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Teacher Shortages, College Enforces COVID-19 Lockdown, Wastewater Testing

By Net Assets posted 09-04-2020 09:46 AM


(From The Hechinger Report) A potential exodus of older faculty members susceptible to the coronavirus and those with existing health problems may fuel already high teacher turnover across the country. A full third of teachers told Education Week they were somewhat or very likely to leave their job this year — compared to just 8% who leave the profession in a typical year. New restrictions on foreign visas will also make it harder for some states to import teachers from other countries to work in already hard-to-staff positions. Now, education experts warn that an influx of inexperienced or untrained teachers in light of the pandemic could impact students most at risk of falling behind.

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(From The Washington Post) On Tuesday, administrators at Gettysburg College ordered all 2,600 students to stay in their rooms 24 hours a day for a full week, except for trips to the bathroom or to pick up food, following an outbreak of COVID-19 cases. The outbreak has been comparatively small at Gettysburg, with a rate of positive cases around 7%. As part of the new restrictions, students can’t leave to work out or to stroll outdoors, according to a memo from the college. Anyone who chooses to leave campus rather than shelter in the dorms would have to ask the school’s permission to eventually come back. Gettysburg may be the first school to lock down every student in their dorms.

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(From Cleaning Maintenance & Management) Researchers around the world have been studying whether wastewater testing can effectively catch cases early to prevent covid-19 clusters. In August, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the creation of the National Wastewater Surveillance System. Under this system, sewage from facilities can be tested for genetic material from the novel coronavirus, which is less invasive than testing students and allows for the quarantine of campus residents before they become symptomatic.

Last week, officials at the University of Arizona said the technique worked — and possibly prevented a sizable outbreak on campus. When a wastewater sample from one dorm came back positive this week, the school quickly tested all 311 people who live and work there and found two asymptomatic students who tested positive, according to the Washington Post. More recently, officials at Utah State University say they have quarantined 287 students after finding elevated levels of COVID-19 in wastewater samples collected from residence halls.

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