Science

We’re talking about reopening schools when the only option is to close them. Great

First-grade teacher Caitlin Hicks gives a "virtual hug" as students at Center Street Elementary in El Segundo pick up their work from the last school year on June 3. <span class="copyright">(Los Angeles Times)</span>
First-grade teacher Caitlin Hicks gives a “virtual hug” as students at Center Street Elementary in El Segundo pick up their work from the last school year on June 3. (Los Angeles Times)

In a span of four months, restaurant dining rooms closed, reopened, then reclosed. The same goes for bars, gyms and other businesses that were shut down abruptly in March and restarted in May, even though COVID-19 was nowhere close to being contained.

But public schools? They’re arguably the most indispensable institutions in our communities, and scarcely one month before classes are set to begin we’re finally getting around to discussing whether students will be able to return to campus — and really only because districts in Los Angeles and San Diego announced earlier this week that their schools will remain closed indefinitely, and because the White House and the Orange County Board of Education have staked out the

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Biden launches ‘roadmap’ for reopening schools as Trump calls for return to the classroom

As back-to-school time inches closer and the debate over how –or if– students should return to classrooms this school year rages on, former vice president and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden laid out his “roadmap to reopening schools safely,” Friday afternoon, calling on Congress to provide an influx in funding to help get students back into the classroom.

“Everyone wants our schools to be open. The question is how to make it safe, how to make it stick. Forcing educators and students back into a classroom, into areas where the infection rate is going up or remaining very high is just plain dangerous,” Biden said in a video released along with his plan.

The former vice president laid out five areas of focus in his roadmap, including insuring schools have the funding needed to allow for in-person learning for students, calling on Trump and Senate Republicans to allocate the $58

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Inside The Coronavirus Data Mess The Trump Administration Created

Earlier this week, critical data about the availability of ICU and hospital beds around the country vanished from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. Independent researchers who rely on the data to track and forecast the toll of the virus no longer had quick access. Members of the public who wanted more information to make decisions about their lives ― whether to travel, send kids to camp or visit elderly relatives ― couldn’t find it. 

The Trump administration claims the problem will be fixed and has insisted the goal of the change was to get more data, not less, out to the public. “It will continue to be public. It should be public,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said during a Thursday press conference.

But in the meantime, the administration rattled the medical community and showed how easily vital data can disappear. Trump and his team insist

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Keys having first outbreak of Dengue fever in 10 years

The Florida Keys is experiencing its first outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease Dengue fever in 10 years.

The Florida Department of Health Friday confirmed two more cases of the illness in the island chain, bringing the total number of cases to 16.

All the cases have been in about a two-mile area of Key Largo in the Upper Keys, according to the latest health department information.

The last time the Keys had a Dengue fever outbreak was 2010, said Alison Kerr, spokeswoman for the health department in Monroe County.

That year a total of 55 people contracted the illness, which is caused by the bite of a female Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same mosquito that caused the Zika outbreak in Miami in 2016. Male mosquitoes lack the ability to bite.

No one in the Keys has died from Dengue this year, and all who have gotten it so far are

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California Governor Gavin Newsom Orders Majority Of State’s Schools To Close Campuses, Move To Virtual Instruction Only; Los Angeles County Will Follow Newsom’s Lead

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At his Friday news conference, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered counties on the state’s coronavirus watch list to shut down school campuses this fall, at least to begin the school year. The 32 counties on the list — which include Los Angeles and most of Southern California — must switch to virtual instruction only. The state’s two largest districts, Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified, had already announced plans to begin the new academic year with online-only courses.

The mandate applies to private as well as public schools, according to Newsom.

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In order to physically reopen schools, counties will have to meet the state’s attestation requirements. Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Diego and Riverside counties are on the watch list.

Shortly after Newsom’s accouncement, the L.A. County Department of Public Health announced it would follow the governor’s order,

Counties

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With a growing number of children infected by COVID-19, is it safe for kids to go back to school?

Amid concerns of the spread of COVID-19, sixth-grader Salih Tas wears a mask as he has his temperature checked by a teacher during a STEM summer camp in Wylie, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Amid concerns of the spread of COVID-19, sixth-grader Salih Tas wears a mask as he has his temperature checked by a teacher during a STEM summer camp in Wylie, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

It’s a huge, huge topic with parents, teachers and school staff right now: Is it safe for kids to have in-person schooling in the middle of a global pandemic?

The decision has been left up to states and even individual school systems, and there’s a wide range of options that are planned for the fall. California Governor Gavin Newsom released strict guidance on Friday stating that public schools in counties being monitored for rising coronavirus cases cannot hold in-person classes and requiring school staff and students in grades 3 to 12 to wear face coverings. Others, like the state of Florida, are requiring all school districts to open for in-person instruction in the fall. And then there

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Theme Parks Face Tough Tech Investment Choices

Disney’s Epcot park and Hollywood Studios in Florida reopened their doors to visitors on Thursday, after the company’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom opened on July 11 in Orlando. The moves symbolized a broader reopening by theme parks in countries worldwide.

The reopenings dovetail with hard decisions. Cash-strapped theme park owners must evaluate which technological investments they can afford and which will deliver the best long-term return.

“It’s a tough time right now for any theme park to be thinking about capital investments,” said Robert Niles, editor of Theme Park Insider.

“Many chains have had to rush forward development of new apps to support mobile ordering, advance reservations, and other customer service features that they needed to promote safe physical distancing in the parks,” Niles said. “But the lack of income over the past several months, coupled with much lower than expected income over the year ahead, will keep most

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Most CA Schools Won’t Reopen This Fall

SACRAMENTO, CA — Gov. Gavin Newsom laid out specific criteria Friday for the reopening of schools in California. The bottom line: Most schools will begin the school year with distance learning. In order for a school district to open for in-class instruction, it must be in a county that has been off the state monitoring list for 14 consecutive days. Currently, 32 of the state’s 58 counties are on the monitoring list.

Newsom announced the guidelines during a news conference streamed online from Sacramento. All 6.15 million school age children in California will be governed by the guidelines, whether they attend public or private schools. The governor hinted that universities will follow the guidelines as well, once a new president is installed at the California State University System.

The governor pointed out that California’s newly signed budget includes $5.3 billion additional funding to ensure quality education.

The second item on

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Many public health experts say children should return to school in the fall, particularly in states like Maryland

In the raging national debate over whether to reopen schools, advocates on both sides are basing their arguments on a range of factors: political, economic and emotional.

But there is a growing consensus in the public health and scientific community that schools should resume in-person classes this fall — particularly in states such as Maryland, where cases have not spiked as they have elsewhere.

To be sure, these experts say safety precautions will be necessary to reopen schools. But they say an assessment of risks versus benefits points to the wisdom of reopening.

The latest available data suggests that children are less likely to become infected with the coronavirus and less likely than adults to develop severe cases. In addition, health experts say children appear not to spread the virus to family members and other adults as efficiently as flu and other common illnesses.

While public health experts and some

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How to Make Your Home Feel Like Your Favorite Coffee Shop

When I have a project I really need to focus on, I head to a coffee shop—or used to, anyway. There was something about the sights, sounds and scent of these quaint places that helped me to be more productive. Yes, the caffeine helped (my go-to: an Americano with a splash of cream and cinnamon), but it’s not only the boost of espresso-fueled energy that helped me to get more work done in coffee shops. Science shows that novelty situations stimulate the brain: A change in atmosphere can signal an increase in productivity, creativity or inspiration.

While it’s not feasible for most of us to pack up our laptops and head to our favorite coffee shop to get work done right now, you can recreate some of the charm—and brain benefits—of them by incorporating these elements into your home office (or kitchen, or wherever you’re set up right now). As

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