☕ Cover: Summer School: What Each Side is Saying
Good Morning. Here’s what you need to know to start the day, along with perspective from both sides for calmer coffee conversations with your family, friends, colleagues, and co-workers. Plus, a bit of good news: A New Hampshire high school has planned a unique graduation ceremony using a ski lift
📰 TOP STORY
Summer School: Yesterday, New York City detailed its summer school learning plans for nearly 180,000 students. The proposal includes pre-recorded lessons, “virtual field trips,” “virtual clubs,” and e-books. According to the New York Daily News, for roughly “67,000 students in grades three through eight, there will be classes four days per week for six weeks, starting July 13. About 83,000 high schoolers will get classes every weekday, starting on the same date. For about 27,700 students with disabilities, classes will start July 1.” Given the sheer amount of students in the New York City public school system, the headline serves as a barometer for the broader notion of summer school across the US. After coronavirus disrupted the spring semester and students were forced to “learn” online, there is now a growing debate over whether or not summer school should be mandatory. Here’s how it’s playing out:
There seems to be a general consensus that some form of summer school is needed. If not, students may drastically fall behind. In China, for example, students have a summer vacation which is much shorter than in the US according to Thought Co. “Summer vacation typically begins in mid-July though some schools start their vacations in June. The vacation lasts for approximately one month.” The follow-up question, however, is whether or not summer school should be done in-person or online. Those who argue that it should be done online point to potential health-concerns. Take France, for example. The country has recorded 70 new cases of the coronavirus in schools that were allowed to reopen last week. The worry is that kids will then act as the vector, transporting the virus to older members of their families which could be at more risk. France’s Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said that the new cases were “inevitable” but that “almost all” of the cases originated outside school. He also noted that the 70 cases were a small proportion of the 1.4 million schoolchildren who had returned.
On the other hand, proponents of in-person learning admit that “reopening classrooms brings risks. But they can be mitigated, and isolation costs kids far more dearly.” That’s according to Robert C. Hamilton of the Wall Street Journal who argues that remote learning is not going well. “On March 30 the Los Angeles Unified School District reported that 15,000 of its high-school students hadn’t checked in with their schools once since they closed two weeks earlier. Another 40,000 LAUSD high schoolers—one-third of the student body—weren’t in daily contact with their teachers.” In addition to lackluster or nonexistent attendance Hamilton says that, “confining children indoors for prolonged periods is also proving to have a negative influence on their psychological health. Psychologists openly worry about depression, stress, loneliness and the sense of vulnerability this prolonged isolation could inflict on children.” Plus, children still appear to be less susceptible to the disease. In one large survey of coronavirus patients, only 1.7% were under 18. Nearly 70% of those were asymptomatic.” For these reasons, Hamilton says “it’s time for some bold decisions. Start by getting children back to school.”
Flag This: One of the most important aspects of allowing children to go back to school actually has to do with the parents. Those who work at home with youngsters crying in the background are less productive. Those who work outside the home can’t leave unless they have a babysitter. As The Economist points out, “In poor countries the costs are even greater. Schools there often provide free lunches, staving off malnutrition, and serve as hubs for vaccinating children against other diseases.” Stateside, with children out of the house, small business owners may finally get a chance to focus on items that will directly impact their ability to weather the pandemic. If parents can’t catch a break and they lose their jobs because they’ve become the 24-hour caretaker, that’s not good for them or their children.
🦅 US NEWS
Some Hospitals Prepared for Coronavirus Cases That Never Came
As the coronavirus pandemic swept from China into Europe last winter hospitals around the country began preparing for the worst, Jim Carlton writes for the WSJ. Here’s the thing: “dozens of health centers that prepared for a surge in patients have so far seen far fewer than expected.” On one hand: “the extensive preparation shows the lengths to which the nation’s hospital system went in hopes of avoiding the fate of facilities elsewhere around the world, as in Italy, where hospitals had to treat patients in hallways and limit those admitted to intensive-care units. On the other hand: “It also underscores the unpredictable nature of the novel virus: Some areas, like New York City and Louisiana, became hot spots, while others have so far avoided a surge.”
- Flag This: “All the preparation has come at a cost, including in lost business from canceled elective procedures and sick people afraid to come in. Hospitals now face sharp falls in revenue; the AHA puts losses expected at health-care facilities from those canceled surgeries, and the costs associated with Covid-19 treatment, at about $202.6 billion so far.” On the bright side, maybe all this will make us better prepared for the fall and any oncoming second waves.
Trump admin taps startup to build nation’s first stockpile of key drug ingredients
In order to secure the supply of critical medications for the United States, the Trump administration awarded a $354 million, four-year government contract to Phlow Corp. on Tuesday. Quoted: “Years from now, historians will see this innovative project as a defining moment and inflection point for protecting American families — and our country — from current and future public health threats,” White House trade advisor Peter Navarro said.
- Flag This: Only 28 percent of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) supplied to the country are manufactured within the U.S. while 72 percent of the APIs supplied to the U.S. are manufactured overseas, including 13 percent in China, according to 2019 testimony from Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Director Janet Woodcock.
🌎 WORLD NEWS
Etihad Airways says it is flying aid for the Palestinians amid the coronavirus pandemic into Israel, marking the first known direct commercial flight between nations. Why it matters: The United Arab Emirates, home to Dubai, has no diplomatic ties to Israel over it occupying land the Palestinians want for a future state.
- Flag This: Although uplifting reports are increasingly common, old tensions are still boiling just below the surface. Israel still wants to annex about 30% of the West Bank. It seized the territory in the 1967 Six-Day War and has occupied it ever since. The Palestinians want the land to be part of their future state. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirmed his plans to annex Palestinian lands in the West Bank, which caused U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to make a quick trip to Israel last week to urge the Prime Minister to delay his plans.
India and Bangladesh brace for the strongest storm ever recorded in the Bay of Bengal
Millions of people in India and Bangladesh are in the path of a super cyclone which will bring damaging winds and heavy rain to a region already struggling with the coronavirus pandemic. Super Cyclone Amphan became the strongest storm ever recorded in the Bay of Bengal on Monday night, after intensifying with sustained wind speeds of up to 165 miles per hour.
- Flag This: The super cyclone is due to make landfall on the India Bangladesh border today. Up to 300,000 people are in immediate danger from the storm. There is normally room in cyclone shelters for 500,000 people but because of social distancing rules due to the coronavirus epidemic, that number had been reduced by more than half to just 200,000.
🗞️ BIZ, SPORTS, & TECH
Walmart: America’s Lifeline
As the coronavirus spread, Walmart became a lifeline to millions of Americans. The world’s largest retailer reported a 74% increase in online revenue and 10% jump in same-store sales in the first quarter. At the same time costs soared as well, the company will no longer issue guidance for the year, and also decided to pull the plug on Jet.com which it acquired in 2016 for $3 billion.
Bike Sales Soar
Bike sales are surging around the country as people shun public transportation and look for new ways to exercise. In April, bicycle sales soared by 30% and have jumped 60% so far in May.
Hack Attack: EasyJet
EasyJet announced on Tuesday that hackers stole thousands of credit card numbers and data on nine million customers. Similar to other airlines, the budget carrier grounded all 334 of its planes in Europe in March and has only been operating rescue flights to help repatriate citizens.
📢 PRESENTED BY VINCERO
🗳️ FLAG POLLS
Results From Last Week’s Flag Poll
If there is a “second wave” of coronavirus infections, do you think the United States should implement the same lock down measures? 33% said Yes, 67% said No. Full results and comments.
This Week’s Flag Poll
Should unauthorized immigrants receive coronavirus relief funding? Click here to vote. Click here to vote.
On May 20, 1873, San Francisco businessman Levi Strauss and Reno, Nevada, tailor Jacob Davis are given a patent to create work pants reinforced with metal rivets, marking the birth of one of the world’s most famous garments: blue jeans.
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The Definitive Superfood Ranking (Outside Online)
Biden’s virtual campaign speech repeatedly interrupted by geese (The Hill)
Question: What percent of Americans do not have a will? Answer here…