Emily Oster

8 min Read Emily Oster

Emily Oster

Resource Rundown (for Schools & Parents)

Emily Oster

8 min Read

I had intended to write this piece last week, but I’m glad I waited because much more has started to come into focus. It’s increasingly clear which areas of the country are going to have fully remote school, and which areas are going to try to do some in person learning. Within the latter, parents are starting to hear details about partial weeks, weeks on and off, and so on.

These announcements have changed the conversation a bit. There is still a question about whether to open schools, but many of the conversations have moved to a place with more logistics. If learning is going to be remote, what does that mean (for investments by schools and parents?) If we are going in person, how and what protections need to be in place?

Over the last weeks people have shared a lot of resources and, to be honest, this piece is a bit of a data-dump. But I hope you will find something useful in here. I’ve started with some general resources around schools as background. I can see these being useful for schools to share with their teachers and parents, or for parents to review on their own.

The second piece is resources for parents. Yes, I have some “learning pod” resources. I struggled with whether to include these given the enormous equity issues here. But for at least some parents, these may be useful, and I thought better to name the issues (and perhaps point you back to this post on inequality) rather than leave them out.

And then, finally, a few resources for school and districts, including some thoughts on (slightly) more creative approaches.

So enjoy the Thursday Data Dump!

Big Picture Resources

  • This piece is a fantastic summary of what has happened when schools reopened globally. In their words: “This document is a brief summary of the models and implementation approaches to re-opening schools that focuses on the approaches used in 15 countries for which we were able to identify data.”
  • UCSF Grand Rounds video on COVID-19 and kids, from July 9th. This video is an excellent summary, although amazingly it is already perhaps a bit out of date. Don’t Forget The Bubbles is another excellent link. And, of course, COVID-Explained.

For Parents

At this point, we are not all in the same boat, and we probably do not all have the same questions. So find your group…

My school is planning to return in person (for now)

If you’re in this boat (an increasingly small one which seems to be leaking fast) your central questions are likely to be about safety. I’d refer you up to the pediatric evidence (which is reassuring) in the big picture above. But it likely also makes sense to do some due diligence on the opening plans. Things I would ask:

  • Prevention measures being taken? Good specifics to ask about include: class sizes, mask rules, pod isolation (i.e. do the kids stay with one group), symptom tracking, temperature taking, sick kid protocols. I will note that of these I think the latter three are the most crucial and the ones where parental pressure may make the most difference. There are symptom tracker options, and schools can at least request everyone take a temperature before coming in.
  • What happens when there is a case? Not everyone is talking about this, but I’d make sure you know what the plan is. Is the school going to close completely for the first case? Then you should plan on remote learning almost for sure.

…My school is either partially or fully remote

  • First, take a well deserved moment to panic. This isn’t what you signed up for, and you are worried about yourself and your kids and everyone’s sanity.
  • Now: making this work will be all about planning well. Sit down and figure out what is possible — is there an adult who can be home with the kids? Is there any child care being provided on the market that you could use? Could a grandparent help (less risky given that the kids are not in school).
  • The internet is all over the discussion of “pandemic pods.” Let’s put aside the equity issues here, and talk about this practically. It is possible that it makes sense to combine your household or resources with a few other families in some way. Like what ways?
    • Non-Market Combinations: This combining could involve nothing more than a regular, stable play group for your children to have some social engagement. It could involve shared homeschooling duties across groups of parents (i.e. we each take a day).

      If you do this, especially the latter, my very strong suggestion is you write a formal contract. Even if these people are like your best friends ever, starting a pandemic pod could be the end of that. What happens when one family shirks on their supervision day? What rules will you have for interacting outside the pod? What if one set of parents goes to an indoor restaurant?

      General guidance on pandemic pods (not in schooling). For schooling, you’d want to add to all of that with details about exactly how the school supervision will work and, yes, what happens if people cheat or shirk.

      Market Combinations: It hasn’t been lost on the internet that some families are hiring their own teachers. My sense is this comes in two forms. The main way I suspect people will use this is in hiring someone to supervise kids who are enrolled in public school and following he public school curriculum. You may simply need someone to supervise so parents can work and possibly scaffold online learning a bit.

      The second option, of course the one the internet is all about, is people hiring teachers to supervise their own “micro-school” with curriculum development and so on. Personally, I suspect this is not going to be common, but I guess we’ll see. It’s pretty complicated to design a whole school curriculum from scratch in (checks watch) five weeks.

      If you want to go in one of these directions, the market can help. Of course there is always care.com for child care providers, but there are more specific options. Swing Education, for example, has pivoted from providing substitute teachers to schools to staffing learning pods. Their model will largely assume kids are enrolled in formal schools and their teachers will supervise.

      A plea from education researchers/school administrators/policy people: if at all possible do not pull your child from public school even if you are planning on going it alone. This affects school funding, which impacts their ability to serve kids who need it, as well as to keep teachers employed.

Schools

School administrators have, obviously, many resources other than this newsletter (I MEAN I F*ING HOPE SO). So here let’s go with a little less speculative commentating and a little more listing.

But let me just say one thing: if you are a school or district which is still deciding if and how to open, my read is the data increasingly favors a focus on younger children and, for equity reasons, more vulnerable groups. Younger kids are less likely to get sick, and seem less likely to transmit the virus. They are also much less successful at learning online. This piece, in the Atlantic, makes a strong case for opening schools faster for younger children, and I think the data has only strengthened since it was written.

Combining a full re-entry for younger children with a partial reentry for older children could open up space and resources. Even better (I think) would be prioritize older kids based on need. Children with unstable home circumstances or no internet, along with those who are in Special Education could come back to school, while others would learn from home. People will complain, but nothing we do here will be fair.

Resources for general advice:

Resources for Symptom Tracking:

Resources for Online Learning

One might have thought that a huge wealth of resources would have been created for optimizing online learning but one would be wrong! However, I did source two useful ones.

  • SchoolClosures.org: looks bare bones, is staffed by volunteers and was created for the pandemic. However: the advice to teachers in optimizing remote learning is clear and seems doable.
  • Microsoft: The opposite! Microsoft is about as fully established as you get, but they also have some helpful thoughts.
  • A little bit more specific: many people have recommended PearDeck as a add on to Google Slides. It’s a way to keep kids more engaged with ongoing assessments.
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Do you brand things a certain way to get your kid to accept it? Like calling carrots “rabbit popsicles”? Or telling them to put on their “super speed socks” in the morning? Share your rebrands in the comments below! You never know who you might be helping out 👇

#emilyoster #funnytweets #relatabletweets #parentingjokes #kidssaythedarndestthings

Do you brand things a certain way to get your kid to accept it? Like calling carrots “rabbit popsicles”? Or telling them to put on their “super speed socks” in the morning? Share your rebrands in the comments below! You never know who you might be helping out 👇

#emilyoster #funnytweets #relatabletweets #parentingjokes #kidssaythedarndestthings
...

Have you ever panic-googled a parenting question when everyone else is asleep? If so, you’re not alone. 

Today is the first episode of a new biweekly series on my podcast: Late-Night Panic Google. On these mini-episodes, you’ll hear from some familiar names about the questions keeping them up at night, and how data can help. First up: @claireholt!

Listen and subscribe to ParentData with Emily Oster in your favorite podcast app 🎧

#parentdata #emilyoster #claireholt #parentingstruggles #parentingtips #latenightpanicgoogle

Have you ever panic-googled a parenting question when everyone else is asleep? If so, you’re not alone.

Today is the first episode of a new biweekly series on my podcast: Late-Night Panic Google. On these mini-episodes, you’ll hear from some familiar names about the questions keeping them up at night, and how data can help. First up: @claireholt!

Listen and subscribe to ParentData with Emily Oster in your favorite podcast app 🎧

#parentdata #emilyoster #claireholt #parentingstruggles #parentingtips #latenightpanicgoogle
...

Sun safety is a must for all ages, especially babies! Here are my tips for keeping your littlest ones protected in the sunshine:
☀️ Most importantly, limit their time out in hot weather. (They get hotter than you do!)
☀️ Keep them in the shade as much as possible when you’re out.
☀️ Long-sleeve but lightweight clothing is your friend, especially on the beach, where even in the shade you can get sunlight reflecting off different surfaces.
☀️ If you want to add a little sunscreen on their hands and feet? Go for it! But be mindful as baby skin tends to more prone to irritation.

Comment “Link” for a DM to an article on the data around sun and heat exposure for babies.

#sunsafety #babysunscreen #babyhealth #parentdata #emilyoster

Sun safety is a must for all ages, especially babies! Here are my tips for keeping your littlest ones protected in the sunshine:
☀️ Most importantly, limit their time out in hot weather. (They get hotter than you do!)
☀️ Keep them in the shade as much as possible when you’re out.
☀️ Long-sleeve but lightweight clothing is your friend, especially on the beach, where even in the shade you can get sunlight reflecting off different surfaces.
☀️ If you want to add a little sunscreen on their hands and feet? Go for it! But be mindful as baby skin tends to more prone to irritation.

Comment “Link” for a DM to an article on the data around sun and heat exposure for babies.

#sunsafety #babysunscreen #babyhealth #parentdata #emilyoster
...

I’m calling on you today to share your story. I know that many of you have experienced complications during pregnancy, birth, or postpartum. It’s not something we want to talk about, but it’s important that we do. Not just for awareness, but to help people going through it feel a little less alone.

That’s why I’m asking you to post a story, photo, or reel this week with #MyUnexpectedStory and tag me. I’ll re-share as many as I can to amplify. Let’s fill our feeds with these important stories and lift each other up. Our voices can create change. And your story matters. 💙

#theunexpected #emilyoster #pregnancycomplications #pregnancystory

I’m calling on you today to share your story. I know that many of you have experienced complications during pregnancy, birth, or postpartum. It’s not something we want to talk about, but it’s important that we do. Not just for awareness, but to help people going through it feel a little less alone.

That’s why I’m asking you to post a story, photo, or reel this week with #MyUnexpectedStory and tag me. I’ll re-share as many as I can to amplify. Let’s fill our feeds with these important stories and lift each other up. Our voices can create change. And your story matters. 💙

#theunexpected #emilyoster #pregnancycomplications #pregnancystory
...

OUT NOW: My new book “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available on April 30th. All of my other books came out of my own experiences. I wrote them to answer questions I had, as a pregnant woman and then as a new parent. “The Unexpected” is a book not to answer my own questions but to answer yours. Specifically, to answer the thousands of questions I’ve gotten over the past decade from people whose pregnancies were more complicated than they had expected. This is for you. 💛 Order now at my link in bio!

OUT NOW: My new book “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available on April 30th. All of my other books came out of my own experiences. I wrote them to answer questions I had, as a pregnant woman and then as a new parent. “The Unexpected” is a book not to answer my own questions but to answer yours. Specifically, to answer the thousands of questions I’ve gotten over the past decade from people whose pregnancies were more complicated than they had expected. This is for you. 💛 Order now at my link in bio! ...

OUT NOW: My new book “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available on April 30th. All of my other books came out of my own experiences. I wrote them to answer questions I had, as a pregnant woman and then as a new parent. “The Unexpected” is a book not to answer my own questions but to answer yours. Specifically, to answer the thousands of questions I’ve gotten over the past decade from people whose pregnancies were more complicated than they had expected. This is for you. 💛 Order now at my link in bio!

OUT NOW: My new book “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available on April 30th. All of my other books came out of my own experiences. I wrote them to answer questions I had, as a pregnant woman and then as a new parent. “The Unexpected” is a book not to answer my own questions but to answer yours. Specifically, to answer the thousands of questions I’ve gotten over the past decade from people whose pregnancies were more complicated than they had expected. This is for you. 💛 Order now at my link in bio! ...

OUT NOW: My new book “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available on April 30th. All of my other books came out of my own experiences. I wrote them to answer questions I had, as a pregnant woman and then as a new parent. “The Unexpected” is a book not to answer my own questions but to answer yours. Specifically, to answer the thousands of questions I’ve gotten over the past decade from people whose pregnancies were more complicated than they had expected. This is for you. 💛 Order now at my link in bio!

OUT NOW: My new book “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available on April 30th. All of my other books came out of my own experiences. I wrote them to answer questions I had, as a pregnant woman and then as a new parent. “The Unexpected” is a book not to answer my own questions but to answer yours. Specifically, to answer the thousands of questions I’ve gotten over the past decade from people whose pregnancies were more complicated than they had expected. This is for you. 💛 Order now at my link in bio! ...

Is side sleeping important during pregnancy? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article on whether sleep position affects pregnancy outcomes.

Being pregnant makes you tired, and as time goes by, it gets increasingly hard to get comfortable. You were probably instructed to sleep on your side and not your back, but it turns out that advice is not based on very good data.

We now have much better data on this, and the bulk of the evidence seems to reject the link between sleep position and stillbirth or other negative outcomes. So go ahead and get some sleep however you are most comfortable. 💤

Sources:
📖 #ExpectingBetter pp. 160-163
📈 Robert M. Silver et al., “Prospective Evaluation of Maternal Sleep Position Through 30 Weeks of Gestation and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes,” Obstetrics and Gynecology 134, no. 4 (2019): 667–76. 

#emilyoster #pregnancy #pregnancytips #sleepingposition #pregnantlife

Is side sleeping important during pregnancy? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article on whether sleep position affects pregnancy outcomes.

Being pregnant makes you tired, and as time goes by, it gets increasingly hard to get comfortable. You were probably instructed to sleep on your side and not your back, but it turns out that advice is not based on very good data.

We now have much better data on this, and the bulk of the evidence seems to reject the link between sleep position and stillbirth or other negative outcomes. So go ahead and get some sleep however you are most comfortable. 💤

Sources:
📖 #ExpectingBetter pp. 160-163
📈 Robert M. Silver et al., “Prospective Evaluation of Maternal Sleep Position Through 30 Weeks of Gestation and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes,” Obstetrics and Gynecology 134, no. 4 (2019): 667–76.

#emilyoster #pregnancy #pregnancytips #sleepingposition #pregnantlife
...

My new book, “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available for preorder at the link in my bio!

I co-wrote #TheUnexpected with my friend and maternal fetal medicine specialist, Dr. Nathan Fox. The unfortunate reality is that about half of pregnancies include complications such as preeclampsia, miscarriage, preterm birth, and postpartum depression. Because these are things not talked about enough, it can not only be an isolating experience, but it can also make treatment harder to access.

The book lays out the data on recurrence and delves into treatment options shown to lower risk for these conditions in subsequent pregnancies. It also guides you through how to have productive conversations and make shared decisions with your doctor. I hope none of you need this book, but if you do, it’ll be here for you 💛

#pregnancy #pregnancycomplications #pregnancyjourney #preeclampsiaawareness #postpartumjourney #emilyoster

My new book, “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available for preorder at the link in my bio!

I co-wrote #TheUnexpected with my friend and maternal fetal medicine specialist, Dr. Nathan Fox. The unfortunate reality is that about half of pregnancies include complications such as preeclampsia, miscarriage, preterm birth, and postpartum depression. Because these are things not talked about enough, it can not only be an isolating experience, but it can also make treatment harder to access.

The book lays out the data on recurrence and delves into treatment options shown to lower risk for these conditions in subsequent pregnancies. It also guides you through how to have productive conversations and make shared decisions with your doctor. I hope none of you need this book, but if you do, it’ll be here for you 💛

#pregnancy #pregnancycomplications #pregnancyjourney #preeclampsiaawareness #postpartumjourney #emilyoster
...

We are better writers than influencers, I promise. Thanks to our kids for filming our unboxing videos. People make this look way too easy. 

Only two weeks until our book “The Unexpected” is here! Preorder at the link in my bio. 💙

We are better writers than influencers, I promise. Thanks to our kids for filming our unboxing videos. People make this look way too easy.

Only two weeks until our book “The Unexpected” is here! Preorder at the link in my bio. 💙
...

Exciting news! We have new, high-quality data that says it’s safe to take Tylenol during pregnancy and there is no link between Tylenol exposure and neurodevelopmental issues in kids. Comment “Link” for a DM to an article exploring this groundbreaking study.

While doctors have long said Tylenol was safe, confusing studies, panic headlines, and even a lawsuit have continually stoked fears in parents. As a result, many pregnant women have chosen not to take it, even if it would help them.

This is why good data is so important! When we can trust the data, we can trust our choices. And this study shows there is no blame to be placed on pregnant women here. So if you have a migraine or fever, please take your Tylenol.

#tylenol #pregnancy #pregnancyhealth #pregnancytips #parentdata #emilyoster

Exciting news! We have new, high-quality data that says it’s safe to take Tylenol during pregnancy and there is no link between Tylenol exposure and neurodevelopmental issues in kids. Comment “Link” for a DM to an article exploring this groundbreaking study.

While doctors have long said Tylenol was safe, confusing studies, panic headlines, and even a lawsuit have continually stoked fears in parents. As a result, many pregnant women have chosen not to take it, even if it would help them.

This is why good data is so important! When we can trust the data, we can trust our choices. And this study shows there is no blame to be placed on pregnant women here. So if you have a migraine or fever, please take your Tylenol.

#tylenol #pregnancy #pregnancyhealth #pregnancytips #parentdata #emilyoster
...

How many words should kids say — and when? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article about language development!

For this graph, researchers used a standardized measure of vocabulary size. Parents were given a survey and checked off all the words and sentences they have heard their child say.

They found that the average child—the 50th percentile line—at 24 months has about 300 words. A child at the 10th percentile—near the bottom of the distribution—has only about 50 words. On the other end, a child at the 90th percentile has close to 600 words. One main takeaway from these graphs is the explosion of language after fourteen or sixteen months. 

What’s valuable about this data is it can give us something beyond a general guideline about when to consider early intervention, and also provide reassurance that there is a significant range in this distribution at all young ages. 

#cribsheet #emilyoster #parentdata #languagedevelopment #firstwords

How many words should kids say — and when? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article about language development!

For this graph, researchers used a standardized measure of vocabulary size. Parents were given a survey and checked off all the words and sentences they have heard their child say.

They found that the average child—the 50th percentile line—at 24 months has about 300 words. A child at the 10th percentile—near the bottom of the distribution—has only about 50 words. On the other end, a child at the 90th percentile has close to 600 words. One main takeaway from these graphs is the explosion of language after fourteen or sixteen months.

What’s valuable about this data is it can give us something beyond a general guideline about when to consider early intervention, and also provide reassurance that there is a significant range in this distribution at all young ages.

#cribsheet #emilyoster #parentdata #languagedevelopment #firstwords
...