Suffering from COVID-19 science overload? This university team wades through the deluge so you don't have to
SEATTLE — Remember early spring, when it felt like we were all plunged into a crash course in epidemiology, heads spinning with terms like “R-naught,” “flatten the curve” and “herd immunity?” Every new nugget of data and scientific insight about the novel coronavirus was headline news, ricocheting from Twitter to technical journals to talking heads.The wall-to-wall coverage has eased since then, but the pace of discovery hasn’t. Every day, hundreds of new research papers are published or posted about the virus and pandemic, ranging from case studies of single patients to randomized, controlled...
The Seattle Times
College's random COVID-19 testing gets mixed reactions from students, parents
ORLANDO, Fla. — Students and parents have voiced mixed reactions to the University of Central Florida’s plans to randomly select students for COVID-19 testing, with some questioning the legality of mandatory testing and the penalties students who refuse will face.Since the policy, which also applies to faculty and staff, was announced Sept. 15, a debate has raged on social media. Some think the testing is a valuable safeguard against outbreaks of infection, while others argue it will be intrusive and ineffective.In Facebook group “UCF Parents,” one of the group’s roughly 11,700 members comment...
Editorial: Our case for Joe Biden over Donald Trump
In our March primary endorsement of Joe Biden, we cited his moderation as a value Americans could embrace. In a field of diverse, left-leaning candidates promising free public college, student loan forgiveness, “Medicare for All,” universal child care, free rural broadband access — at times the Democratic primary resembled an Oprah Winfrey show giveaway — Democrats across the country settled on Biden.Why? Because he is viewed as a commonsense man of decency who could beat President Donald Trump. Those are, essentially, his top selling points. And they are enough for us, too, to offer a Biden e...
Editorial: Gov. DeSantis still thinks we have a right to give each other COVID in Florida. This time, it's students
Managing Florida’s state university system is a herculean task in the best of times.Managing in the midst of the coronavirus crisis might be an impossible task, even for three wise men and 50 Nobel laureates.Still, the State University System’s Board of Governors is obliged to give it the old college try.Instead, the folks responsible for roughly 350,000 students at Florida’s 12 state universities have thrown up their hands and thrown in the towel.Recently, Miami Herald reporters Ana Ceballos and Karina Ellwood checked in on Florida’s university campuses, where the kids are learning way too mu...
Cops break up huge party of over 1,000 people at off-campus housing at FSU
MIAMI — Now that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis moved Florida into Phase 3 reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic, it’s all systems go for party animals, apparently.A large gathering, with more than 1,000 people, was shut down by cops late Saturday night near Florida State University in Tallahassee. The party was at an off campus apartment complex called Tenn Street Apartments that saw at least 700 cars parked in the area, blocking travel lanes, cops said.The Tallahassee Police Department said that this bash was just one of a dozen large social events they broke up over the weekend, read a Faceboo...
Appeals court rules against Minnesota school district in 'landmark' bias case
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday ruled that a transgender student at Coon Rapids High School had a right to use the boys’ locker room.Instead, the Anoka-Hennepin School District had directed the student, N.H., to use an “enhanced privacy” bathroom separate from the boys’ locker room in violation of the state’s human rights act, the court said in a decision filed Monday.The state Department of Human Rights called it a landmark ruling.“This decision means that schools are now safer and more welcoming for transgender and gender nonconforming students across Minnesota,” Human...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
With the pandemic, parents and educators embrace outdoor preschools. Many hope the move will be permanent
CHICAGO — On a hazy September afternoon near a willow tree, a boy with a bright red backpack spotted something slimy on the ground.“Hello, all the mushrooms,” he said, gently tapping the fungus, trying not to crush any as his small feet moved through the grass.A teacher asked why they might be growing in that spot. The boy thought for a moment. “Because it’s shady and wet!”That was just one lesson for the group of kids at the Chicago Botanic Garden Nature Preschool, a program that’s part of the growing field of nature-based early childhood education.Nature preschools were increasing before the...
How to conduct an engaging lab experiment in the time of COVID: Brew beer
PHILADELPHIA — The 22 students in the La Salle University microbiology class had been brewing their first batch of beer for the last two weeks, and it was time to taste it.Senior Austin Taylor, participating on the class Zoom call, took a swig from his jar and grimaced.“Oh, oh, that’s gross,” the senior biology major from Woodbridge, New Jersey, said, putting his hand over his mouth as if he wasn’t sure he could swallow it. “That was nasty. I don’t recommend that.”His teacher, assistant professor Brian DeHaven, laughed and told him not to worry. “So was mine,” DeHaven said.Brewing the perfect ...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Colleges are already canceling spring break due to COVID-19
A growing number of colleges and universities are canceling spring break six months in advance, due to concerns about students’ anticipated travel activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.The University of Michigan is the latest institutions to amend its 2021 academic calendar, removing the traditional spring break period, which it did at a Board of Regents meeting Sept. 17, according to ABC News.In doing so, the University of Michigan joins other Big Ten universities that have eliminated spring break for the coming semester, including Ohio State University; Purdue University; University of Iowa ...
Herd immunity could protect us from COVID-19 — in theory. Infectious disease experts explain
As the United States surpassed 200,000 coronavirus deaths recently, many are asking one simple question: When will it end?Politicians and public health experts have touted herd immunity as one way to stop COVID-19 without a vaccine. The scientific concept explains that a virus will die out after a high percentage of a population is infected and survives the disease, developing immunity. Vaccines speed this process much more safely, but experts think we will be well into 2021 before most Americans can get immunized.Most epidemiologists believe that if 50% to 70% of the population becomes immune...
The Philadelphia Inquirer