COVID-related policy changes urgently needed in schools

·3 min read

Different strategies needed in schools

To the editor:

The Washington County Public Schools superintendent and Board of Education made it clear during their Jan. 4 meeting that they plan to continue with the same COVID protocols in the face of the surging COVID pandemic in Washington County, despite reports of cleanliness protocols unable to be followed due to a shortage of maintenance employees, teachers resigning and growing teacher/student/staff absences due to COVID. To make matters worse, they may combine classes (in order to "address" teacher shortages?) — which will only further reduce the ability to provide adequate social distancing, which has already been a problem due to many classrooms and lunchrooms that are overcrowded.

Here are just some recommendations (suggested by teachers and members of the community) that seem to have fallen on deaf ears:

1) Actually follow the metrics and take appropriate action as was done earlier in the pandemic.

2) Shorten lunch periods so students can be appropriately distanced in an increased number of lunch periods with fewer students in each.

3) Implement weekly rapid testing of all students at the schools.

4) Provide reward incentives to students, teachers and staff who get fully vaccinated and boosted.

5) Temporarily shut down all county schools until the pandemic situation improves and extend the school year to make up lost time (provide safe child care for students of parents who cannot accommodate this).

6) Temporarily return to remote learning for all county schools until the pandemic situation improves.

7) Return to the A/B day approach for all county schools until the pandemic situation improves.

8) Provide a viable remote learning option with an adequate number of qualified instructors to meet the demand for all county schools.

9) Improve transparency: routinely publish meaningful COVID statistics for each county school and take one or more of the above actions on a selective basis for the schools with the worst metrics.

WCPS needs to do something different (to protect our schools and community) as soon as possible.

Tom Borum

Hagerstown

Domestic terrorism is appropriate description of Jan. 6 events

To the editor:

In our divided country, each of us has reflected back one year to the Jan. 6 insurrection. I know many readers and Tucker Carlson will take exception to me defining the events on Jan 6, 2021, as an insurrection so here is the dictionary definition: insurrection — a violent uprising against an authority or government. Jan 6 was definitely violent and the chants of “Hang Mike Pence” were definitely directed at authority.

A Harvard law school graduate, Ted Cruz, defined those participating in the insurrection as “domestic terrorist,” at which Mr. Carlson humiliated him for speaking such blaspheme. But how does the law define it? The term “domestic terrorism” means activities that:

(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;

(B) appear to be intended to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

This accurately describes the events of Jan 6.

"We fight like hell. And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore,” Donald Trump stated on Jan 6. It sounds very intimidating. After hearing those words, the mob moved to the Capitol. By U.S. code, anyone who participated in the rally on Jan 6 is a “domestic terrorist.” You did not have to storm the Capitol to legally be defined as a “domestic terrorist.” You just had to participate in an activity that’s dangerous and is to intimidate. Think about your elected officials that participated and or backed the insurrection. They and Trump are by legal definition a domestic terrorist.

Marty Hann

Chambersburg, Pa.

This article originally appeared on The Herald-Mail: Letters to the editor: Action needed by public schools in COVID surge

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