新冠病毒、学校和高风险实验都在意料之外
Covid, Schools, and the High-Stakes Experiment No One Wanted
4515字
2021-02-14 01:02
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火星译客

Seth Daub was riding high. It was the first days of March 2020 and he was looking forward to a blitz of travel: an education conference in Los Angeles, then another in Washington, DC, followed by a quick trip to New York to take in some Broadway shows. An elementary school principal in Orlando, Florida, Daub had recently collected data showing that his once nearly failing school was on a much better path. “High expectations yield high results!” he liked to say with gusto.

赛斯·多布感到很得意。那是2020年3月的第一天,他期待着一场闪电式的旅行:在洛杉矶参加一个教育会议,然后在华盛顿举行另一个会议,然后很快去纽约看一些百老汇演出。多布是佛罗里达州奥兰多市的一名小学校长,他最近收集的数据显示,他曾经濒临破产的学校现在有了更好的发展。“高期望会产生好结果!”他津津有味地说。

The coronavirus pandemic at that point felt vague, not quite real, and Daub took it lightly. Like many a Floridian, he thought of the virus in hurricane terms: It would swerve away from them. They wouldn't get hit.

当时新冠疫情还未确凿,多布轻视了它。像许多佛罗里达人一样,他看待病毒就像看飓风一样:只要远离病毒,就不会有事。

But then the California conference was canceled. And the one in DC. New York shut down and the theaters reimbursed him for his tickets. In the late afternoon of Friday, March 13, he got a text from a colleague: The governor was closing all schools for two weeks.

但后来加州会议被取消了。接着是华盛顿的。纽约停演,各大影院报销了他的戏票。在3月13日星期五的傍晚,他收到一位同事的短信:州长将关闭所有学校两周。

Daub felt a swirl of unease. His school, Catalina Elementary, is in a high-poverty urban pocket near downtown Orlando. It often gets described as fragile. Sure, the school provides kids with education, but also with food, a sense of security, a spare stick of deodorant, a reliable place to get a hug. Two weeks without school could be especially tough on the children. He took a breath. They'd get through it.

多布感到一阵不安。他工作的卡特琳娜小学(Catalina Elementary)位于奥兰多市中心附近的一个高度贫困地区。它是积贫积弱的代名词。 当然,学校为孩子们提供了教育,但也提供了食物、安全感、备用的除臭剂、一个可以得到拥抱的可靠场所。两周不上学对孩子们来说尤其艰难。他吸了一口气。他们会挺过去的。

Except it wasn't two weeks. As the country shut down, Daub became part of an experiment no sane person would ever want to run. In tens of thousands of schools across the country, the experiment tested what happens when, in a flash, you eliminate school buildings and conduct class through a laptop—and also, after that first flush of panic, what Faustian bargains you have to make to reopen. What do you do when a place that had been a safe haven suddenly becomes frightening?

只不过不是两周。随着国家的封锁,多布成为了一项任何理智的人都不会想参加的实验的一部分。在全国成千上万所学校中,这个实验测试了当你拆除学校建筑,通过笔记本电脑进行教学时,在一瞬间会发生什么,以及在第一波恐慌之后,你需要做什么浮士德式的交易才能重新开学。当一个曾经安全的地方突然变得可怕时,你会怎么做?

When schools eventually reopened in person, the country took an extraordinary risk. Far too little energy has gone to understanding what happened inside the buildings. Every school that reopened became a largely unmonitored test bed of the dynamics of viral transmission in indoor spaces. And every student learning through a screen got a diminished version of what school is supposed to be.

最后让学校开学的决定给这个国家带来了极大的风险。人们并没有很在意学校里面发生了什么。每一所重新开放的学校基本上都是一个不受监控的室内病毒传播动态的试验台。每个通过屏幕学习的学生都得到了简化版的学校。

The incoming Biden administration has promised $130 billion to help schools reopen with social distancing, smaller class sizes, and more funds to assist with Covid-19 testing. The crisis moment, however, is now. The number of daily coronavirus deaths are at record highs, and troubling variants are on the rise. While schools wait for the checks to arrive, principals like Daub are winging it, as they have since March of last year.

即将上任的拜登政府承诺提供1300亿美元,帮助保持社交距离、缩小班级规模的学校重新开学,并提供更多资金协助Covid-19检测。然而,这正值危机的到来。冠状病毒每日死亡人数创历史新高,令人不安的变种也在增加。在学校等待支票到来的同时,像多布这样的校长们从去年三月就开始随机应变了。

To be an elementary school principal is to be an emperor in a snow globe. From your diminutive subjects' point of view, you're a giant with vast powers. You stride through their midst, issuing edicts and throwing down lightning bolts. But outside that bubble, you're middle management. You take orders from the school district, the state, and the feds. A whole host of greater gods can swoop in and shake up your empire.

当小学校长就像扮演雪球里的皇帝。在你的小臣民看来,你是个拥有超能力的巨人。你在他们中间大步走过,发出命令,发出闪电。但在这个泡沫之外,你是中层管理人员。你听命于学区,州政府和联邦调查局。一群更伟大的神会突然出现,撼动你的帝国。

Daub didn't choose to shut down schools in March, nor did he choose how and when to reopen them in August. But he did have a good deal of say over how everyone felt about it, and that's what he leaned into.

多布并没有选择在3月份关闭学校,也没有选择在8月份如何以及何时开学。但他确实对每个人的感受有很大的发言权,这也是他倾向于做的。

Daub has always been obsessed with both school and spectacle. As a child growing up in Fort Lauderdale, he loved to set up mock classrooms and try to teach his cat Spanish. (He also loved to sing and dance, but he wasn't any good at it.) Goaded by his mother to do something lucrative, he studied advertising in college and landed at a New York ad agency. But the work didn't feel right, so he moved back to Florida. He got a job as a teacher and started scooting up the food chain. Florida issues letter grades to its schools based largely on student assessments, and as the assistant principal of a downtown Orlando high school, Daub helped lift the school from a D to a B. Next he presided over an elementary school that rose from a C to an A. He got a reputation as a turnaround artist.

多布总是痴迷于学校和奇观。作为一个在劳德代尔堡长大的孩子,他喜欢建立模拟教室,并试图教他的猫西班牙语。(他也喜欢唱歌和跳舞,但他一点也不擅长。)在母亲的激励下,他在大学里学习广告,并在纽约一家广告公司工作。但是工作感觉不太对,所以他搬回了佛罗里达。他找到了一份教师的工作,并很快就开始晋升。佛罗里达对学校评级主要基于学生评估成绩,而作为奥兰多市中心一所高中的副校长,他帮助学校从D提升到B。接着,他帮助一所小学,从C提升到A。

When he joined Catalina in February 2016, the school had had a string of mostly D's and C's stretching back more than a decade. More than anything, he wanted Catalina to get its first good grade. Daub is ambitious and competitive, but he wanted the grade for his roughly 700 mostly Black students and his staff, as well as for himself—because he knew they would all feel fantastic broadcasting their success to the world. And because he realized, from his background in marketing, that perceptions matter. If everyone believed the school was good, maybe they'd all invest a little more into it.

当他在2016年2月加入卡特琳娜学院时,十多年来,这所学校的学生大多是D和C。最重要的是,他希望卡特琳娜大学能取得第一个好成绩。多布很有野心,也很有竞争力,但是他想让他的700名学生和工作人员得到这样的成绩,其中大部分是黑人,还有他自己——因为他知道他们会觉得向世界展示自己的成功是一件非常棒的事情。还因为他从自己的市场营销背景中意识到,观念很重要。如果每个人都相信这所学校很好,也许他们都会多投资一点。

Right away he launched into overhauling the facilities, starting with the blandness of Catalina's halls. An earnest, has-a-costume-for-everything kind of guy, Daub is allergic to the greige and the dinge. He doused the place in a fresh coat of paint and hung flags and banners inside and out. All of Catalina's students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, and he wanted the place to offer everyone who enters a glimpse of a better world. He turned the school into a brightly colored, school-spirited thumb in the eye of drabness.

他立刻开始对设施进行全面整修,从卡特琳娜平淡无奇的大厅开始。 
他是那种认真的,什么衣服都穿的人,但他对灰褐色和淡黄色很敏感。他把这个地方刷了一层新的油漆,把旗帜和横幅里里外外都挂了起来。卡特琳娜的所有学生都有资格享受免费或减价午餐,他希望这个地方为所有进入更美好世界的人一点好的回忆。他为本单调乏味的学校增添了明亮的色彩,学校精神也在此熠熠生辉。

When new teachers joined the school, he bundled them into a bus for a ride around the neighborhood. A 15-minute drive from both downtown and Disney World, the area's dominant feature is a massive freeway, a slash of concrete that carves a path between two of Orlando's ubiquitous lakes. On one side of the highway is the school, and on the other side are the boxy apartment complexes where many students live. The bus would drive past condemned houses and corner stores and under highway overpasses, so the teachers could see what the children saw on their way to school. “Maybe they'll have more empathy the next time a kid forgets a pencil,” he muses.

当新老师加入学校时,他带他们坐公共汽车在附近兜风。从市中心到迪士尼乐园只需15分钟的车程,这里的主要特色是一条巨大的高速公路,一条混凝土的斜线,在奥兰多随处可见的两个湖泊之间开辟出一条小径。高速公路的一边是学校,另一边是许多学生居住的四四方方的公寓大楼。校车会经过废弃的房屋、街角的商店和高速公路的立交桥,这样老师们就能看到孩子们在上学路上看到的东西。他若有所思地说:“也许下一次孩子忘记拿铅笔时,他们会更有同情心。”

In the fall of 2016, his first full year as principal, the school district sent Catalina three academic coaches to help teachers understand more deeply what the state's tests were looking for, so they could get to the bottom of why kids kept failing. The efforts seemed to pay off. In 2018 the school's score on the state tests rose 63 points on a scale of 700, elevating Catalina from a low D to a high C. Soon after, Daub was named a National Distinguished Principal for his state. The award sent him to Washington for a big party. “It was two days of just total amazement,” he says. He got to see the White House. There was even a black-tie party. Afterward, he composed a slideshow of his photos set to Journey's “Don't Stop Believin.'”

2016年秋,也就是他担任校长的第一个全年,学区给卡特琳娜派了三名学术教练,帮助教师们更深入地理解州考试的目的,从而弄清为什么孩子们一直不及格。这些努力似乎得到了回报。2018年,这所学校在州测试中的成绩提高了63分(满分700分),让卡特琳娜从低分D升到了高分C。不久后,杜布被任命为该州的全国杰出校长。他获奖后去华盛顿参加一个盛大的聚会。他说:“整整两天我都感到非常惊讶。” 他去了白宫。甚至还有一个正装派对。之后,他为自己的照片制作了一个幻灯片,并将其设置为朱妮的《信念永在》(Don’t Stop believe)。

The next year, Catalina earned another C. He consoled himself that at least the school hadn't slipped, proving they could do it without the district's coaches or other outside help. “SO PROUD!” he tweeted at the time.

第二年,卡特琳娜又得了C。他安慰自己说,至少学校等级没有下滑,证明他们在没有学区教练或其他外部帮助的情况下也能做到。“我很骄傲!”他当时在推特上写道。

In January 2020, he was scrutinizing the students' results from their midyear internal assessments. He could see it right there in the data: They were on track to get a B. He ordered a bounce house and threw a pizza party to celebrate. Things seemed to be moving in the right direction. Teacher turnover is a perennial challenge at under-resourced schools, but at Catalina teachers began to stick around. Parents were more involved, too. In February, the school's standing-room-only Black History Month bash brought some 500 people to campus.

2020年1月,他在审查学生的期中内部评估结果。他可以从数据中看到:他们很快就能拿到B了。他点预定了蹦床屋,还办了个披萨派对来庆祝。事情似乎正朝着正确的方向发展。在资源不足的学校,教师流动是一个长期的挑战,但在卡特琳娜,教师开始留下来。学生家长也参与得更多。今年2月,该校只允许站着的黑人历史月盛会(Black History Month bash)吸引了大约500人来到校园。

So when, in March, Florida's education commissioner canceled all state testing, Daub was stricken. The full threat of Covid-19 hadn't sunk in yet. What had was that he was watching years of work—and specifically his coveted B—slip away.

因此,今年3月,当佛罗里达州教育专员取消所有州的考试时,多布遭到了打击。Covid-19的全部威胁还没有完全意识到。他所看到的是多年来的工作——尤其是他梦寐以求的B——悄悄溜走了。

Daub had never run a virtual team. In March, he scrambled to get up to speed on Zoom, Canvas, Google Docs, Big Blue Button. One of the teachers quickly set up a GroupMe chat for the staff to stay in touch. Daub started sending out updates almost daily. A teacher who happened to be at PetSmart texted that it was selling bottles of Lysol with no limits; Daub immediately sent a staffer with the school credit card to stock up.

多布从未管理过线上团队。在3月,他匆忙开始熟悉Zoom, Canvas, Google Docs 和 Big Blue Button.其中一名老师很快建立了一个群聊,让员工们保持联系。多布开始几乎每天发送更新。碰巧在PetSmart的一位老师发短信说,这家公司正在销售无限制的来苏水(Lysol);多布立刻派了一名职员拿着学校的信用卡去备货。

He and the assistant principal, Michelle Durni-Austin, went back to the school and packed up students' laptops and iPads for parents to pick up. About a third of the families didn't have decent internet, so Daub and Durni-Austin camped out at the school printer for hours, churning out packets of materials. They tucked them into manila envelopes, stuffed them into boxes, and dropped them off at the nearby apartment complexes. On a Monday afternoon, the staff organized a food distribution line so the kids could still get their free meals. To jazz it up, they made a video of themselves doing dance moves they'd learned on TikTok.

他和副校长米歇尔·杜尼-奥斯汀(Michelle Durni-Austin)回到学校,把学生们的笔记本电脑和ipad收起来,让家长们去取。大约有三分之一的家庭没有像样的互联网,因此多布和杜尼-奥斯汀在学校的打印机旁扎营了几个小时,印制大量材料包。他们把它们塞进马尼拉纸信封,塞进盒子里,然后把它们送到附近的公寓楼里。周一下午,工作人员组织了一条食品分发线,这样孩子们仍然可以得到免费的食物。为了让它生动起来,他们制作了一段视频,视频中他们在TikTok上学到了舞蹈动作。

The students, however, were mired in tech annoyance and ennui. Some students with poor Wi-Fi decamped to a local Wawa, the convenience store and gas station chain, and attended class from the parking lot. Others didn't log in at all or attended for only a fraction of the three-hour school day, either due to bad Wi-Fi or just plain boredom.

然而,学生们却陷入了对科技的烦恼和厌倦之中。一些Wi-Fi状况不佳的学生逃到了当地一家便利店和加油站连锁店Wawa,在停车场上课。另一些学生根本没有登陆,或者只上了三个小时课的一小部分,要么是因为Wi-Fi不好,要么就是觉得无聊。

A third-grader named Jordan moped around because she missed her friends and teachers. Even in a good year, Jordan had a hard time remembering things and struggled with anxiety, her mother, Nancy Mitchell, says. At first the two shared a computer—Jordan took classes during the day, and Mitchell, a recruiter, caught up on her own work at night. Two other neighborhood children came over to get help. Their parents didn't speak English, and Mitchell flitted between the three kids, helping them to log into their classes and stay on task. But then the Wi-Fi would cut out, and they'd all come to a stop. Meanwhile, Mitchell still had a job to do.

因为她想念她的朋友和老师,一个叫乔丹的三年级学生闷闷不乐地走来走去。她的母亲南希·米切尔(Nancy Mitchell)说,即使风华正茂,乔丹也很难记起东西,经常会焦虑。起初,两人共用一台电脑——乔丹白天上课,米歇尔晚上则忙于自己招聘人员的工作。另外两个邻居的孩子也来寻求帮助。他们的父母不会说英语,米切尔在这三个孩子之间来回穿梭,帮助他们进入教室,继续学习。但接着Wi-Fi就断了,他们都停了下来。与此同时,米切尔还有工作要做。

Mitchell decided she needed to focus on her own daughter. “It was too hectic,” she says. She went to the other kids' homes and wrote out instructions on a piece of paper for how to use their computers. Then she hoped for the best.

米切尔决定把注意力集中在自己的女儿身上。“太忙了,”她说。她去了其他孩子的家里,在一张纸上写了如何使用他们的电脑的说明。她往好处想着。

As the weeks passed, Daub worried about how much ground the students were losing. His high-energy, celebratory spirit didn't translate well to a lockdown. He drove all over Orange County delivering gift bags to teachers. He held weekly Zoom calls with parents. He cleaned out forgotten corners of the school building. It was all a bit dispiriting. People would be writing dissertations about this for a long time, he'd think gloomily.

几周过去了,多布担心学生们会落下多少课程。他充满活力的酒神精神并没有让他自闭。他开车走遍奥兰治县给老师们送礼物袋。他每周都和极速的父母通电话。他清理了学校建筑中被遗忘的角落。这一切都有点令人沮丧。他会闷闷不乐地想,人们会为此写很久的论文。

In May the school staff held a moving-up ceremony for the fifth-graders. Daub and his team gave out yellow gift bags containing cake mix, pans, and sprinkles; later in the week, the kids baked their own cakes and ate them together over Zoom.

今年5月,学校工作人员为五年级学生举行了升学仪式。多布和他的团队分发了黄色的礼物袋,里面装着蛋糕粉、烤盘和蛋糕屑;这周晚些时候,孩子们亲手烤了蛋糕,一起分享。

The school year was over. For all the stress, the spring had been a time of togetherness. Around the country, teachers were hailed as heroes for rising to the challenge of virtual learning and sticking it out through months of teaching to empty Zoom squares. In Florida the pandemic had not spiraled out of control. Fewer than 1,000 people were testing positive per day at the end of May.

学年结束了。尽管压力重重,但春天是一个和睦相处的季节。在全国各地,教师们被誉为英雄,因为他们勇敢地迎接了虚拟学习的挑战,并在几个月的教学过程中坚持了下来。在佛罗里达,大流行疫情并没有失控。5月底,每天的检测结果呈阳性的人不到1000人。

In the following weeks, that number spiked to 10,000.

在接下来的几周里,这一数字飙升至1万。

The new school year loomed, and over the summer a nationwide fight erupted over how to handle it. No one knew whether classrooms would become incubators of superspreading events. By then, scientists understood that indoor gatherings were very risky and that good ventilation and social distancing were essential to keeping infection risk low. School buildings by their nature seemed like an especially dangerous place to be.

新学年即将来临,整个夏天,一场关于如何处理这一问题的全国性斗争爆发了。没有人知道,教室是否会成为超级传播事件的孵化器。那时,科学家们认识到,室内聚会非常危险,良好的通风和社交距离对降低感染风险至关重要。从本质上看,学校建筑似乎是个特别危险的地方。

Then there was the question of how children would tolerate the virus. While most cases in children have not been severe, little is known about the disease's long-term effects.

接下来的问题是儿童如何忍受这种病毒。虽然大多数儿童病例并不严重,但人们对该病的长期影响知之甚少。

Many teachers, meanwhile, chafed at the idea that they were suddenly being treated as frontline workers; some felt they were being asked to risk their lives so that working parents didn't have to watch their kids all day. Across the country, teachers poured out their frustrations. They protested with mock gravestones and posted their own obituaries on Facebook. A Florida law firm pledged free living wills and advanced directives for any teachers being forced back into a classroom.

与此同时,许多教师对自己突然被当作一线工人对待感到恼火;一些人觉得他们被要求冒着生命危险,这样工作的父母就不用整天照看孩子了。全国各地的教师纷纷表达他们的不满。他们用假墓碑抗·议,并在Facebook上发布了自己的讣告。佛罗里达州的一家律师事务所承诺,任何被迫回到教室的教师都可以自由立生前遗嘱,并得到高级指令。

Florida had just become a coronavirus hot spot. The state recorded more than 320,000 new cases in July, more than double the preceding four months combined. While other states with much lower case rates opted to keep schools virtual, Florida governor Ron DeSantis pushed for the state's students to return in person. If Home Depot and Walmart could reopen, he said, so could schools.

佛罗里达刚刚成为冠状病毒感染的热点。该州7月新增病例超过32万例,是前四个月总和的两倍多。当其他低得多的州选择让学校保持虚拟状态时,佛罗里达州州长罗恩·德桑提斯(Ron DeSantis)敦促该州的学生亲自返回校园。他说,如果家得宝(Home Depot)和沃尔玛(Walmart)能重新开门营业,学校也能。

Counties, cities, and school districts all imposed a hodgepodge of rules; in Orlando, a mask mandate was in force, and schools were told to aim for 6 feet of social distancing, among other measures. Daub set to work implementing the guidelines. He pulled out some classroom furniture to create room for 3 feet of distancing, upped the custodial services, ordered extra HVAC filters, and art-directed the placement of every new sign. He ran every detail past the teachers multiple times. No one was surprised by his fastidiousness. This was a guy who'd held a “Fun With Clorox Wipes” event in January 2020, before the pandemic hit the US.

县、市和学区都实施了一套大杂烩式的规定;在奥兰多,一项佩戴口罩的规定开始生效,学校被告知要保持6英尺的社交距离,以及其他措施。涂抹设置工作的指导方针。他拿出了一些教室家具,腾出了3英尺的距离,增加了监护服务,订购了额外的暖通空调过滤器,并对每个新标识的位置进行了艺术指导。他把每个细节都向老师们重复了好几遍。没有人对他的苛求感到惊讶。这是一个在2020年1月疫情袭击美国之前,举办过“乐用高乐氏湿巾”活动的人。

The county's plan was for people to return in waves. Teachers would come back first to conduct two weeks of distance learning while they got used to the new rhythm of the day. Parents had to decide whether to send their children back in person in late August or mid-October, or whether to keep them remote all semester. The arrangement meant that some teachers taught physical and virtual students at the same time, while others focused on just one of those groups.

县政府的计划是让人们分批回来。老师们会先回来进行两周的远程学习,然后慢慢适应新的学习节奏。家长们必须决定是在8月下旬还是10月中旬亲自送孩子回去,还是整个学期都让他们远离学校。这样的安排意味着,一些老师同时教实体学生和虚拟学生,而另一些老师只对其中的一个群体负责。

Ellice Richards, a kindergarten teacher in her sixties, was scared to return to the school. She and her husband are grandparents with a sprawling family they see every weekend; she wanted everyone to stay safe. But she also worried about her students. Seeing Daub's pandemic protocols, Richards says, put her mind at ease. “I'm not sacrificing myself to be a hero, but my concerns, they've been alleviated,” she says. Another teacher even delayed her scheduled retirement to teach in person.

艾丽丝·理查兹(Ellice Richards)是一名60多岁的幼儿园教师,她不敢再回到学校。她和丈夫是祖父母,每个周末都要去看望一个庞大的家庭;她希望每个人都安全。但她也担心她的学生。理查兹说,看了多布的疫情协议,她感到放心。她说:“我并不是为了逞英雄而牺牲自己,但我的担忧已经减轻了。”另一位老师甚至推迟了退休计划,亲自授课。

Daub spent his days trying to orchestrate how cohorts of children could troop through the building without encountering others. Where would they all eat breakfast and lunch? How would they enter and leave the building without crossing paths? Even with the bountiful planning, Covid had turned him into a bundle of nerves. “It was really in my head, and I really had to talk myself off the ledge,” he says. After months of isolation, being surrounded by people gave him jitters.

多布每天都在努力设计如何让孩子们成群结队地穿过大楼而不碰到其他人。他们在哪里吃早餐和午餐呢?他们如何在不交叉道路的情况下进出大楼?即使有了慷慨的计划,新冠肺炎也让他变得神经紧张。他说:“这真的是在我的脑海里,我真的得说服自己放弃。”经过几个月的隔离,周围的人让他紧张不安。

Even so, a first day of school held the promise of a return to normalcy. The teachers set up their laptops in their empty classrooms, pointed cameras at their faces, and settled in to teach their first full day of class since March. Daub drove out to an apartment complex and helped families figure out their children's laptops.

即便如此,开学的第一天还是有望恢复正常。老师们把笔记本电脑放在空荡荡的教室里,把摄像头对准自己的脸,开始了自三月以来第一天的授课。多布开车到一处公寓大楼,帮助很多家庭弄清楚孩子们的笔记本电脑。

Then, on August 21, the doors swung open and 179 masked children filed into the building. A phalanx of shiny balloons bobbed above the main staircase, and pop songs filled the air. A second-grader ran up to Daub and threw her arms around him in a hug. He froze. He didn't know what to do. After an awkward moment, he hugged her back, and then dashed off to scrub his hands.

然后,在8月21日,大门打开了,179名戴着口罩的儿童鱼贯而入。一排闪闪发光的气球在主楼梯上方飘来飘去,空中充满了流行歌曲。一个二年级的学生跑到涂抹跟前,伸出双臂拥抱他。他僵住了。他不知道该怎么办。尴尬的一刻过后,他抱了抱她的背,然后冲出去搓手。

The kids got their temperatures checked, and staffers directed them to their classrooms. Children sat spaced out, separated by two empty desks. Nancy Mitchell's daughter Jordan was among those who returned. “She was really falling behind,” Mitchell says. The so-called summer slide, when students forget some of what they've learned, had deepened into a Covid slide. “Our scores, our data was really low when we tested in August,” Ashley Blackmon, a third-grade teacher, says. “It was discouraging. It is discouraging.” Blackmon says that this year about half of her third-grade class is reading at a kindergarten or first-grade level.

孩子们接受了体温检查,工作人员带他们去了教室。孩子们被两张空桌子隔开,彼此分开坐着。南希·米切尔的女儿乔丹是返校的人之一。“她真的落后了,”米切尔说。所谓的夏季滑坡,也就是学生们忘记一些所学知识的时候,已经加深为Covid - 19滑坡。““当我们在8月份测试时,我们的分数和数据真的很低,”三年级教师阿什莉·布莱克蒙(Ashley Blackmon)说。“这令人沮丧。这真的令人沮丧。”布莱克蒙说,今年她三年级的学生中有一半是幼儿园或一年级的学生。

Daub eyeballed the scores and made a snap decision. The usual plan is for teachers to start reteaching lessons from the previous grade a few months in, just to firm things up before the state assessments. But in August he told the teachers to start revisiting old material immediately. Every day, they devoted an hour and a half to rehashing old concepts.

多布看到了分数,迅速做出了决定。通常的计划是让老师们在几个月后重新教授上一年级的课程,以便在州评估之前把事情确定下来。但在8月份,他告诉老师们立即开始复习旧材料。每天,他们都会花一个半小时来重新讨论旧概念。

Blackmon struggled at first to communicate in a masked-up, socially distant classroom. “Covid really had me questioning, how do you build relationships?” she says. She wished they could see her full smile—or her fierce looks when she needed them to fall in line. With half her face obscured, she's had to rely on other tricks. She leans more heavily on incentives, reverse psychology, and clip charts, which reflect a child's good or bad behavior.

起初,布莱克蒙在一个戴着口罩、社交距离较远的教室里很难与人交流。“新冠肺炎让我很疑惑,如何建立人际关系?”她说。她真希望他们能看到她满面笑容——或者当她需要他们服从时,她会表现得凶一点。由于半张脸模糊不清,她不得不依靠其他手段。她更倾向于去激励、而非依赖心理学和反映孩子的好或坏行为的图表。

One girl in Blackmon's class started out the year getting zeroes on her quizzes. But week by week, her scores crept up. One Saturday night in mid-October, Blackmon was at home grading quizzes when she saw that the girl had gotten her first perfect score. “I shot her mom a picture. I had tears in my eyes,” Blackmon says.

布莱克蒙班上的一个女孩今年一开始的测验成绩是0分。但一周又一周,她的分数逐渐上升。十月中旬的一个星期六晚上,布莱克蒙在家里批改小测验时,看到这个女孩第一次获得了满分。“我给她妈妈拍了张照片。我热泪盈眶,”布莱克蒙说。

Blackmon knew she wasn't supposed to hug the children. But hugging is a cornerstone of her teaching, and she discovered she couldn't give it up. “It's a risk I take. I don't know any other way to show them that I love them,” she says. “I know what the doctors say. I know what they tell us. I just think some things outweigh the science. Love and affection, that is science. They learn from you when they trust you.”

布莱克蒙知道她不应该拥抱孩子们。但拥抱是她教学的基石,她发现自己无法放弃拥抱。“我冒这个险。我不知道还有什么别的方式来表达我对他们的爱,”她说。“我知道医生说了什么。我知道他们告诉我们什么。我只是觉得有些东西比科学更重要。爱情和亲情,那就是科学。只有信任你,他们才能从你身上学到东西。”

Eli, a first grader, became a different kid when he returned to Catalina in person, his mother, Rose Simon, says. Last spring, overwhelmed by shyness, he attended Zoom kindergarten only if she sat next to him. He insisted on keeping the camera off and often tried to sneak off to play. Now he was back in the building and loved his teacher, who he believed was a mermaid with an invisible tail. He led the class in a reading competition until one day, when a competitor surged ahead. That night he read seven books to regain his lead.

伊莱的母亲罗丝·西蒙(Rose Simon)说,一年级的伊莱亲自回到卡特琳娜后,变得完全不同了。去年春天,由于害羞,他上Zoom幼儿园时,只有她坐在他旁边。他坚持把相机关掉,经常想溜出去玩。现在,他回到了大楼里,并且爱上了他的老师,他相信老师是一条长着隐形尾巴的美人鱼。在一次阅读比赛中,他一直是全班的第一名,直到有一天,一位竞争对手突飞猛进。那天晚上,他读了七本书以重新获得领先地位。

The staff worries about the children who are still learning from home. All the students take regular quizzes, and every week Daub scrutinizes the results. The trend was unequivocal. The students who were learning in person did much, much better than the ones who were at home. “Each week, I increasingly think the kids need to be here,” Daub says.

工作人员担心孩子们还在家里学习。所有的学生定期参加测验,并且每周都要仔细检查测验结果。这一趋势是明确的。那些在学校学习的学生比那些在家学习的学生做得更好。“每周,我都越来越认为孩子们需要待在这里,”多布说。

In mid-October, another 209 children were due to return to the building. This time they were practiced, and the classes absorbed the new kids seamlessly. As the days passed, the masks stayed on. Daub still chirps, “Air hugs! Air high fives!” to remind kids to keep their distance.

10月中旬,另有209名儿童将返回这所学校。这一次,他们都经过了训练,新学生也完全被这些课程吸引住了。日子一天天过去,一直戴着口罩。多布还唠叨道,“让我们空气拥抱!空气击掌吧!“提醒孩子们保持距离。

The school hasn't been Covid-free. By the end of December, Orange County had logged 2,096 cases across its 199 schools. At Catalina, one teacher tested positive right before the school year began. Then, in two separate incidents in late September, parents called Daub to alert him that a household member had tested positive; the children then stayed home. (The two kids later also tested positive.) In December and early January, three more unaffiliated cases popped up: another student, a teacher, and an outside vendor. In each instance, Daub notified the district and ordered the sanitation team to immediately do an extra cleaning of the affected areas. Then it was back to work.

学校的新冠病毒感染并没有完全消除。截至12月底,奥兰治县共有199所学校,共记录到2096起案件。在卡特琳娜,一名教师在学年开始前检测呈阳性。随后,在9月底发生的两起不同的事件中,多布的父母打电话给他,警告他有一名家庭成员的检测呈阳性;孩子们就呆在家里。(这两个孩子后来的检测结果也呈阳性。)在12月和1月初,又出现了三起与之无关的案件:另一名学生、一名教师和一名外部供应商。在每一个案例中,多布都会通知该地区,并命令卫生小组立即对受影响的区域进行额外的清洁。然后继续工作。

One of the surprises of the Covid-19 pandemic is that elementary schools and day cares have, in general, not kicked off major outbreaks. Of course Covid-19 can spread in schools. Of course children and staff can get infected. But strict mitigation measures, it turns out, can drive down the risk significantly. Rebekah Jones, a Florida-based data scientist who has been tracking cases in schools, found that between September 6 and January 2, roughly 1.5 percent of Florida elementary students attending school in person tested positive, as compared to 3.3 percent of all Floridians. Children are less likely than adults to get tested, so the statistics are likely missing many cases. Still, reopening elementary schools could have gone a whole lot worse than it did.

新冠疫情的一个意外之处在于,小学和日托中心总体上没有引发重大疫情。当然,Covid-19可以在学校传播,而儿童和工作人员也可能被感染。但事实证明,严格的缓解措施可以显著降低风险。佛罗里达州的数据科学家丽贝卡·琼斯(Rebekah Jones)一直在跟踪学校的病例,她发现,在9月6日至1月2日期间,佛罗里达州约1.5%的在校小学生检测呈阳性,而整个佛罗里达州的这一比例为3.3%。儿童比成年人更不可能接受检测,因此统计数据可能遗漏了许多病例。尽管如此,重新开放小学的情况可能会比现在糟糕得多。

In Catalina's case, returning to the building was clearly a good thing. The children who attended in person did much better than those who did not, and there wasn't a single known transmission of the new coronavirus at the school. With kids in school, parents were able to work or look for jobs.

在卡特琳娜的情况下,回到学校显然是一件好事。线下上课的孩子比不上课的孩子表现要好得多,而且学校里没有一例已知的新型冠状病毒传播病例。孩子们上学了,父母们就能工作或找工作了。

Yet here's where things get tricky. Catalina's experience is not an argument for a wholesale reopening. Evidence from numerous environments, including schools, has shown in abundance that social distancing, among other measures, helps keep the virus at bay. Chances are decent that Catalina succeeded in large part because more than half its student body opted not to return. Its roughly 400 virtual learners might end up having unwittingly sacrificed their own education for the betterment of their in-person peers.

然而,这就是事情变得棘手的地方。卡特琳娜的经历并不能成为大规模重新复学的理由。来自包括学校在内的众多环境的证据充分表明,除其他措施外,保持社交距离有助于遏制病毒。卡特琳娜大学之所以成功,很大程度上是因为超过一半的学生选择不回来。它的大约400名虚拟学习者可能在不知情的情况下牺牲了他们自己的教育,帮助了线下学习的同龄人。

Elementary schools' not-so-bad outcome also doesn't say much about how to approach the winter. January 2021 is summer all over again: Just as in July, case positivity rates are above 10 percent in Florida and many other states. Once again there are big, frightening unknowns, now in the form of more infectious variants of the virus that are whipping around the world. Hospitals across the country are overburdened, and the United Kingdom has shut down its schools. One of the more depressing things about the Covid-19 pandemic is how little progress the US has made on managing schools.

小学不那么糟糕的成绩也不能指明度过冬天的方向。2021年1月又是夏天:和7月一样,佛罗里达州和其他许多州的病例阳性率都在10%以上。又是前途迷茫,病毒以更具传染性的形式席卷全球。全国各地的医院负担过重,英国也关闭了学校。关于新冠疫情,更令人沮丧的事情之一是,美国在管理学校方面进展甚微。

Imagine another world—one where, with national coordination, states spent the fall compiling extensive data on how these essential institutions fared. The messy, unintentional experiment involving every school employee and child could at least have produced something vaguely scientific. Educators might now have a good idea, among other things, what the threshold of an unsafe class size is across different age groups and environments. But the federal government wasn't interested in asking those questions. “It's absolute garbage, unacceptable, that the Department of Education shirked responsibility of tracking a deadly virus roaming through schools at a time when everyone needed that information,” says Benjamin Linas, an epidemiologist at Boston University. Instead, what's emerged are rough approximations, dashboards with incomplete data, and anecdotes. Here, a school that reopened without trouble. There, a school with an outbreak or a teacher who perished from Covid-19. People on both sides of the reopening debate have ample ammunition for their arguments but little data to come to a conclusion.

想象一下另一番景象——在国家协调下,各个国家花了整个秋天收集大量数据,了解这些重要机构如何运作。这个涉及到每个学校员工和孩子的杂乱无章的、无意的实验,至少可以产生一些模糊的科学的东西。教育工作者现在可能有了一个好主意,在其他事情中,一个不安全的班级规模的阈值是什么跨越不同的年龄群体和环境。但联邦政府对这些问题不感兴趣。波士顿大学(Boston University)的流行病学家本杰明·利纳斯(Benjamin Linas)说:“在每个人都需要这一信息的时候,教育部却推卸追踪一种在学校中传播的致命病毒的责任,这绝对是垃圾,不可接受。”相反,出现的是粗略的近似值、带有不完整数据的仪表盘和轶事。这里,一所顺利开学的学校。那里有一所爆发疫情的学校,或者一名老师死于新冠。重新开始辩论的双方都有充足的论据支持自己的论点,但却没有足够的数据来得出结论。

Return for another moment to that parallel world, with its admirable national strategy. In it, schools could be conducting routine testing, as some colleges have chosen to do. If a fraction of a school's population got tested every week, a picture would emerge, in near real time, of how much virus was circulating and how many asymptomatic individuals were marching through the halls. Teachers and parents could feel more secure knowing they weren't blindly walking into trouble. Administrators might get an early warning of when to step up their defenses. But that didn't happen, either.

让我们再来看看这个平行世界,看看它令人钦佩的国家战略。在该系统中,学校可以像一些大学选择的那样进行常规测试。如果一所学校的一小部分学生每周都接受检测,那么一幅画面就会出现,几乎是实时地显示出有多少病毒在传播,有多少无症状的人在走廊里游·行。 如果老师和家长知道他们不是盲目地走进麻烦,他们会感到更有安全感。管理员可能会得到何时加强防御的预期警告。但这也没有发生。

Instead, the school information void has funneled everyone's Covid feelings into a single cauldron of anxiety. Children are vulnerable, and parents want to protect them. Parents also need to work. At-risk relatives need extra consideration. But the risk-benefit calculations for schools don't begin and end with Covid-19. Wealthier families that formed pods and hired tutors could blunt the pain of virtual education. At a school like Catalina, the cost of staying closed is significantly greater.

相反,学校信息的缺失让每个人都对Covid - 19感到焦虑。孩子是脆弱的,父母想要保护他们。但是父母也需要工作。有风险的亲属需要格外关注。但学校的风险效益计算并不会随着Covid-19而开始或结束。较富裕的家庭组建“豆荚”,聘请导师,可以减轻虚拟教育带来的痛苦。在卡特琳娜这样的学校,保持关闭的成本要高得多。

Back in August, Daub had expected more children to return to school. The conventional wisdom was that low-income families needed the school's support. But in his conversations with parents, Daub found they feared the devastating impact of the virus more than they did the disruption of having kids at home. “Our community is very aware,” Daub says. Some families kept their kids away out of caution alone. Others did so because they were out of a job and at home anyway—many Catalina parents had worked at jobs associated with Orlando's theme parks, and the wrecked local economy left many of them unemployed.

早在8月份,多布就预计会有更多的孩子回到学校。传统观点认为,低收入家庭需要学校的支持。但在他与父母的交谈中,多布发现他们更担心病毒的破坏性影响,而不是家里有孩子会造成的伤害。多布说道:“我们的社区非常清楚这一点。有些家庭不让他们的孩子靠近只是出于谨慎。另一些人这样做是因为他们失业了,而且无论如何都待在家里——许多卡特琳娜的父母曾在奥兰多的主题公园工作过,而当地经济的崩溃让他们中的许多人失业了。

But to Daub's surprise, the number of returning children kept growing. On January 5, an additional 140 children put on their masks and backpacks and showed up at Catalina for the first time this school year, bringing the in-person student population up to 528. Some parents told Daub they were ready for their children to return to a routine; one dad said he needed to send his son back because he'd gotten a new job. As the newcomers settled in with their classmates for breakfast, Daub made the rounds to brief them on all the safety protocols. He's convinced they're working: Usually by this time, several teachers would have been out sick for a few days with some cold or flu. This year they're staying uncommonly healthy.

但令杜多布博惊讶的是,返校的儿童人数还在持续增长。1月5日,又有140名孩子戴上口罩,背着书包来到卡塔琳娜,这是本学年的第一次,使在校学生人数达到528人。一些家长告诉多布,他们已经准备好让孩子们回归日常生活了;一位父亲说,他需要把儿子送回去,因为他找到了一份新工作。当新同学们和同学们一起吃早餐时,多布四处巡视,向他们介绍了所有的安全规程。他确信他们在工作:通常这个时候,几个老师已经因为感冒或流感请了几天病假了。今年他们的健康状况非常好。

He has other reasons to feel hopeful about the winter, even against the odds. In November, the week after the election, Daub popped into several classes with a picture of all the past US vice presidents, a grid of white male faces, and vice president-elect Kamala Harris. He asked them what they saw, and the students shared their impressions of the image. Then one Black fifth-grade girl turned to him and said, “She looks like me.” Her words stuck with him. Inspired by that moment, he and the staff are instructing the kids to show up on Inauguration Day in their finest clothes. They'll make a big, memorable event of it.

他有其他理由对这个冬天充满希望,即使面前困难重重。去年11月,也就是美国大选结束后的一周,多布突然出现在几个班级里,带着历届美国副总统的照片,一张由白人男性组成的网格图,还有当选副总统卡玛拉·哈里斯的照片。他问他们看到了什么,学生们分享了他们对图片的印象。然后一个五年级的黑人女孩转向他说:“她长得像我。”她的话使他记忆犹新。在那一刻的鼓舞下,他和工作人员指导孩子们在就职典礼那天穿着最好的衣服出现。他们会把这件事搞得很隆重,很难忘。

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