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New Research Shows Gap Between Remote and In-Person High School Students Post-Pandemic

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(Hibault Savary/AFP/Getty Images)

A new study published Wednesday shows the combined impact of academic, social and emotional learning loss in high school students who learned remotely compared to students who learned in-person last year.

What We Know:

  • The study, entitled “Students Attending School Remotely Suffer Socially, Emotionally, and Academically”, was published in Educational Researcher, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association. In the study, they coin the term “thriving gap” to refer to the negative repercussions that were nearly universal among remote learners. While many news sources have reported individual stories concerning mental health challenges students have faced, this is the first study that’s been able to display widespread evidence.
  • Angela Duckworth, professor at the University of Pennsylvania and founder and CEO of Character Lab, was the lead author of the study. She said, “This study gives some of the first empirical evidence of how learning remotely has affected adolescent well-being.” The evidence in the study was gathered through an ongoing partnership with Orange County Public Schools, a large and demographically diverse public school district in Florida. The authors had distributed a survey called the Character Lab Student Thriving Index in February 2020 before the pandemic shut down schools. 6,500 students were asked about their current social, emotional, and academic experiences.
  • Later, months into the shutdown, families in the district were offered the option for their kids to return to school either remotely or in person. Two-thirds of the students went remote and one-third returned to in-person. All of them completed the same index in October of 2020. Results showed remote students suffered socially, emotionally, and academically in comparison to their in-person counterparts. Though the impacts were not large in magnitude, the fact that they span gender, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status means they affect millions of students.
  • The CDC’s recommendations for school re-openings emphasize the importance of in-person learning for students, but Duckworth says it’s more than just academics. She went on to say, “As policymakers gear up for national tutoring and remediation programs, which we agree are urgent priorities, we must recognize that our nation’s students are not just lagging in performances, they are suffering as people. Meeting their intrinsic psychological needs — for social connection, for positive emotion, and authentic intellectual engagement — is a challenge that cannot wait.”

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona is pushing for all students to return to the classroom this upcoming school year. He said in a statement, “Students learn best in the classroom. I think they’ve suffered enough through the pandemic. It’s on us now to make sure we are doing what we need to do to make sure we’re getting them safely in the classroom.”

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Coronavirus

U.S. May Approve COVID-19 Booster Shots at 6 Months

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently reviewing booster data from vaccine manufacturers and other countries given at 6 months.

What We Know:

  • An unnamed source told the Wall Street Journal the boosters would be approved for all three COVID-19 vaccines administered in the US- Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. In addition, they declared approval would come in mid-September.
  • The information comes after officials reported that booster shots would become available to some adults 8 months after their last dose beginning on September 20. These include healthcare providers, nursing home residents, and other seniors. However, booster rollout depends on FDA approval and recommendation from a key Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outside vaccine advisory committee.
  • Officials want people to receive the third dosage because of the current rise in Delta strain cases. Studies show that the coronavirus vaccine loses potency after several months. Additionally, the Delta strain currently holds the highest number of infections among vaccinated and unvaccinated people; despite this, those who obtained the vaccine experience milder breakthrough infections.
  • In addition, the CDC and FDA urge citizens to receive vaccinations as hospitalizations rise once more. Recently, the U.S. saw 100,000 people hospitalized, a number only seen since before vaccines were easily accessible. A third of the country’s hospitalizations come from states with low vaccination rates, large populations, and governors who disagree with vaccine and mask mandates, such as Texas and Florida. As of Aug. 25, Texas saw 23,412 new daily cases, 248 deaths, and 14,000 hospitalizations. On that same date, Florida saw 26,203 positive cases, 9 fatalities, and 17,000 hospitalizations.

Alongside more hospitalizations, daily numbers are also creeping back up. On Aug. 25, the U.S. saw 148,000 new cases, only 3,000 less than Jan. 30’s report. In contrast, deaths from COVID-19 waned since January, dropping from 3,100 a day to 1,100 a day.

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FDA grants full approval to Pfizer’s Covid vaccine

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The Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s two-dose vaccine Monday for people ages 16 and up, making it the first Covid-19 vaccine to pass this final regulatory hurdle.

“The FDA’s approval of this vaccine is a milestone as we continue to battle the Covid-19 pandemic,” Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said in a statement. “While millions of people have already safely received Covid-19 vaccines, we recognize that for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instill additional confidence to get vaccinated. Today’s milestone puts us one step closer to altering the course of this pandemic in the U.S.”

What We Know:

  • The FDA’s decision may also pave the way for more vaccination mandates: Many businesses were waiting for full approval before they required employees to be vaccinated.

“Full approval could not come at a more important time, as the highly contagious delta variant continues to drive up caseloads and deaths across the U.S.,” the president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Dr. Richard Besser, former acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a statement. “I am hopeful that full approval will address any remaining concerns and will move many people to a ‘yes’ on vaccination.”

  • Besser said the lack of vaccines in middle- and low-income countries “represents a global failure,” adding, “Ensuring an adequate supply of vaccines in every country and community must be a health, economic, and moral imperative for the world.”
  • Federal health officials announced that, starting September 20th, people who received the Pfizer vaccine will be eligible for third doses eight months after their second doses. The FDA has not yet signed off a third dose.  No Covid vaccines have been authorized or approved for use in children under 12, though this is expected to change soon with FDA approval.

Pfizer’s vaccine is one of three in use in the U.S. Moderna has also applied for full approval, also known as a Biologics Licensing Application. Johnson & Johnson has not yet applied for full approval, and remains in use under emergency authorization.

Pfizer’s product was the first Covid vaccine to gain emergency use authorization, in December. As of Monday, more than 203 million doses have been given in the U.S., according to the CDC.

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Reverend Jesse Jackson and His Wife, Jacqueline, Hospitalized with COVID-19

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Reverend Jesse Jackson and his wife Jacqueline are currently being treated at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

What We Know:

  • News about the couple’s diagnosis became public after a statement released by the Reverend’s Rainbow/Push Coalition on Saturday. In the statement, officials declared that doctors were monitoring both Jesse and Jacqueline; it did not provide any further information.
  • However, their son, Jonathan, provided more information on Sunday. Jonathan told the Associated Press that doctors are carefully observing Jesse and Jacqueline because of their ages. Additionally, the two responded “positively” to treatments and were resting. On Monday, Jonathan said his parents’ status did not change and asked for prayers for the two,
  • Despite his hospitalization, Jesse received his first coronavirus vaccine dosage in January 2021 during a publicized event. Alongside obtaining protection against the disease, he urged his followers to receive the vaccine as soon as possible. The Associated Press reported that it is unclear if Jacqueline also got the vaccine.
  • Underlying health concerns might have been the cause for both of them catching COVID-19. Family members said Jacqueline had an unspecified condition which made them concerned recently. In addition, Jesse was diagnosed in 2015 with Parkinson’s disease and underwent gallbladder surgery earlier this year.
  • Rev. Jesse Jackson worked with mentor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in moving the Civil Rights Movement forward. His impact helped guide the movement on numerous issues, such as voting rights. After the movement and even currently, Jesse continued working to make a change in his society. Police recently arrested Jesse for civil disobedience after participating in a sit-in at Sen. Kyrsten Sinema‘s Phoenix office with 39 others.

Black News Alerts prays that Jesse and Jacqueline make a speedy recovery and continue inspiring many.

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