O.C. Schools Continue Full Reopening Goal

first_imgBy MADDY VITALEOcean City school officials emphasized during a Board of Education meeting Wednesday night that they are committed to keeping the students and faculty safe and eventually returning to a full, five-day schedule of in-person instruction.In doing so, the recently formed COVID Committee headed by School Board Vice President Dr. Patrick Kane meets regularly and gives daily updates to the board.Dr. Kane could not attend the meeting due to an emergency, but School Board President Joseph Clark gave a report on a recent COVID Committee meeting of school officials and medical professionals.“We are committed to keeping our students safe,” Clark said.Almost daily, the committee members report pertinent information about the pandemic and how to handle things in the schools, according to Clark, who attends the committee meetings.“We talked about the CDC guidelines, as well as what the DOE, (Department of Education) is requiring,” he said.Currently, the county is in the yellow – considered a moderate risk level for COVID.Clark attributed people adhering to safety protocols amid the pandemic and more people being vaccinated as helping lower the number of new COVID cases.Some members of the school district and the public said that they should be a part of the COVID committee.Ocean City High School art teacher Paul Matusz addressed the board during the public portion, asking that teachers be a part of the COVID Committee.“Our goal is a shared one. Our teachers have insight and experiences,” Matusz said. “The COVID Committee has been instrumental, but this is where we feel there can be collaboration between the COVID Committee and the teachers. We owe it to our students.”School Board member Cecelia Gallelli-Keyes agreed.“I would like to see teachers on the COVID Committee,” she said.Schools Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Taylor recently toured the Intermediate School as officials discuss a full reopening plan.In addition to the topic of the COVID Committee, five-day in-person classes for Special Education in K-12 was also discussed. It is a recent change. The district is looking to expand the five-day instruction to all of the classes.Clark said that Schools Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Taylor visited the Intermediate School to look at the possibility of five days a week of in-person at the school.Currently, five-day-a-week in-person instruction is limited to grades kindergarten through fifth.“Every day, every week, we are examining this,” Clark said of a full reopening. “We will keep moving forward.”In other matters, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. essay winners from the Intermediate School were celebrated.Gabrielle Henry, Joseph Heng, Danna Ramirez and Catie Brooks will receive certificates on Friday for their winning essays.Dr. Taylor and Intermediate School Principal Michael Mattina told the board that they were proud of the students for their efforts in explaining how Dr. King influenced them.Ocean City parent Jennifer Bowman, who is at the helm of several community organizations, also addressed the board.She recently created a Facebook page for parents of the Class of 2021 to interact.“I am speaking from my heart,” Bowman said. “We have to come together as a community. We need to be Raider strong.”She added that there is so much uncertainty about events for the kids, but the most important thing is to work together to engage the students and give them positive activities to enjoy.“We are trying to do the best we can. Thank you for all you are doing,” she told the school board members. “I know you are doing your best. Let us know what we can do.”The school district hopes to continue the positive trend toward all in-class instruction. School board members discuss the COVID Committee during the virtual meeting. (Photo courtesy of Martin Fiedler of Just Right TV Productions)last_img read more

Breakthrough technology offers hope for early diagnosis of type 1 diabetes

first_imgJul 10 2018Researchers are developing early detection technology for Type 1 diabetes that can accurately predict if a child is at risk of the chronic disease.There is currently no early test for Type 1 diabetes and by the time someone is diagnosed, about 70 per cent of their critical insulin-producing cells have been destroyed.The Australian researchers from RMIT University and University of Sydney hope their detection kit could one day be used as a standard test for newborns, catching the disease in its earliest stages and enabling the development of treatments to delay or even prevent its onset.Professor Vipul Bansal, Director of the Ian Potter NanoBioSensing Facility at RMIT, said the collaboration combined lab-on-a-chip technologies with a breakthrough discovery on insulin-producing beta cells.”The detection kit we’re developing is cost-effective and simple to use, requiring no specialist technical knowledge or expensive analysis,” Bansal said.”Being able to detect this disease well before it has a chance to progress would be life-changing for the 2400 Australians diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes each year.”Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong autoimmune disorder that affects about 542,000 children around the world, with increasing numbers of adults also being diagnosed.The technology being developed by RMIT scientists and engineers uses a microchip and sensor to detect markers in the blood that can identify the early loss of beta cells.Beta cells are found in the pancreas and are the body’s only way of making insulin, the sugar-regulating hormone that people with Type 1 diabetes cannot produce.Researchers at the University of Sydney, led by Associate Professor Anand Hardikar, have previously discovered about 20 biomarkers in the blood that can accurately predict the health of beta cells.Related StoriesMothers with gestational diabetes transferring harmful ‘forever chemicals’ to their fetusObese patients with Type 1 diabetes could safely receive robotic pancreas transplantAADE’s comprehensive guidance on care of children, young adults with diabetes releasedThe collaboration with RMIT builds on that breakthrough, with the aim of developing a point-of-care device to test for these biomarkers and produce results within minutes.Led by Bansal and cell biologist Dr Ravi Shukla, scientists at RMIT’s Ian Potter NanoBiosensing Facility have already developed a proof-of-concept sensor coated with special nanoparticles. The sensor can reliably detect the presence of select biomarkers, changing color if a particular molecule is present in the blood.The next stage is working with the engineers at RMIT’s Micro Nano Research Facility to expand the sensor’s capabilities and miniaturize it onto a microfluidic chip about the size of a postage stamp.A microfluidic chip contains tiny channels and pumps that can precisely control fluid. While blood is notoriously difficult to handle in microfluidic systems, RMIT researchers have pioneered technology that avoids the need for special processing.Micro Nano Research Facility Director, Professor Arnan Mitchell, said the final result would be a simple and reliable tool for health professionals.”The prototype we’re building will be able to analyze just a pinprick of blood from a patient and provide a score that indicates the risk of Type 1 diabetes,” Mitchell said.”The ultimate aim is to be able to slow or prevent the onset of Type 1 Diabetes. The test could also significantly boost the development of therapies to prevent or delay the disease.”We know the separate components of the device work, so now the challenge is to bring the sensor and the chip together into one easy-to-use device.” Source:https://www.rmit.edu.au/news/newsroom/media-releases-and-expert-comments/2018/jul/technology-early-detection-diabeteslast_img read more