As we had forecast when draconian mandates were imposed on the masses, “When people lose everything, they lose it.” And for young children, who have been locked down, social distanced and masked up, many are choosing to lose everything rather than live under the dictates of the New ABnormal.

Currently some 57 percent of Detroit public school students are considered chronically absent, i.e., they dropped out of school this year. Before the COVID War began in 2019, 45 percent were classroom no shows. 

On 17 November, reported that the Detroit school district, with some 49,000 students, has designated three Fridays in December as remote instruction days. The decision was informed, we are told, by concerns of teachers, staff, students and families over “the need for mental health relief, rising COVID cases, and time to more thoroughly clean schools.” The Detroit Federation of Teachers negotiated with the school district on the new schedule.

The plan will depend on a 75 percent online attendance rate; school districts lose a portion of their state aid if they fall short of 75 percent attendance.

At least one high school has suspended in-person learning entirely, citing multiple COVID outbreaks. In the week of 5 November, the district had 367 student and staff COVID cases, with 857 students in quarantine. One teacher expressed her concerns thusly: “I think the way we are informed about cases, and track quarantined students, needs to be improved. Right now it’s too much to keep up with and I’m becoming drained and it’s becoming dangerous.” 

Also of concern is underreporting of COVID cases. One school had reported six new cases as of 17 November, and students and staff staged a walkout over COVID protocols. The district invites anonymous reporting, via e-mail, of any violation of COVID safety protocols.

Those protocols include school cleaning; the district is adhering to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that call for cleaning and disinfecting any spaces occupied within the last 24 hours by any person who is sick or tested positive for COVID-19. The district uses federally-approved disinfectants rather than household products, and federal COVID funds provide overtime pay for custodial staff.

TRENDPOST: The reporting fails to make clear whether the students and staff who walked out felt the COVID protocols were too stringent or too lax. And while the number of “cases” seems of great concern, there’s no mention of whether the cases are symptomatic or not, nor any mention of hospitalizations or deaths.

The school district’s longer-term plans include a vaccine mandate for employees and students, on the grounds that it will help keep students safe in schools.

TREND FORECAST: One of the few good things about the COVID War is that it may help to finally usher in the age of online learning, which has been in the offing for many years (it was predicted and advocated by Gerald Celente some 20 years ago) but, despite holding such great promise (and being more cost-effective and flexible), has, up until now, not managed to replace in-person learning; see “DIGITAL LEARNING’S GOLDEN ERA” (14 May 2014) and “MEGA-TREND OF THE FUTURE: RICE UNIVERSITY TURNS TO ONLINE LEARNING” (24 Aug 2021).

TRENDPOST: Last week, Trends Journal reported that many U.S. schools, which had welcomed the resumption of classes and return to normalcy after being shut down for so long because of COVID-19, were shutting down again, implementing four-day weeks, extending holiday breaks and returning to remote learning.

Such changes were mostly in reaction to teachers who were so stressed and put-upon that they were taking extra days off, with many actually leaving the profession or contemplating doing so. Complicating the situation was the shortage of school bus drivers, cafeteria workers and substitute teachers; see “PITY THE COVID-WEARY TEACHERS” (16 Nov 2021). 

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