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson revealed Wednesday that he, his wife and two young daughters all tested positive for COVID-19. 

  • A coronavirus vaccine may be ready to distribute by Nov. 1, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control

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How to Navigate a College Reopening

Laveta Brigham

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

One thing is clear as students return to some college and university campuses amid the coronavirus pandemic: It will be very tricky to get this right.

Public health experts are concerned that attempts to start in-person classes too soon and an overreliance on imperfect testing practices could lead students to underestimate the risks of getting infected on campus, potentially seeding new outbreaks and spreading COVID-19. That’s especially true with ongoing community spread of the virus in much of the country and difficulty controlling what precautions students take when they’re not in class. 

Some universities opened in-person classes only to suddenly go remote after clusters of coronavirus infections emerged or the number of students testing positive ticked up quickly. Other schools are delaying in-person returns until September or October, and then will limit in-person attendance or require negative test results

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Steve Bannon is busted, educators face schism over schools, and talk of reopening revives questions

Laveta Brigham

It’s Monday, Aug. 24, and even the unexpected Florida story sometimes has us flummoxed.

Take the tale of two Florida men snagged, along with President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager and ideological point man, Steve Bannon. The three were arrested last week for fleecing hundreds of thousands of donors in an online crowdfunding campaign set up to privately finance construction of Trump’s border wall.

Some details you just can’t make up: Bannon, who was an early adviser to the president’s immigration strategy, was arrested on a yacht belonging to the Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, a Communist Party dissident accused of working as a double agent for China’s government. Wengui is also a Mar-a-Lago member.

Others arrested were Brian Kolfage, of Miramar Beach in the Panhandle, who ran the “We Build the Wall” group and is alleged to have pocketed more than $350,000 to fund a lavish lifestyle, Andrew M. Badolato,

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Steve Bannon bust, schism over schools and reopening redux

Laveta Brigham

It’s Monday, Aug. 24, and even the unexpected Florida story sometimes has us flummoxed.

Take the tale of two Florida men snagged, along with President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager and ideological point man, Steve Bannon. The three were arrested last week for fleecing hundreds of thousands of donors in an online crowdfunding campaign set up to privately finance construction of Trump’s border wall.

Some details you just can’t make up: Bannon, who was an early adviser to the president’s immigration strategy, was arrested on a yacht belonging to the Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, a Communist Party dissident accused of working as a double agent for China’s government. Wengui is also a Mar-a-Lago member.

Others arrested were Brian Kolfage, of Miramar Beach in the Panhandle, who ran the “We Build the Wall” group and is alleged to have pocketed more than $350,000 to fund a lavish lifestyle, Andrew M. Badolato,

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Experts warn many schools should delay reopening, as data indicates virus resurgence across much of country

Laveta Brigham

COVID-19 data projection dashboard and school reopening guidance released Thursday by the PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia seek to help school districts and parents make informed decisions and lead to sustained school reopenings.” data-reactid=”12″As communities across the country grapple with whether to bring students back into the classroom, a new COVID-19 data projection dashboard and school reopening guidance released Thursday by the PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia seek to help school districts and parents make informed decisions and lead to sustained school reopenings.

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was granted access to Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data pertaining to county positivity rates for the project. The hospital uses its projections to provide ongoing information to the federal coronavirus task force, and its data is used to update states with information about the spread of the virus within their various communities.

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Students among first to return offer lessons for reopening schools

Laveta Brigham

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Abigail Alexander shuffled through a stack of papers, trying to find instructions for logging in to her school-issued laptop. 

The 10-year-old chatted with her best friend, a fellow fifth grader, about who is in their classes this year at Head Middle Magnet Prep and what period they have a specific teacher.

Their conversation Tuesday sounded like a typical one between excited, anxious students on the first day at a new school – except this year is like no other.

Abigail was seated in the dining room of her North Nashville home while her two younger foster siblings played around the table. Her friend was on FaceTime, the phone propped up against the side of Abigail’s laptop.

The girls are among more than 86,000 Nashville students who started the school year virtually while their schools remained closed during the the coronavirus outbreak.

Two states away in Indiana, where 

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West Chester SD Opts For Online Reopening Plan In 8-1 Vote

Laveta Brigham

WEST CHESTER, PA — The West Chester Area Board of School Directors followed the lead of families whose comments and feedback fell significantly in favor of opening school remotely.

The board approved 8-1 a remote reopening plan that called for ongoing review of when it may be safe to begin either hybrid or in-school instruction. Brian Gallen cast the only vote against the plan, citing concerns for the loss of the social benefit being in school provides to children.

The WCASD board acknowledged that the options were not optimal. The board cited safety and continuity as reasons for choosing to begin the 2020-21 school year with all-virtual instruction. “This is still a global pandemic,” the board stated in its public presentation. “The science is still emerging.”

In the presentation, the board noted that epidemiologists expect that schools that are opening in brick and mortar settings will close soon after reopening

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Medford Mayor ‘Concerned’ Over Tufts Reopening Amid Rising Cases

Laveta Brigham

MEDFORD, MA — Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn wrote to Tufts University President Tony Monaco this month about the school’s plan to reopen campus this fall. In her letter, dated July 22, Lungo-Koehn expressed her “concerns and apprehension” over the university’s health and safety plan amid the “daily increases in COVID-19 cases and transmission rates from around the United States.”

The school’s plan calls for testing all students, including those living off-campus, as they return to classes this fall. Frequent testing of students and student-facing faculty and staff throughout the semester to identify asymptomatic carriers, rapid diagnostic testing of those exhibiting symptoms and contact tracing when cases are confirmed will also be done.

Students diagnosed with COVID-19 will be housed in modular residential units that will be set up on campus before the start of the semester, while those living with them will quarantine in their residences.

Lungo-Koehn called the plan to

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Here’s How to Make Schools Safer for Reopening in the Fall

Laveta Brigham

(Bloomberg Opinion) — During the weekend, the New York Times highlighted some of the comments it has received in reaction to articles about reopening schools. They were not a cause for optimism.

“Despite all my love for my students, I don’t really want to die for them or anyone else. Neither does my partner, who is living with cancer,” a teacher from Minneapolis wrote.

“Of course we need to reopen schools,” said a teacher from Maine, who then asked whether school nurses would be responsible for all the coronavirus testing that would be needed and where the schools would get enough personal protective equipment. “How many teachers receive combat pay while being forced into mortal heroics?” he added.

A parent from Massachusetts: “Does my daughter want to go back to the classroom? Yes. Do I prefer that she does? Yes. Do I want to risk her health in order for

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