Letters to the Editor: You can't compare North Dakota to California when it comes to reopening schools

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Panorama City, CA - March 10: English teacher Elmer Garcia describes when schools will reopen seats in a classroom will set at least 6-feet apart at Panorama High School on Wednesday, March 10, 2021 in Panorama City, CA.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Panorama High School English teacher Elmer Garcia describes what classroom seating will be like when the L.A. school district reopens campuses. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: It was amusing, albeit somewhat sad, to read a letter to the editor from a North Dakota reader berating California for closing our schools during the pandemic when campuses had always been open in North Dakota, and there had been no problem with that.

Evidently that writer is unaware that North Dakota has the highest COVID-19 infection rate of any state in the country, so I don't think it behooves us to take advice from anyone living there.

John Humble, Santa Monica

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To the editor: A North Dakota reader asks Californians, "Why in the world wouldn't you more fully open your schools?" The reader notes that North Dakota kept its schools open throughout the 2020-21 school year.

The answer is that North Dakota has the 11th-highest death rate of the 50 states. That means 39 states, including California, did a better job keeping their residents alive.

If California had the same death rate as North Dakota, an additional 22,000 residents would have perished by now.

Dwight Harm, Los Angeles

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To the editor: A Los Angeles Unified School District parent writes, "Essentially we are asking our kids to go to school, sit in a classroom, wear headphones and be supervised by a teacher instructing via Zoom."

I am an LAUSD teacher, and I agree. This is an opportunity for the district to focus on student physical health. Let us not invite students back to classrooms with too many protocols.

I suggest bringing students back safely and concentrating on physical education and social interaction in a safe manner. If we don't change our schools as we welcome back students, parents will not respond favorably.

My 10-year-old son told me he does not want to go back to sit in a room with a face mask on. That shocked me. Our kids don't need to return to schools that no longer resemble the schools they left but feel more like a prison.

Shawn Fornari, Chatsworth

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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