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morning or afternoon every two days (or three consecutive mornings or afternoons a week). Changes in employment among parents will necessarily compound the challenge to routing which sleep/wakefulness cycles present. Routing must accommodate a large number of exceptions.


Testing and Diagnosis COVID-19 testing and the timely production of test


results are the weak links in this model – just as they have been the weak link in our nation’s failure to cope with the pandemic in general. We learned this the moment COVID-19 was first acknowledged here: Not enough nasal swabs for the paucity of tests we could even administer. While we ignored the initial incidents of COVID-19, and it took us months to test one percent of our population, China conducted 6.5 million tests in Wuhan Province in five days. Our administration deliberately reduced testing because it reveals more in- fections. Such approaches cannot continue if we expect our students to return safely to physical school, much less accomplish other goals necessitated by COVID-19. The fact that two oligopolies (Quest Diagnostics and


LabCorp) and 10 other giants dominate the testing and diagnostic market helps to explain our testing and test-result impotence—yet another consequence of the LOC. Yet we have thousands of universities, colleges and junior colleges that can analyze and produce moderate numbers of test results in a few hours when given the resources and tools with which to do so (witness the NBA). With similar tools, and minimal instruction, there is no reason bright high school students cannot perform similar tasks in science class. At some point, daily testing of students physically attending school may be achiev- able – enhancing their safety, and further strengthening the bridge to rehabilitating our entire nation and its economy.


Tying the need for testing to the success of any back- to-school model, each student physically attending school must be tested at least once a week. And these students must obtain the results of their tests before stepping onto the school bus before his or her next trip to school. If a “split-week” model is employed (i.e., half the students attend physical school Monday through Wednesday morning or afternoon, or Thursday through Saturday morning or afternoon), the results must be available within 18 hours from tests conducted on Wednesdays or Sundays. With an alternating day mod- el, test results must be available within 42 hours, three times a week. Tests and near-instant test results are clearly available


and affordable for a select few (e.g., professional ath- letes). We must make them available and possible for our


students. Right now, few laboratories have even a week’s worth of processing chemicals. The longer it takes to reach the level of tests and quick test results we need, the longer it will take to safety return to school. And the worse our chances at economic recovery will be. Fortunately, hopeful things occur every day: On Aug. 4, six states formed an alliance with the Rockefeller Foun- dation and two U.S. manufacturers to purchase three million “rapid results” tests. Whether any other nations will sell us such supplies remains to be seen. Realistically, our combination of national and international behavior has turned us into the world’s pariah. To have a realistic chance, we must decentralize the stranglehold of our own oligopolies. The accuracy of our test results must also improve: Abbott Lab’s first batch of PCR tests yielded false positives 48 percent of the time. More recent tests from Becton Dickinson and Quidel yielded false nega- tives 15 to 20 percent of the time. At the end of August, “Test Iowa” could not verify positive or negative test results. This is not testing. It’s pin the tail on the donkey. The JEP, the MOW and the LOC are in full force, and we have much to do to offset their control over even the handful of tasks identified in this model.


System Design, Routing, Scheduling and Stop Selection The U.S. transportation industry’s three-decades-long


resistance to system design, and the sole reliance on ro- bots to perform routing, scheduling and stop selection, must end. The service area of each of the four (ideally) three-tiered runs provided twice a day each, on alter- nate days (or differing every three days on split-week models) cannot be accomplished simply by dividing the service area into four quadrants. As noted, both students’ sleep/wakefulness cycles and their parents’ employment obligations (including frequent changes) will greatly complicate routing, and involve the collection, analysis and application of a significant amount of information which would take live Earthlings forever to enter as “overrides” into computerized schedules. Routing and scheduling software cannot meet this


challenge. The system design changes needed, and much of the routing and scheduling, must be performed manually. The data collection and routing effort cannot begin soon enough. But our digital capabilities can help sort us this information, greatly facilitating its analysis. Otherwise, with simple color-coded-and numbered Av- ery dots placed on Mylar overlays on top of a “base map” of the service area, reasonably efficient routing lies with- in every transportation director’s or scheduler’s reach. The routing challenge is trivial for most elementary schools, with most students residing within walking


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