The Politics of Post-Pandemic Education
Spring break usually means a giddy escape from the classroom for children across America. This year, however, the millions of students who have not set foot in a classroom since last spring are celebrating by closing their laptops for a few days. Many of these students have no prospect of returning to class anytime soon — and their pandemic-shuttered schools have become the focus of an ugly battle among teachers’ unions, school boards, parents, and elected officials about how, and when, they should reopen.
As the politics of reopening have grown increasingly antagonistic and personal, the pandemic is blurring partisan and racial cleavages around public education and creating new coalitions that could remain powerful players in local education politics. At stake is the fate of our public education system itself.
The Epidemic Within the Pandemic: Increasing Overdose Deaths
When the COVID-19 crisis began, experts expressed concern that rates of substance abuse and overdose cases could increase due to the circumstances of the pandemic. In addition to the anticipated increase in substance abuse as a coping response to the psychological stress related to the pandemic, experts pointed to potentially exacerbating factors such as increased social isolation, financial distress, and disruptions in treatment access.1
Accumulating evidence indicates that those early concerns were well-founded. For the 12-month period ending in May 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 81,000 drug overdose deaths — the most ever recorded in a 12-month period in the United States.2
CDC: COVID-19 Third Largest Cause of US Deaths in 2020
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported Wednesday that COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in the United States during 2020, and it boosted the overall U.S. death toll by nearly 16% from the previous year.
During the White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters the pandemic trailed only heart disease and cancer last year, accounting for about 378,000 fatalities, or 11% of all deaths in the country last year.
National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) Releases New Communications Framework to Promote COVID-19 Prevention Measures
The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) issued a new framework today to help leaders across many sectors—including healthcare, business, education, employer, workforce, and government—develop and implement communications that will promote vaccine acceptance and encourage the public to follow evidence-based COVID-19 prevention measures.
The framework outlined in the report, COVID-19 Communications: Promoting Prevention Measures and Vaccine Confidence, offers a scalable approach with strategies and messaging for COVID-19 education and outreach efforts.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Updates Handwashing Guidelines and Materials
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated handwashing guidelines, standardizing language and updating visuals. Though hand dryers have always been recommended by the organization, language around the topic of hand drying was inconsistent across industries and materials. Now, with the latest updates, the CDC’s stance is unequivocally clear: hand dryers are a supported hand drying solution.