Coronavirus Chronicles — The Ambiguous State of School

Every day, some other crazy thing comes along. Now, it’s mutant virus strains that don’t play by the few rules we thought we had discovered. The newcomers are more transmissible and spread faster. They make people sicker, defy preventative barriers, and enthusiastically go after younger and younger victims.

Nevertheless, just about everybody wants all schools to be open, all the time. Even kids want to go back to school. They seem to need to be around other kids, and some of them haven’t been eating well since in-person school was disrupted. Many have trouble staying fit.

How is Europe doing?

In Italy, schools opened nationwide, and about three weeks later, the coronavirus numbers went up a lot. Now, the schools in many regions of Italy are closed. In France, they are closed until at least April 26. In the Czech Republic:

From 12 April, primary schools are reopening for lower-grade pupils. Higher primary grades, high schools and universities will continue with distance-learning. Kindergartens will reopen for the pre-school year only.

In Poland, schools are closed, period. Portugal might reopen secondary schools and universities on April 19. Belgium also hopes that date will mark the reopening of its primary and secondary schools, along with its universities. In the Netherlands, secondary schools are open for business at least one day a week, and on April 26, universities will be as well.

And the U.S.?

In the United States, says The New York Times, most school districts are ready for…

[…] significant expansions of in-person instruction as a majority of the nation’s districts have now begun to reopen school buildings, many of which have been closed for more than a year.

A company called Burbio, which keeps track of such matters, says that 53.1% of American students belong to schools that offer in-person classes each day — although there are resisters. They say that “for the first time, the proportion of students attending school virtually or in hybrid classes had dropped.” However, the West Coast could be in trouble:

Surging infections in Southern California after the winter holidays were partly to blame for a slow rebound in the Los Angeles school system.

Public schools in California’s top three districts by enrollment — Los Angeles, San Diego and Fresno — have said they will begin to allow grade-school students back onto campus later in April…

[O]n Monday, Long Beach […] began allowing about 14,000 elementary students back into school buildings for about 2½ hours each day, five days a week.

Three weeks ago, the University of Vermont had 41 cases of COVID-19. Then last week, 80 cases. Doubling in two weeks is not a good sign. Fortunately, even though the state’s overall statistics are getting worse, college students do not seem to be especially responsible; only the general public, including adults who are not responding to the crisis in a mature way.

(To be continued…)

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Covid: How are European countries tackling the pandemic?,”, 04/09/21
Source: “Covid-19 News: In-Person School Attendance Inches Up but Roadblocks Remain,”, 04/12/21
Image by Christina Welsh/CC BY-SA 2.0

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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