Letters to the Editor: Teenagers are suffering badly from school closures. We need to talk about it

Jamie Zamudio, left, helps her daughter Isabella, 14, clean out her locker at El Camino Real Charter High School in Woodland Hills on April 30, after the school was closed. <span class="copyright">(Los Angeles Times)</span>
Jamie Zamudio, left, helps her daughter Isabella, 14, clean out her locker at El Camino Real Charter High School in Woodland Hills on April 30, after the school was closed. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: As we begin to recognize that a full closure of society is unsustainable, I worry that our teenagers will be lost in the delicate balance that we are trying to negotiate.

The article pointing out the lack of calls for new lockdowns despite the spike in coronavirus cases quotes Dr. Scott Morrow as saying that we need to consider the "educational, emotional and developmental needs of children." Then he quickly shifts to the needs of our youngest children.

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As a high school teacher and the parent of two teenagers, I would argue that these needs are just as acute for middle and high school students. Despite the best efforts of teachers, a distance-learning experience does not engage students the way in-person learning can.

Teens need their peers to develop emotionally and socially. Because these students are so close to finishing school, they may never take that class that could impact the trajectory of their lives. And, for our neediest families, teenagers will end up taking care of younger siblings while the parents work.

Please, remember that teens need to be in school. This past semester was devastating; let's not compound the damage.

Beth Holloway, Woodland Hills

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To the editor: Wearing masks is an example of a behavior that has consequences, or "externalities."

Take, for example, stopping at red lights. A positive externality is that you protect yourself and others from injury or even death.

Death versus convenience seems like an obvious choice, yet not everyone agrees, especially when it comes to wearing masks. An age-old guiding principle is, "Your personal liberty to swing your arm ends where my nose begins."

Phil Beauchamp, Chino Hills

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