FDA Recommends COVID Vaccines for Young Kids; 3rd Pfizer Dose May Be Key
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During a demonstration urging the approval of COVID-19 vaccines for young children, a child holds a sign. The vaccines could be available as early as next week. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
FDA Committee Recommends COVID Vaccines for Young Kids
The committee of independent vaccine experts from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted overwhelmingly (21-0) to recommend the vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer for infants and toddlers. "Pfizer’s vaccine is administered in three doses for kids aged six months to four years. The doses consist of 3 micrograms, one-tenth of the adult dosage," reports The New York Times. "After two doses, Pfizer’s vaccine was only about 28% effective in preventing symptomatic infection in children aged six months to four years. Pfizer has indicated that the vaccine was 80% effective after a third dose, but this finding was based on only 10 cases out of a subset of 1,678 trial participants." "Moderna’s vaccine is given in two doses for kids aged six months to five years. The doses consist of 25 micrograms, one-fourth of the adult dosage." "Parents will likely be able to have their kids immunized as early as Tuesday, although appointments may initially be limited as the vaccination program scales up," according to Dr. Ashish Jha, who oversees the White House’s pandemic response. For more information and to view the meeting, visit the link provided.
Fact Sheet: Biden Administration Announces Operational Plan for COVID-19 Vaccinations for Children Under 5.
The Three Key Stories
Despite the need for summer learning opportunities for students this year, many school districts are struggling to find enough staff for their programs. (Allison Shelley/EDUimages)
Students Require Summer School, but Some Districts Are Facing Staffing Challenges: Via The Washington Post.
"In Virginia, state officials canceled a small selective summer program due to a lack of staff. In Wisconsin, school system leaders informed 700 students that they could not be enrolled in summer classes due to a shortage of teachers. And in rural Oregon, Superintendent Ginger Redlinger is still in the process of hiring staff for programs that begin in June and August." "St. Louis Public Schools increased teacher wages to $40 per hour this year, up from approximately $25 per hour last year. Support staff wages have increased by $10 per hour above the usual rate." "To engage student interest, summer classes in St. Louis are being presented as ‘summer camp,’ with hands-on experiential learning for all students and Friday field trips for younger children. More than 6,000 students have enrolled, surpassing last year’s numbers, representing about 30% of the district’s 20,000 students." "However, these pay increases come with trade-offs. Raising hourly wages in one area can make it difficult for neighboring school systems to hire staff," explains Ronn Nozoe, CEO of the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
Pandemic Babies Are Lagging Behind.
Florida has yet to place an order for pediatric COVID-19 vaccines, unlike other states. This decision will result in a delay in access to vaccines for parents across the state. The Florida Department of Health has chosen not to participate in the vaccination program, as they are not following federal public health recommendations. However, parents in the state still have two options to access the shots. Some community health centers have ordered vaccines directly from the federal government, and federal pharmacy partners will also have supply, with a priority given to children ages 3 and up.
In federal updates, the U.S. Education Department has created the "National Parents and Families Engagement Council" to ensure that recovery efforts in education meet the needs of students.
Senators have reached a bipartisan agreement on gun safety, which includes provisions such as enhanced background checks for buyers under 21, funding for states to pass "red flag" laws, funding for mental health and school safety, and closing the boyfriend loophole. President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Schumer are in support of the legislation, while Senate Minority Leader McConnell sees it as a step in the right direction.
In state news, Iowa’s Governor Kim Reynolds has signed a bill banning COVID-19 vaccination requirements at schools and daycares. The Nevada Board of Regents has approved Dale A.R. Erquiaga as the acting chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education. Meanwhile, One City Schools in Madison, Wisconsin, plans to switch to a four-day workweek for teachers and staff to keep them fresh for the school year.
A study comparing COVID-19 and flu in young children found that COVID-19 resulted in twice the rate of admissions to pediatric intensive care units and higher rates of intubation during the first 15 months of the pandemic. Public information campaigns and school closures were found to be the most effective non-pharmaceutical measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the negative effects of school closures should be considered before implementing them. Wearing masks showed statistically measurable success during the second wave of COVID-19.
As for predictions for the fall and booster shots, no information is provided in the given text.
More Noteworthy Research
Measuring the Significance and Location of SARS-CoV-2 Transmission Events in Large Cities: "Our findings indicate that places are not inherently dangerous; rather, the risk of transmission is a combination of the characteristics of the location and the behavior of individuals who frequent it." A study conducted by the CDC suggests that unexplained cases of hepatitis in children in the United States are not more prevalent than before the pandemic. Primary school reading assessments in Sweden show no decline in learning. According to a report from Zearn, consistent use of the Zearn platform doubles learning gains for students below grade level.
Survey of Teachers
The Christensen Institute has released intriguing new research based on a survey of teachers:
– How are teachers incorporating blended and personalized learning after the pandemic?
– What instructional resources do educators rely on?
– How have shifts during the pandemic affected students from diverse backgrounds?
– What programs have school systems established to support their students?
– How are teachers doing in the aftermath of the pandemic?
Teachers Leaving Jobs During the Pandemic Find Opportunities in New School Models
According to an article from , microschools and online programs are attracting educators who value the flexibility they gained during remote learning. "For the first time in their lives, they have choices," says Jennifer Carolan, a former Chicago-area teacher and current partner at Reach Capital, an investment firm that supports online programs and educational technology ventures such as Outschool and Paper. Traditional schools have not kept up with teachers’ desires for workplace flexibility. After a difficult two years, some teachers are gravitating towards positions that personalize learning for students and offer a better work-life balance. Related: The Hustle reports on the rising popularity of microschools.
How 100 Large and Urban Districts Are Engaging (or Not Engaging) Stakeholders
The Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) examines how 100 districts are involving stakeholders, or not, in their decision-making processes, as reported in . According to their analysis, out of the 100 districts in their database, 68 have publicly shared their plans for spending pandemic relief funding, and 57 have implemented strategies to gather community input. This is an increase from last year when only 47 districts had engagement strategies in place. Out of those 57 districts, 29 have created multiple channels for community feedback.
Lessons for Policymakers from Frustrated Parents
Bellwether Education Partners conducted focus group research and offers the following recommendations for policymakers based on their findings:
– Collaborate with parents to gain a better understanding of their needs.
– Increase the availability of educational options for families, both during and outside of traditional school hours. These options should include flexible and supplemental learning opportunities such as after-school programs, tutoring, and summer activities.
– Provide clear and reliable information to families about the educational options that could meet their child’s needs.
– Identify and remove barriers to educational opportunities in communities, in collaboration with parents.
And on a Reflective Note
Classmates Refused to Sign His Yearbook
Fortunately, older students stepped in to help. "No one helped me when I was in that situation," said Maya, aged 14. "So I wanted to be there for him." Maya rallied her friends, who were all eager to boost Brody’s confidence. The initiative quickly spread throughout the school, and the day after yearbooks were distributed, a group of older students entered Brody’s sixth-grade classroom to sign his yearbook. Maya promised Brody that she would continue to support him and gave him her phone number. They have already gone for ice cream with some of Maya’s friends. They bonded over their shared experiences with bullies, and Maya shared words of wisdom with Brody: "Whoever is trying to bring you down is already below you," she told him. Furthermore, Paul Rudd even FaceTimed Brody. Related: Avery Dixon shares his experience of being bullied, but his exceptional saxophone skills earned him a golden buzzer from Terry Crews.
Weekend Reads: In case you missed them, here are our top five stories of the week: (Provide a summary of the top five stories from The74 that were mentioned)
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Please note that John Bailey is a consultant for the Walton Family Foundation, which offers financial assistance to . Andy Rotherham is a co-founder of Bellwether Education Partners and serves on board of directors.
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