This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Michel Martin: You wrote a piece for CNN about how not to raise racist kids. You said most white parents have come up in families in which white silence was a pervasive norm in our socialization. These same parents are now passing such silence on to their kids. Could you talk a bit more about that?
Jennifer Harvey: Many white Americans were raised in families that thought that they were teaching equality. The way that they did that was to just say, “Well, we’re all equal” and not say anything more explicit about what it means when you believe everyone should be equal.
Many members of our society do not experience equality. And so what happens is that in the racist culture we live in — Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum talks about it as “smog” — our kids, our youth, we adults just breathe it in. So we end up showing up in racist ways, even when we come from families where equality was the presumed value.
What is the consequence of that silence?
It breeds a lack of capacity among white people to engage in conversations about race and to respond when racism is happening. If I hear racism out on the street or from a co-worker, should I challenge it? What should I say about it? If my African American colleagues or friends see me be silent because I don’t know what to do, I become untrustworthy.
My daughter is told, “Police are safe — go find one if you’re in trouble,” but her African American cousin is learning complicated messages about the police from his parents. Those differing messages mean they can be great friends for a while. But eventually, the depth of their friendship will erode because my white child will not be able to identify with her African American cousin or her African American friends.
White Americans have to teach our kids how to identify with that experience and how to be good friends to black and brown youth as they grow up. That requires us teaching them about racism. And it requires us modeling anti-racism, which is something a lot of white Americans really struggle with.
With videos like the one of George Floyd’s death, do you wait for your child to come to you? Do you show it to the child and say, “This is something I need to talk about with you?”
White families should not wait to talk about racism with children, because segregation is so deep that if we just wait, it will never come up. I never show my children videos of black people being killed by police, and I try not to watch those videos myself. But I do talk about the videos with them.
I started doing that work with my own children before they even had words. I would make sure we were in spaces where we were opposing police brutality, attending vigils and organizing. I knew they wouldn’t exactly understand what was going on. One time after a rally, my 5-year-old said, “Black people are not safe.” And I said, “Yes, that’s true.” And then she said, “But we’re white, so we are safe.” And I said, “Yeah, that’s true too.”
Then I said to her, “The reason we went to this rally is because we’re trying to tell the government that everybody deserves to be safe.” So now, six years later, she’s already got a deep understanding of this. And so we can talk about what happened to George Floyd. We’re much further along the conversation.
How are you discussing the unrest that’s being shown in the media?
I discussed that with my children by talking with them about how they might respond when they have been harmed or an injustice or an unfairness has happened to them and they aren’t heard. Because we’ve been having these conversations, my kids understand that peaceful protest has not yielded justice for black and brown people in this country.
We’re wrestling with it as a family and acknowledging that it’s really unsettling, but also appreciating that people are really hurt and really angry. And the government hasn’t responded.
I’m always trying to complicate messages about following rules and obeying the law. I made sure they knew that Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. were breaking the law. They need to know sometimes that’s what’s required. They’re certainly unsettled and it’s a scary time for everybody, but they do appreciate that when you’ve been hurt and harmed and no one is given justice, sometimes eruptions happen.
For people who say, “You know what — this stuff just gives me a headache. I don’t want to be bothered. This isn’t my problem. Why do I have to think about this? I have problems of my own,” what do you say?
I ask them, would they call it a headache if it was their child or their sister or their brother or their parent? We’re talking about our fellow human beings. What would you do on behalf of your own?
And then my work as a parent is to raise my kids in a way where they experience communities of color, black people, Latino people, being human beings they identify with as part of their human network. And that’s something that hasn’t really happened in part because of segregation in the United States.
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BY CAMILO MONTOYA-GALVEZ | UPDATED ON: MAY 7, 2020 / 8:02 PM / CBS NEWS
María does not know what to do. Her request for U.S. asylum was denied. Her authorization to be in Mexico, contingent on having an ongoing U.S. immigration case, has expired. And now, the U.S. has sent her 10-year-old son alone to Honduras, where she fled an abusive partner who threatened to kill her if she returns.
After losing their asylum case under the Remain-in-Mexico policy, which has granted protection to just 1.1% of the migrants who have completed their proceedings under the program, María allowed Jesús, her young son, to cross the border alone to turn himself over to U.S. officials, thinking he would be allowed to reunite with family in Texas and seek refuge in the U.S. under long-standing policies for unaccompanied migrant minors.
Instead, Jesús was placed on a deportation flight to Honduras within four days of encountering U.S. immigration officials, who have been granted broad emergency powers during the coronavirus pandemic.
“He was desperate,” María told CBS News in Spanish, referring to her son. “He wanted to be in the U.S. with his uncle because he did not want to go back to Honduras to suffer. ‘I do not want to live with that man again so he can mistreat me,’ he told me.”
For the first time in decades, children like Jesús who show up at the southern border without their parents or legal guardians are being summarily expelled and denied access to protections that have been afforded to them under U.S. law. The shift is being justified under a 17-page public health order the Trump administration believes allows border officials to bypass asylum, immigration and anti-trafficking laws.
Under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order, first issued on March 20 and renewed for another 30 days late last month, border officials have expelled thousands of unauthorized migrants to Mexico or their home countries and denied most asylum-seekers the opportunity to request humanitarian protections created by Congress.
In the last 11 days of March alone, officials expelled at least 299 unaccompanied children under the public health order. Expulsions in April are expected to be released Thursday, according to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesman, but data from the U.S. refugee agency responsible for caring for these minors suggests that most unaccompanied children have been denied entry since the emergency order took effect.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) received only 58 children from border officials in April, according to government data obtained by CBS News. In March, including the 11 days under the order, border officials referred 1,852 children to the agency.
Before the worst weeks of the pandemic, the office was getting as many as 77 migrant minors on a given day. Since the order’s implementation, especially in April, daily referrals from border officials have hovered around the single digits. On some days, the agency has not received any minors.
Because the refugee agency has continued to release children to relatives and sponsors in the U.S. during the pandemic, the number of unaccompanied migrant minors in its custody has plummeted, falling to 1,648 this week — a population not seen since late 2011, according to an administration official. Last April, during an unprecedented wave of U.S.-bound migrant families and children, the office had 12,500 minors in its care.
The administration has argued that the CDC order invoking a 1940s-era public health law is necessary to block the entry of migrants who could be carrying the coronavirus and cause outbreaks inside immigration jails that would overwhelm the public health system along the border. Migrant children, top officials have argued, pose the same threat to the U.S. as adults during the pandemic.
“The disease doesn’t know age,” Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan told reporters last month. “When [minors] come across the border, they pose an absolute, concrete public health risk to this country and everybody they come in contact with.”
While officials like Morgan have maintained that the turn-back order was not a matter of immigration policy, it accomplishes an objective the Trump administration has pursued for over three years: shutting off access to humanitarian protections for immigrants who hardliners see as chiefly economic migrants.
“The administration is using coronavirus and the pandemic as a cover for doing what it has always wanted to do, which was to close the border to children,” Jennifer Nagda, the policy director at the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, told CBS News. “There is no reason why unaccompanied children arriving at the border can’t be safely screened and transferred to ORR custody, where capacity is at an all-time low.”
“There is no real public health justification for turning these children away at the border — and it absolutely violates federal law,” Nagda added.
“I didn’t know where they had him”
María said she and Jesús left Honduras last year after being threatened by her former partner. She said her other three children stayed at her mother’s home, where they had been living.
CBS News is not disclosing María or Jesús’ real names to protect their identities.
Upon reaching and crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in September 2019, María and her son were placed in the Remain in Mexico program, formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols or MPP, according to U.S. government documents reviewed by CBS News. For months, they lived in the tent city in Matamoros, Mexico, the largest refugee camp along the U.S.-Mexico border. They entered the U.S. three times to attend their court hearings at a makeshift immigration court in Brownsville, Texas.
In March, an immigration judge denied the family’s petition for humanitarian protection in the U.S. María said she found herself in an agonizing position. She feared her son could be hurt if they returned to Honduras. She was also concerned about his safety in the squalid tent camp in Matamoros, located in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, which the U.S. government warns Americans not to visit because of the rampant violence and crime there.
So María followed the lead of other asylum-seeking parents in the MPP program and let Jesús cross the border without her, since unaccompanied minors are supposed to be excluded from the Remain in Mexico policy. Between October 2019 and last month, at least 571 children in the custody of the U.S. refugee agency have said their parents were in Mexico under the policy, according to government data obtained by CBS News.
In a letter Wednesday, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus denounced reports by advocates that the U.S. refugee agency has been delaying the release of children with pending Remain in Mexico cases. Last month, a federal judge said the agency can’t block the release of children with sponsors simply because they were formerly in Mexico with their family and have a pending case linked to the MPP program.
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Jesús was turned over to the agency on April 20, one day after Border Patrol agents encountered and processed him under the public health order. On April 24, ICE sent him to Honduras on a deportation flight, the agency said.
But María said she did not find out about her son’s fate until a week after he was expelled to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Her cousin in Tegucigalpa, the country’s capital, was the one who told her, she said. Honduran immigration officials reached her six days after Jesús’ removal. “I was scared about my son’s whereabouts. I didn’t know where they had him,” she said.
María’s cousin has agreed to take care of Jesús for the time being. The 10-year-old boy is still shocked and distressed, María said.
“This is the first time we have been separated. That’s why he is sad. ‘When are you coming, mommy?’ he has asked me,” she added. “They told me he spent his days at the shelter crying.”
Dr. Amy Cohen, a child welfare expert and executive director of the group Every Last One, which works with asylum-seeking minors, helped María locate her child and arranged for him to stay with family members in Honduras. Faulting the U.S. government, Cohen said it would’ve been nearly impossible for the Honduran mother to locate her son if she had not received outside help.
“This child, for all intents and purposes, is now alone in Honduras. He’s 10-years-old. He has been traumatized and separated from his mother,” Cohen told CBS News.
The rapid expulsion of unaccompanied children like Jesús from U.S. soil upends decades of legal safeguards that underage migrants have been granted for years, particularly those classified as unaccompanied.
When the Department of Homeland Security was created in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, Congress charged the Office of Refugee Resettlement with caring for unaccompanied minors, which had been the responsibility of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, a Justice Department branch with law enforcement functions that was disbanded.
Under a 2008 law, border officials generally must transfer unaccompanied migrant children who are not from Mexico or Canada to the U.S. refugee agency within three days of their apprehension, except in extraordinary circumstances.
Once in the U.S., immigration law dictates that unaccompanied migrant minors can’t be placed in a fast-tracked deportation process known as “expedited removal” and must be connected with legal services providers and child advocates. They are to be placed in the “least restrictive” shelters and facilities.
U.S. law stipulates that unaccompanied children can also have their asylum applications decided by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, rather than an immigration judge. Migrant minors, unlike adults, also have other avenues beyond asylum to seek safe haven in the U.S. Those who can prove they have been neglected, abandoned or abused by one or both parents can request “Special Immigrant Juvenile Status,” which creates a pathway to U.S. citizenship.
The care of unaccompanied children in U.S. custody is also governed by the landmark 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement, which also covers minors in families. Under the settlement, minors must be detained in safe and sanitary facilities, and the government must make a continuing effort to release them to qualified sponsors.
The Trump administration has sought to alter, limit or completely scrap most of these laws and protections, arguing that they encourage unauthorized migration of children, particularly from poverty-stricken and violence-ridden parts of Central America. But Jennifer Podkul, vice president of Kids in Need of Defense, a group that provides legal services to unaccompanied minors, said these safeguards were purposely established to protect them.
“Congress passed legislation with incredible bipartisan support, recognizing that this is a particularly vulnerable population, to make sure that these kids aren’t summarily returned but rather that they have the opportunity to talk to a social worker, talk to a lawyer and talk to a judge, so that the United States can be sure they are not sending a kid back to danger,” Podkul told CBS News. “That was Congress’ intent.”
Pablo Rodriguez, an attorney at the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services who works with unaccompanied minors in U.S. immigration custody, said children fleeing to the U.S. are still in need of protection, even during a pandemic.
“Just because there is a pandemic going on does not mean that the reasons the children flee, the reasons why people are coming to the United States, have changed,” Rodriguez told CBS News. “They are still fleeing gang violence, and a lot of other push-and-pull factors are still at play.”
Border officials citing the CDC order have also altered the long-standing definition of an “unaccompanied” migrant child as a minor who is encountered at the border without a parent or legal guardian. The administration has told Congress it is now classifying minors who come to the border with other family members as “accompanied” and expelling them as a family.
Under an informal agreement between the U.S. and Mexico, Mexican officials agreed to receive Central American families and single adults expelled by the U.S. under the public health order but not unaccompanied minors, a Mexican government official told CBS News. However, a CBP spokesman said Tuesday that unaccompanied children could be expelled to Mexico through a port of entry, or in an ICE deportation flight.
CBP has said its agents could exclude unaccompanied minors from the public health order on a case-by-case basis if they see signs of trafficking or illness, or if the child’s expulsion to her home country is not immediately possible. A CBP spokesman did not provide more details about when agents could exclude children. “If specific circumstances guaranteeing exemptions from title 42 expulsion were to be made public, they would be exploited by human smugglers,” the spokesman said.
Nagda, the policy director at the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, is worried about the potential asylum and protection requests that the U.S. is no longer hearing from children.
“What is most terrifying about this situation is the complete dereliction of any sense of either our legal obligation or moral obligation to very vulnerable children who are coming to our borders,” she said. “We have no idea who these children are and we have no idea where they’re going.”
Meanwhile, in the refugee camp in Matamoros, María is now contemplating returning to Honduras.
“Yes, I’m scared to go back — but my son is there now,” she said.
Those are among the many questions parents are asking after the recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. Many white parents wonder whether to talk with their kids at all, while parents of color swallow their grief and fear to have “the talk” once again.
These deaths are part of a more complex story, one some parents have been telling for generations, and others have long felt they’ve had the luxury to ignore. But experts in child psychology and race-based stress say these conversations are essential for all parents to have, and they underscore that there are developmentally appropriate ways to talk to children of all ages about racism and police brutality.
“Silence will not protect you or them,” said Beverly Daniel Tatum, a psychologist and author of, Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race. “Avoiding the topic is not a solution.”
Racism persists, experts say, because many parents avoid difficult conversations.
“One of the most important things to remember is that you may not have all the answers and that is OK,” said Erlanger Turner, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at Pepperdine University who studies mental health among racial communities.
USA TODAY spoke with Tatum and Turner about how to talk with children about racial violence:
Why is it important to talk with children about what happened to George Floyd and other incidents of police brutality or racism in the news?
Beverly Daniel Tatum: Even young children may see or hear about highly publicized incidents like the George Floyd case – perhaps overhearing the TV or the radio – and may ask questions. Or if parents are upset by the news, the child may perceive the parent’s distress and ask why mom or dad is upset. In either case, an age-appropriate explanation is better than silence. Older children with Internet access may see online images on their own. Initiating an age-appropriate conversation can give children a helpful frame for understanding difficult realities. If parents are silent, children will draw their own often faulty conclusions about what is happening and why.
Erlanger Turner: Many adults are hurt and angered by these events and their children may notice changes in their mood. It is helpful to have a healthy conversation around what happened and also talk about ways to cope when you witness social injustice.
Does COVID-19 warrant avoiding these conversations, given many children are already struggling with fear, anxiety and uncertainty?
BDT: No. Not talking about upsetting events only fuels fear, anxiety and uncertainty. Being able to talk about something with a supportive adult can reduce fear, anxiety and uncertainty. Parents may avoid the conversation because they don’t know what to say, but it is a mistake to think that their silence is helpful.Get the Coronavirus Watch newsletter in your inbox.
ET: I don’t think that anxiety and fear about COVID-19 should stop a parent from talking about police brutality. This issue has been increasing in concern over the last few years as the number of black and brown people killed by police continue to rise. I think if you do talk with your child don’t leave them in a high state of worry. Make sure to end the conversation by engaging in a pleasant activity after the difficult discussion so they won’t stay worried or afraid.
How do parents start these conversations and how does that change depending on the age of their children?
ET: I think the first place to start a conversation around racism and police brutality is with honesty. Take ownership of your feelings and be comfortable sharing those feelings with your child. Then you can begin to allow them to share what they may already know about racial differences. I think that it is always good to allow children to share their opinion and understanding before you offer information.
For younger children conversations about racism should be limited to basic facts about how people are treated differently due to the color of their skin but also acknowledge that not everyone treats people differently based on race. For older teens, parents can consider exposure to news or social media posts as discussion points about this issue.
BDT: Regardless of the age of the child, it is important to balance acknowledging the reality of racism, or unfairness, with messages about the possibility of change, and the community of allies who are working together to make things better.
If a child of color asks if a police officer is going to kill them, what do you say?
BDT: The answer will depend on the age of the child. If it is a young child, a parent can be reassuring. “No, honey, you don’t have to worry about that. Police officers don’t want to hurt you.”
In response to an older child, it can be reassuring to say something like: “I know that it is scary to think that something like that might happen, and I really don’t want you to worry about anything like that. I know that most police officers want to help people, and most police officers never fire their guns. But sometimes they do get nervous and make mistakes. So it is important for you to know what to do if a police officer ever stops you…”
Black parents often refer to this as “the talk” they have to have with their adolescent sons to increase the odds they will survive an encounter with a police officer if and when they are stopped.
ET: That is a tough question. Depending on the age of the child, they may have some awareness of youth that have been killed by police. Obviously you don’t want to respond in a way that is going to make children be more fearful for their safety. In my opinion, I think that you should let children know that most police officers work to protect them and their community.
If a child says they are afraid or angry, what do you say?
BDT: Acknowledge the child’s feelings. The parent may have similar feelings. “I know it’s upsetting to hear about and see these things happening. It upsets me too when bad things like this happen. Racism is very unfair. But it makes me feel better to know there are lots of people who want to change things.” Being able to offer specific examples of community change agents would be useful. Being able to talk about what family members are doing to speak up against unfairness is especially useful. Actions always speak louder than words.
ET: If a child tells you that they are angry, that is appropriate. Don’t force them to hide their emotional expression. However, be sure to help them identify ways to express their anger in a healthy manner which may include journaling or exercising to release the energy from their body.
If a child is afraid for one of their friends, what do you say?
BDT: “I can see that you are worried about your friend. What do you think we could do that might help him or her?” Depending on the situation, this could be an opportunity to talk about what it means to be an ally, and how to stand in solidarity with another person.
ET: If a child is afraid for one of their friends, talk with them about those emotions. Allow the child to express why they may be afraid and help them identify how they can check on their friend’s safety to ease their anxiety or fear. Part of what increases anxiety is the fear of the unknown. If you have a plan of action it will reduce some of those fears.
How can parents talk about law enforcement in a way that is honest but also doesn’t discourage children from seeking help from law enforcement when appropriate?
BDT: Most police officers become police officers because they want to help people. And there are times when we would really want a police officer to help us – give some examples – if there’s been a car accident, or if someone took something that belonged to us, etc. But sometimes a police officer does something bad, like today. When that happens, we might start to think that all police officers are like that. But it’s important to remember that that is not true.
ET: I think that it is very important to talk with the children about law enforcement. For example, you can talk with them about how they protect rules in society such as making sure that people don’t drive too fast so they won’t harm themselves or others. Providing clear examples about the ways that law enforcement helps society will allow the child to better understand. You can also be honest about situations such as police brutality and let children know that some police officers break laws. If you have a trusted officer in your community it may be good to also allow the child to talk with them in person to reduce their fear.
Should these conversations be different depending on the race of the child?
BDT: Children of color are likely to experience racist encounters as they get older. They need to be helped to understand their own worth and feel affirmed in their identity as young people of color despite the negative messages they may get from others. Parents of color want to raise self-confident and empowered children who are not demoralized by other people’s racism. This requires lots of conversation about racism and how to resist it in an ongoing way throughout their children’s lives.
White children are often racially isolated as a consequence of segregated schools and neighborhoods, and consequently limited in their understanding of people different from themselves. White parents who want to interrupt the cycle of racism must learn to talk to their children about it and model their own anti-racist activity.
ET: According to research, white parents often don’t talk with their children about race or may emphasize “not seeing color.” The concept of colorblindness or “not seeing color” is more harmful than helpful and does not honor an individual’s identity. … For white families, research suggests … conversations should focus on raising anti-racist children and encouraging more friendships with children from others races.
Many of these deaths garner attention because footage of it goes viral. What should we say if our child asks to see it?
BDT: There are many adults who don’t want to see such footage. I would not show it to a child at all. Once an image is in your head, it is very difficult to get it out. That said, it is reasonable to describe what happened and talk about why it was wrong. It is also likely that children with Internet access can view the footage without an adult’s permission or assistance. Talking about it after the fact will help children process their feelings.
ET: You should not show your children these videos as it may increase the likelihood of them experiencing symptoms of trauma or having nightmares. What we know from research on witnessing disasters is that individuals may be at a higher risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder even through indirect exposure to these events.
What do we say if, in the course of this conversation, a child says something racist?
BDT: Inquire about it with curiosity, not judgment. “I’m wondering why you said that…” After hearing more about what the child is thinking, you can offer correction by providing new information. “You know, a lot of people might think that is true, but I don’t because….”
ET: I think the first thing to do is to not get defensive. You want to foster open communication with your child. However, I think you should explore why they have that opinion, where did they learn it from, and tell them why what they said was wrong. It might be helpful for you as a parent to think about ways that you may have unconsciously expressed racist attitudes.
How can parents explain the uprisings in a way that doesn’t condone violence but also doesn’t minimize the sense of injustice fueling them?
BDT: Children understand the concept of unfairness as well as the experience of frustration. Years and years of unfairness – racism – results in intense anger and frustration. The conversation can then be about what we must do to fix the continuing unfairness.
ET: I think it is important for parents to be honest. Share your hurt, anger, or disappointment with your child. You should also talk about different ways to protest social injustice such as calling your local politicians office or even visit their office to talk with them about policy change to reduce injustice.
Teachers’ union leader warns situation ‘untenable’ as health officials say track and trace system has been left too late
Parents are divided over the prospect of sending their children back to school, a new poll has revealed, as parent groups warned that mixed messages and poor communication had caused widespread anxiety about returning.
With school leaders still grappling with the practicalities of reopening primary schools for some year groups in just a week’s time in England, an Opinium poll for the Observer found that 43 per cent of primary school parents and 54 per cent of secondary school parents feel anxious about the prospects of returning.
Primary schools have been instructed to prepare to bring back reception, year 1 and year 6 classes, as well as their early years provision. However, councils of all political colours have suggested they will not follow the advice, while Welsh and Scottish schools will wait to reopen.
There are now also concerns that the return of pupils has become such a chaotic issue that it could worsen the attainment gap between affluent and poor areas and families. Some teaching unions have suggested the families of vulnerable children have been more reluctant to see them return to school. David Laws, the former education minister who now oversees the Education Policy Institute, said that a widening divide was a “significant risk”
John Jolly, chief executive of the parent group Parentkind, said there was confusion about the reopening of schools. “Parents are looking for certainty,” he said. “Some want the certainty of saying schools are safe and we’re going back. Some want the certainty of keeping children out of school until there is a vaccine, which may reflect families with underlying conditions. Then you have other parents that want a clear timeline.
“Parents are not convinced about messages around schools being safe. They are not sure about that message from the government, or that the evidence for that is being communicated. There is a lot of uncertainty about the message being communicated by schools locally.”
Mary Bousted, the joint general secretary of the National Education Union, warned the situation on the ground was now “chaotic and increasingly untenable”. “Not only are school leaders having to think about how to reopen schools, but how they convince parents that their children should go back, and organise the school site. Then they don’t know how many staff they will have. Schools are vital for society. But they have to be safe.”Advertisement
However, professor Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said schools should be allowed to reopen. “Covid-19 generally barely affects children and young people and actually we’ve shown that they are about half as susceptible,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “There is no doubt in my mind for children themselves, the balances are clearly in favour of going back to school.” He said the risks to family and the community could be managed with an effective track and trace system and a phased return.
While a working track and trace system is seen as necessary for rules around schools and other parts of the lockdown to be loosened, several local government sources warned that councils were now facing a race against time. There have been complaints that local public health officials have been sidelined during the pandemic, despite their expertise. They are now being drafted in as part of several pilots of the track and trace system, but insiders warn they now face huge time pressures.
Professor Donna Hall, head of the New Local Government Network, said: “At the beginning of March, public health directors were quite rapidly cut out of the national pandemic response. They are there for all aspects of public health, working on things like HIV, hepatitis, pandemic flu. Disease control is their job. They are highly skilled … but they’ve been cut out in quite a strange way.
“Other countries have deployed local resilience forums for testing and tracing. A national contact centre is never going to get to the granular detail you need for contact tracing. I’ve been out with the people who do it – they are forensic. You won’t get that through an app. It is people on the ground, observing how a disease spreads. It could be from a petrol pump or a salt shaker. That’s the kind of detail needed.
“They may be piloting things, but we’ve left it really late for that. Not giving local government a big role is foolish and dangerous.”
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ALBANY NY (WRGB) – The cancellation of in-person summer school devastating for a mom whose child has special needs.
Governor Cuomo’s announcement Thursday caused a lot of parents to reach out to us explaining the impacts.
“Last night when I received the message from my son’s teacher, I broke down and I cried.”
CBS 6 viewer Nicole Nelson has kept her kids home and out of daycare since the shutdown began in March, but she was hopeful the state would resume programs her 4-year-old son Billy relies on this summer. Billy is on the autism spectrum.
“My son has been out of services since we went “on pause” in March and that’s going to be a full 6 months of doing Zooms and virtual therapy and that doesn’t really work for him so it’s just totally devastating,” Nelson said.
Nicole Nelson was hopeful the state would resume programs her 4-year-old son Billy relies on this summer. (WRGB PROVIDED
The cancellation of in-person summer school also meant the cancellation of Billy’s Individualized Education Program, which is specialized for each student and helps with speech and other needs.
“My son has been receiving services since he was 6-months-old so for services to just stop in-person its caused a great regression,” Nelson said.
Day care is still allowed, considered an essential business. The Office of Children and Family Services says 70 percent of the state’s day cares are still up and running. Nelson says it doesn’t make sense to her why a day care can stay open, but her child’s small class with 6 kids, two teachers and 1 aid can’t resume with social distancing measures.
“The only reason we would even consider putting our son into school is because it’s just a smaller classroom, less people and if you did it the right way you can do it safely,” Nelson said.
The cancellation of in-person summer school also meant the cancellation of Billy’s Individualized Education Program, which is specialized for each student and helps with speech and other needs. (WRGB PROVIDED)
She’s says if she could speak to Governor Cuomo she would ask him to re-consider opening special needs programs.
“Not all children are alike and some kids needs more than other kids do,” Nelson said.
Day cares are operating under guidelines set forth by the NYS Department of health and the CDC.
For parents who need childcare as New York State reopens, an OCFS spokeswoman sent CBS 6 links that help parents find day cares that are open near them:
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It’s been a rough few months for parents. Schools, parks, playgrounds — all closed.
For many parents during the age of COVID-19, home is now the classroom, the office and the center of entertainment.
Dr. Rachel Schwartz, a special education teacher and consultant for the Watson Institute has written an article called “Thoughts for Families in a Hard Time.” She went over a few points with KDKA’s Brenda Waters.
“Connect” was at the top of the list. She says when things get tough people tend to want to pull in, grit their teeth and bear it. But she says that’s not a good idea. She says parents need to reach out — to other resources, to the community, to their church.
“Routine” is another point.
“The routine is that we live our life following routines, all of us do. Our children have routines and now with covid, all of that was blown out of the water. Now we need to establish a new routine.”
Dr. Schwartz says parents also need to focus on what is most important at the moment and if you children act out, don’t take it personally, they too are dealing with difficult times.
The next one may be a little tough and that is “relax.” But that’s what Dr. Schwartz wants parents to adhere to the most.
“You are everything your child needs. Your child is so lucky to have you as a parent, you are giving them love, the best academia, all of the things they need right now,” she says.
Dr. Schwartz says she wanted to make these points now during National Mental Health Month.
Detailed guidelines issued by the American Camp Association and the YMCA recommend extensive cleaning protocols and safety measures to protect kids during the pandemic.
May 18, 2020, 8:15 AM CDT / Source: TODAYBy Scott Stump
Summer camp is going to look a lot different this year as parents weigh whether to send their children during the coronavirus pandemic.
Thousands of camps are making numerous changes emphasizing health and safety, which could mean wearing masks when appropriate and daily cleaning of sports gear and aquatic equipment.
Tom Rosenberg, the president and CEO of the American Camp Association, and Paul McEntire, the COO of YMCA of the USA (Y-USA), spoke to Savannah Guthrie exclusively on TODAY about the joint release of detailed guidelines by their organizations on Monday outlining best policies that camps can use to keep children safe during the pandemic.
The thought of a group of 6- or 7-year-olds excitedly gathering at camp and practicing social distancing or rigid hygiene may not be easy to envision, but the guide provides a host of details about everything from pool safety to cleaning life jackets to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Parents can definitely expect to see safety as the first and foremost focus at camp this summer,” Rosenberg said. “For camp directors, the health and safety of our campers is paramount.”
About 20 million children, adolescents and adults enjoy roughly 14,000 camps across the country every year between day camps and overnight camps. The YMCA runs about 10,000 day camps on its own, as well as 325 overnight camps.
A majority of the YMCA day camps are planning to open this summer as long as they are in compliance with state and local guidance, while some overnight camps have decided not to open this summer, according to McEntire.
Some camps may have shortened sessions and others may be conducting the camp virtually, according to Rosenberg.
“There are going to be lots of different choices, but not necessarily looking typical this summer,” Rosenberg said.
A host of changes are recommended by the guide, including regular sanitizing, hand-washing, social distancing, staggered meals, smaller group activities and staggered arrivals and pick-ups.
The recommendations also include routine cleaning of all outdoor equipment after each use and providing campers with their own equipment like tennis rackets or bows and arrows for the duration of camp if possible.
When it comes to pool safety, the guidelines state that there is no current evidence that coronavirus can be spread in a pool or water play area, so properly disinfecting with chlorine or bromine “will likely inactivate the virus in the water.”
Other guidelines include physical distancing while swimming, keeping activities confined to the same group of campers and same instructors and regularly cleaning and disinfecting shared equipment like oars and life jackets.
Some camps may also plan to screen campers ahead of time with two weeks of temperature checks while also determining if they have been in contact with someone who tested positive. Campers also could be screened if they have traveled to a hotspot like New York City, which has been the center of a rare and potentially deadly condition linked to COVID-19 in children.
Whether campers are given COVID-19 tests is up to the local and state governments and the resources available, according to the experts. Overnight camps are urged to have places to isolate any campers who could have been exposed to COVID-19, while day camps are recommended to have parents come pick the child up immediately.
There also are many parents who may not have much of a choice when it comes to sending their child to camp this summer.
“A lot of parents have choices whether to send their child to camp or not, but many others don’t,” McEntire said. “They utilize overnight camp and even more day camp as child care because they have to go to work, and so we feel responsibility to design that so that they can be as safe as possible, so children when they’re with us have fun, be outdoors and allow that parent to go to work.
When asked whether they wanted to be separated from their children, parents chose to remain in detention — with their kids
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement suggests around 180 detained migrant children remain in family detention centers beyond the legally permitted period because their parents did not want to be separated from them, according to a new document filed over the weekend.
The filing was required by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California as part of the lawsuit, Flores v. Barr, a case challenging last year’s move by the Trump administration to end a 1997 court settlement establishing standards of treatment for migrant children. The administration’s move was blocked, but advocates went back to court earlier this year, arguing that the government had kept minors in custody far longer than the legally prescribed 20 days at restrictive, unlicensed and unsanitary facilities.
On April 24, U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee ordered ICE to “promptly and safely” release from detention facilities all children who do not pose a danger to the public and are not flight risks. One of the requirements of that order was that ICE make “individualized” determinations and submit a report on its efforts by May 16.
The report the administration filed Saturday includes a chart logging responses of parents at three family detention facilities run by ICE — two in Texas and one in Pennsylvania. ICE listed “parent does not wish to separate” as a reason for denying children parole in determinations made last week, which the agency said was “consistent with the existing parole review process.”
ICE wrote it had inquired about possible sponsors outside the detention center, among other things. The agency said officers “did not ask any parents to waive his or her Flores rights” during the process.
Lawyers representing clients at the three family detention facilities originally raised concerns about ICE actions in a press call last Thursday. They said ICE agents had approached detained parents, presenting them with a “binary choice.” They could either authorize their child’s release, resulting in their separation from them, or the families could stay in prolonged detention together.
The immigration attorneys, who belong to pro bono legal service providers RAICES, ALDEA and Proyecto Dilley, said ICE had not notified them in advance that it would present parents with such a choice. The lawyers said the parents recounted that ICE agents did not provide other options and did not clarify whether or not parents would be deported without their children, some of whom were as young as 1 year old.
“This choice they’re being given comes at a time when the international crisis that has resulted from COVID-19 should be bringing us together as human beings,” Allison Herre, managing attorney at Proyecto Dilley, said during the media call. “The process by which ICE is … minimizing the humanity and detracting from the dignity of these families is really unfortunate to see.”
Herre and other lawyers said they believe ICE timed its recent actions so the agency could tell the U.S. court it complied with court orders. They sent a letter last week to the independent monitor for the Flores settlement agreement, noting that 163 children held at the three family detention facilities were detained for an average of 137 days; 58 were detained for more than 200 days.
ICE did not respond to CQ Roll Call requests for comment on the matter.
Last week’s accounts by the lawyers prompted the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to announce it was investigating the issue. Staff members of the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who is ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, also are looking into the matter.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Mississippi Democrat who chairs the Homeland Security Committee, released a statement decrying ICE’s reported actions.
“While the number of COVID-19 cases in ICE facilities continues to rise daily, the Administration should use its authority to release families – together – as much as possible,” Thompson said in a statement Friday. “Parents should not be placed in the impossible position of choosing between the safety of their children or being separated. This is a false choice, and I urge the Administration to end this practice immediately.”
A group of parents in the Vail School District got together over Zoom — a “parents-of-seniors happy hour,” says Kary Aros-Hinrichs. Having a few drinks and chatting about their children’s loss of a traditional graduation ceremony gave way to an idea.
The class of 2020 may not get to walk across a stage because of the coronavirus, but Vail high school seniors will be driven down a race track, their graduation song blaring, families and friends cheering them on — from a safe distance, that is, at the Tucson Dragway.
“You can’t fight what is,” Aros-Hinrichs says. “So, let’s not fight it. Let’s think of a way to be positive. What can we do?”
Happy hour turned into a brainstorming session. Closing down a street sounded like a logistical nightmare. The fairgrounds didn’t seem quite right. Then somebody mentioned the drag strip. Aros-Hinrichs sent an email that night. The next morning in her inbox she had a reply from Tucson Dragway Manager Matt DeYoung.
“Call me,” he said. “We can do this.”
Over three nights — May 17, 18 and 19 — participating seniors from Vail’s six high schools will cruise down a 1-mile track that supports 880 cars spaced 6 feet apart along its sides.
A DJ will play music while they queue up their cars, ready in their caps and gowns. As each student starts down the track, their names will be announced over the sound system. And stationed around the track, vehicles occupied by friends and family will be parked 10 feet apart.
Aros-Hinrichs says it’s like walking the stage, only driving.
Teens and parents will decorate vehicles. There’s been talk of limousines and open-air trailers. There’s even rumors that a truck-bed pool might grace the track.
And after a graduate’s name is called, each one will pass a staging area for a photo-op that may come to represent the class of 2020 — commencement photos from a car.
Aros-Hinrichs’ son Josh Aros says even though his class has missed out, in some ways, they’re getting more recognition. There’s a lot of love focused on the class of 2020, he said.
School districts and people throughout Tucson have made efforts over the last few weeks to honor the class of 2020, including adopt-a-senior efforts, celebratory lawn signs, grab-and-go events at schools and virtual graduations.
“It’s really amazing that even during this whole pandemic, they said, ‘How can we make our kids and our community get the most out of this?’” Aros says. “And ‘how can we make them still feel special?’ when like our last semester of our senior year — probably the best time of our schooling — was taken away from us?”
The Cienega High senior had to endure many cancellations as the pandemic ramped up — his 18th birthday party, a soccer tournament in Las Vegas, senior ditch day. But he says this experience has also made him and his family better appreciate the small things.
“We just adapt and overcome, you know?” he says. “It’s just really cool to see we have this whole community behind us.”
Cienega High senior Danae Cole will wear her cap and gown and decorating her mom’s truck for her graduation cruise.
While she’s a bit sad about the celebrations she’s missing out on, in other ways, Cole feels like what she’s getting is better because of all the community efforts to celebrate her class.
“We’re even getting more than our traditional graduation, which, in a way I feel like it’s kind of better, that we get more,” she said.
The district is supporting the event, although not sponsoring or endorsing it. So Aros-Hinrichs and her happy hour committee, a “small” group of about 20 enthusiastic parents, did all the legwork to get the event off the ground.
There were spreadsheets and regular Zoom meetings. They sent out surveys to gauge interest and participation.
Organizers don’t know how many people will show up, but they got hundreds of affirmative responses from the district’s 914 graduating seniors and their parents.
Nothing will ever replace what these kids lost, says Deana Irvin, one of the parents and organizers. She says all they can do is try and create something special.
When seniors get to the end of the track, decorated with billowing balloons, there’s only one way to go — not back in to congratulate each other and socialize, but onto the road that leads them back to whatever bubble they’ve been living in for the past two months.
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If you’re bored at home, IKEA Russia has got some ideas.
(CNN)After what feels like a lifetime in quarantine and isolation, parents may be running out of ideas to keep kids entertained.So for everyone looking for ways to have fun within four walls, Ikea Russia has some ideas.The company released six instruction manuals on how to build blanket forts using everyday household items — chairs, stools, books and, of course, blankets.And there’s instructions for almost every type of structure.Like, a castle, because your kids are royalty.Or a house.
And, with outdoor activities being slightly limited, there’s even a way to go camping.
Also a cave, wigwam and fortress — for whatever storylines you or your kids can dream up.
Quarantining can be stressful with kids but, hey, at least it will never be boring.And if you really want an Ikea experience, the company released a recipe for its Swedish meatballs last month.
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