Austin Goolsby, Barack Obama, President Trump discussed on BBC World Service

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Austin Goolsby who chaired president Barack Obama's council economic advisers a look now at the impact of coronavirus on our education system research shows that closing schools proactively can slow down the spread of the disease over ten thousand American schools are now either closed or have announced that they will be closing but as NPR's Cory Turner reports making the decision to shutter school isn't easy Nicholas Kristoff says his Yale University lab has always been about studying one word we study how germs spread we study how ideas spread we study how behavior spread Christos wrote the best seller blue print the evolutionary origins of a good society and his lab is now studying how corona virus might spread he says closing schools is one of the most effective things a community can do to slow it down and it's better he says for school leaders not to wait until a student or staff member actually get sick it's sort of closing the barn door after the cow is gone if you wait for the case to occur Chris talking points to studies of the nineteen eighteen Spanish flu he says cities that were quick to close their schools then saved lives closing the schools before anyone in the school district is a very difficult thing to do even though it's probably extremely beneficial and much wiser school leaders say it's very difficult because so many kids get so much from their schools are a large number of our students the safest place for them to be is actually in school so when you're Santa leases is the CEO of Baltimore city public schools she says if she has to cancel school many parents won't be able to take off work so children could be heading home to empty household not to worry all over the country yeah I think that's honestly the hardest contemplation for our district Chris raked all is superintendent of public instruction for Washington state which has been hit hard by corona virus to send you know a million Washington kids home knowing that for hundreds of thousands of them are they simply will not have any parents at home not only won't there be parents at home there might not be lunch either food in security is a real challenge in our community even without an emergency Alberto Carvallo heads Miami Dade County public schools and he says roughly three quarters of his students live at or below the poverty line these kids not only depend on schools for lunch they also get free breakfast free snacks and many he says get free dinner that's why Carballo and school leaders all over the country are hustling to build meal plans in case schools have to close Miami Dade is adapting its hurricane plan in Baltimore Sandra Liza says schools often send kids home on the weekend with a special backpack full of food and maybe they could do something similar she says in the event of a coronavirus closure that only typically get a family through a weekend so we we have other ideas which is trying to see whether they will work in the current context there's one more word that has school leaders scrambling right now equity see if schools have to close for a week or more school leaders want to be sure that learning doesn't entirely stop but schools have a legal obligation to make sure that whatever they do works for every child and that can be expensive Chris raked all says some schools in Washington state are exploring online learning and they're asking themselves does every child have a computer and wifi and access to staff if they have a disability those are paramount questions for our schools and if they can't deliver that when they choose to jump to an online model it's unlikely they're providing a legal basis for an equitable education of all the district leaders I spoke with only one Carvallo in Miami Dade says he is confident he has the tech resources to keep kids learning even if schools can't enabled by a bond referendum that goes back to two thousand twelve we have acquired in excess of two hundred thousand personal devices that's right two hundred thousand laptops tablets and smart phones the kids can take with them if schools close but many school leaders told me they may instead have to treat corona virus like a long heavy snow meaning they'll either try to make up the lost days this summer we simply have to write them off Cory Turner NPR news the United States maintains a huge stockpile of emergency medical supplies in fact it's the biggest medical stockpile in the world and officials have already been dipping into it to help fight coronavirus NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce reports on what the stockpile program can do in this crisis and what it can't before I was allowed to visit one of the strategic national stockpile sites a few years ago I had to promise never to reveal its location I walked past armed guards into a huge warehouse that had a giant American flag hanging from the ceiling the stock pile programs then director Greg Burrell gave me a tour if you envision say a super Walmart and stick to those side by side and take out all the drop ceiling that's about the same kind of space that we would occupy and one of the storage locations so how many warehouses like this do you all have you know we have an undisclosed number of warehouses almost everything about these places a secret for security reasons but I once heard an official say in a public meeting that there were six the warehouses are placed in strategic spots around the country each is packed with medical supplies all in all about eight billion dollars worth tool is executive vice president of in Q. Tel and a former homeland security official she says when the stockpile program got started in nineteen ninety nine it was much smaller and highly specialized and intended to supply drugs we would need if they were a chemical radiological biological or nuclear attack so it has material for those threats like drugs to treat people exposed to radiation smallpox and anthrax vaccines but over the years the stockpile's mission expanded to include flu pandemics and emergencies like hurricanes or earthquakes it now holds anti flu drugs along with basic medical needs like IV fluids and kids bandages antibiotics pain killers it's never going to be as big as you want because it's just too expensive to do that tools as the stockpile is supposed to fill the gap between when an emergency happens and when manufacturers can ramp up production it's a bridge it's not a replacement for the private sector that means there could still be shortages take masks for example officials say the stockpile has about thirty million simple surgical masks and twelve million of the more protective N. ninety five masks that's not going to be enough already Washington state has requested hundreds of thousands of masked from the stockpile and it's gotten shipments more requests are sure to come in the government says it wants to buy half a billion more masks over the next year and a half you know we wish we had everything that we needed on the shelf all the time but we have to be respectful of the appropriations Congress provides and live within those I caught up with regular al who retired from the stockpile program last year he said in an emergency like this one another thing from the stockpile that could be useful is its ventilators and we can send those out people can be intubated and those can help people breed until they can take back over for themself how many ventilators does the stockpile have he wouldn't tell me he just said a lot some public sources I've seen suggests that it's at least four thousand they're all charged up and ready to go fitted into kits that are easy to move like a rolling suitcase so we try to think about putting these together in such a way that you can roll it in and use it immediately but there might be a problem if things get bad enough to need all those ventilators hospitals may be struggling to have enough trained staff to use them even though the federal government can provide some supplies from the stockpile the.

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