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University staff angry that Covid teaching advice was ‘ignored’

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University staff are moving towards confronting their leaders after the revelation that the government’s scientific advisers called for teaching to move online at the start of the academic year last month.



a sign in front of a building: Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA


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Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA

University and College Union members at the University of Sheffield are the latest to call an emergency meeting after lodging a formal grievance, joining branches at the universities of Birmingham, Leeds and Warwick in dispute with their leadership over the handling of coronavirus outbreaks.

Other campus staff represented by Unison are said to be angry at having to deal with threats and abuse from frustrated students trapped in isolation.

An estimated 110 UK universities have reported cases of Covid-19 outbreaks, with around 15,000 students and staff infected so far, since the term began just four weeks ago on some campuses.

The University of Nottingham alone has reported 1,500 active cases among students at the end of last week, out of its 35,000 students enrolled, along with 20 members staff. The week before just 400 cases had been reported.

But concern over staff and students continuing to have face-to-face teaching while infection rates are rising has turned to anger after the release of documents from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) committee, showing that three weeks ago it advised that all universities should revert to online teaching.



a sign in front of a building: The University of Nottingham reported 1,500 active cases among students at the end of last week.


© Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA
The University of Nottingham reported 1,500 active cases among students at the end of last week.

Sage’s package of measures to contain Covid-19 included a recommendation: “All university and college teaching to be online unless face-to-face teaching is absolutely essential,” until the prevalence of the virus subsides.

Jo Grady, the UCU’s general secretary, said: “Ministers were given clear recommendations on how to stem the spread of the virus before term

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Sacred Heart, University of Saint Joseph roll out saliva-based COVID-19 test for students, staff

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In the past week, two Connecticut universities began using a saliva-based COVID-19 test that was developed at Yale, in response to heightened concerns about coronavirus outbreaks on campuses.

On Monday, the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford began using the SalivaDirect test, which is a less invasive COVID-19 test that uses a patient’s saliva as opposed to a nasal swab. A day later, on Tuesday, Sacred Heart University in Fairfield also rolled out the SalivaDirect test on its campus.

Other universities, including Quinnipiac in Hamden, have already implemented other forms of saliva testing, The Courant previously reported.

University of Saint Joseph President Rhona Free said in a statement that the university has been testing a portion of students weekly since the school year began — but when university officials noticed other campuses begin to see outbreaks, they decided to increase their weekly testing numbers.

“Over the last few weeks as we saw upticks of positive cases on other campuses we decided to increase the percentage of students tested each week and we also wanted more rapid results,” Free said. “SalivaDirect was able to complete the new level of testing that we needed with quick results.”

The University of Saint Joseph plans to continue administering the saliva tests at least two days a week through the end of the semester, Free said.

Sacred Heart’s rollout of SalivaDirect also comes amid heightened concerns of an outbreak.

Earlier this week Sacred Heart said that more than 100 students have been suspended for violating the school’s COVID-19 protocols since the start of the semester. President John J. Petillo has warned that a saying “a significant number” of students were not taking the pandemic seriously and said the school could suspend in-person education if its cases did not slow.

Sacred Heart spokesperson Deb Noack

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AL.com college football staff picks for Week 3

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We’re only two weeks into the 2020 SEC football season and AL.com’s college football staff picks, but things are starting to heat up.

Scroll along below to find out how various AL.com sports staffers see this week’s games playing out. In addition, we’ll provide predicted scores for this week’s Alabama and Auburn games.

A reminder that these picks are AGAINST THE SPREAD. That means that each person’s selection doesn’t necessarily mean he or she thinks that team will win outright, just that it will cover the point spread.

On with the picks (times listed are Central, all games Saturday unless noted):

Louisville v Pittsburgh

Louisville’s Tutu Atwell (1) reacts after a 21-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter during the game against Pittsburgh at Heinz Field on September 26, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)Getty Images

Louisville (-4) at Georgia Tech, 6 p.m. Friday, ESPN

Michael Casagrande: Louisville

Joseph Goodman: Georgia Tech

Tom Green: Louisville

Patrick Greenfield: Georgia Tech

Giana Han: Louisville

Mark Heim: Louisville

Mark Inabinett: Louisville

Mike Rodak: Georgia Tech

Creg Stephenson: Louisville

John Talty: Louisville

Oklahoma v Iowa State

Oklahoma running back Jeremiah Hall (27) a touchdown in the second half of the play against Iowa State at Jack Trice Stadium on October 3, 2020 in Ames, Iowa. The Iowa State Cyclones won 37-30 over the Oklahoma Sooners. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)Getty Images

Oklahoma (-2) vs. Texas (at Dallas), 11 a.m., Fox

Michael Casagrande: Oklahoma

Joseph Goodman: Texas

Tom Green: Oklahoma

Patrick Greenfield: Texas

Giana Han: Oklahoma

Mark Heim: Oklahoma

Mark Inabinett: Oklahoma

Mike Rodak: Texas

Creg Stephenson: Oklahoma

John Talty: Oklahoma

North Carolina v Boston College

North Carolina’s Trey Morrison (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Boston College in the fourth quarter at Alumni Stadium on October 03, 2020 in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)Getty Images

Virginia

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Ottawa County special education school closes after staff member tests positive for coronavirus

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ALLENDALE, MI – The Ottawa Area Center, a public school serving students with cognitive impairments, is closed to in-person instruction for one week after a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus.



a person in a blue blanket: Registered Nurse Hailey Allen changes gloves while testing patients for coronavirus (COVID-19) at the Mercy Health Saint Mary's drive-through testing center in Grand Rapids on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. Patients must have a doctor's order to receive a test. Mercy Health also offers a testing site in Muskegon.


© Cory Morse | [email protected]/Cory Morse | MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS
Registered Nurse Hailey Allen changes gloves while testing patients for coronavirus (COVID-19) at the Mercy Health Saint Mary’s drive-through testing center in Grand Rapids on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. Patients must have a doctor’s order to receive a test. Mercy Health also offers a testing site in Muskegon.

About 50 students and staff have been placed in quarantine following the positive test result, according to a news release issued by the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (OAISD) on Wednesday, Oct. 7.

The suspension of in-person instruction is effective Thursday, Oct. 7 through Friday, Oct. 16, district officials said. The school will use remote learning during the facility’s closure.

The school, located at 10160 96th Ave., serves around 200 students ranging from ages 3 to 26 with moderate to severe cognitive impairments, according to the OAISD website.

The facility will remain vacant until Oct. 9 out of an abundance of caution, according to a letter sent to Ottawa Area Center parents. The facility will then undergo deep cleaning in preparation for the building’s reopening.



A certified medical assistant places a swab into a vile for people tested for coronavirus at a Flint drive-thru testing site April 15, 2020 at Atwood Stadium in Flint.


© Jake May | [email protected]/mlive.com/TNS
A certified medical assistant places a swab into a vile for people tested for coronavirus at a Flint drive-thru testing site April 15, 2020 at Atwood Stadium in Flint.

In-person instruction will resume Monday, Oct. 19, according to the parent letter.

“I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to us that we provide a safe and healthy environment for our students and staff,” Ottawa Area Center Director JoAnne Thorsen and Assistant Director Julia Plaggemeyer wrote in the letter to parents.

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Meet our Education Lab staff

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Eva-Marie Ayala, editor



a sign on the side of a building: The exterior of the Dallas Morning News building on Commerce Street in downtown Dallas.


© Tom Fox/Staff Photographer/The Dallas Morning News/TNS
The exterior of the Dallas Morning News building on Commerce Street in downtown Dallas.

Eva-Marie is a veteran education journalist who’s covered schools across North Texas from Fort Worth to Frisco. Since joining The News in 2012, she’s focused on how inequities in schools impact Black and Latino children; what schools are doing to address mental health needs; and how state policy impacts classrooms. She’s a national board member of the Education Writers Association. Previously, she reported for her hometown paper the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Read more of her stories here.

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Corbett Smith, reporter

Corbett writes about education for The Dallas Morning News, which is fitting because he grew up in public schools. His mother, who taught him in sixth grade, held roles as a teacher, curriculum coordinator and counselor. His father, who was his high school principal, was a teacher, football coach, athletic director and a school administrator. Prior to writing about education, Corbett was an award-winning sportswriter for The News, where he covered high school sports. Read more of his stories here.



a person wearing glasses and a blue shirt: Eva-Marie Ayala


© Ashley Landis/The Dallas Morning News/The Dallas Morning News/TNS
Eva-Marie Ayala

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©2020 The Dallas Morning News

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