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Schools Brace for More Closures, OSHA COVID-19 Enforcement Priorities, Digital Learning Gap

By Net Assets posted 11-24-2020 01:28 PM

  

(From USA Today) After weeks or months of operating in person, schools are shifting students back to remote learning as the nation grapples with soaring COVID-19 infections, and more are expected to follow next week. Already, just over 40% of schoolchildren are attending only virtual classes, a figure that's risen from 36.9% Sunday, according to Burbio, a company that aggregates school calendars. All this comes as CDC officials urge K-12 schools to stay open for in-person learning. “Today, there's extensive data that we've gathered over the last two to three months to confirm that K-12 schools can operate with face-to-face learning and they can do it safely and they can do it responsibly,” said CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield.

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(From EHS Today) The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has revealed the criteria it relies on to process complaints from workers about an employer’s response to the virus, and when inspections or document reviews should take place. These are examples of requirements it says employers most frequently fail to follow:

  • Assess the workplace to determine if COVID-19 hazards are present, or likely to be present, which will require the use of a respirator and/or other personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Establish, implement and update a written respiratory protection program with required worksite-specific procedures.
  • Provide an appropriate respirator and/or other PPE to each employee when necessary to protect the health of the employees (ensuring the respirator and/or PPE used is the correct type and size).
  • Train workers to safely use respirators and/or other PPE in the workplace and retrain workers about changes in the workplace that might make previous training obsolete.
  • Keep required records of work-related fatalities, injuries and illness.

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(From Education Dive) Nationwide, 67% of K-12 schools still lack the recommended internet connectivity speed of 1 megabits per second per student, according to a report by nonprofit Connected Nation. That digital learning gap affects 31.5 million students. The highest impact is on American Indian/Alaska Native students, who make up 34% of those without a connection, followed by Black (31%) and Latino (21%) students. The good news is median bandwidth per student has grown by 38% in the past year, and the cost of providing it dropped by 18%, and digital learning is expected to continue to expand in the 2020-21 school year.

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