Views from readers: technology in schools + get vaccinated

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Being prepared

Digital technologies have become increasingly important over the years in seemingly every facet of life.

At Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, we’re always working to integrate these new technologies into our programs to provide our students with an exceptional learning experience. Whether it’s the latest classroom technology or new innovative software, we want to create the best possible environment to prepare our students for their future.

The Tech industry has an increasing demand for qualified applicants. Tech companies like Google, Amazon and Microsoft have been paving the way in an industry that has the highest job growth in any sector. Giving our students access to the current digital technologies is a key part of our educational process. State-of-the-art technology and dedicated computer science labs ensure that the right tools for learning are always available for our students.

This past year and a half has demonstrated just how reliant we can be on digital technologies as we adapted and developed unique and creative ways to adjust during the pandemic.

Services like Zoom and Google Meets provided platforms that helped many people stay connected while being physically distant. From an educational standpoint, the lockdown forced technical innovation across the country as schools and tech worked hand in hand to provide the best education possible in the given situation. Online platforms and services provided our students and staff another level of connection when many classes were switched to an online format. Although the situation was not ideal, our staff and students certainly came out the other side more tech savvy.

During difficult times, MGCCC faculty and staff always rise to the occasion.

If a similar situation presented itself in the future, our college is more than prepared to take it on.

Sherri Carr Bevis

Director of workforce projects

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

Coastal restoration

At the Nov. 9 Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) Restoration Summit, Gov. Tate Reeves announced 16 projects selected for $62 million in funding in 2022 using BP RESTORE Act dollars.

Just three of the 16 RESTORE Act projects were recognizable as helping with water quality, habitat or repairing environmental damage. Water quality improvements, ($1.1 million); Coastal preserve habitat ($3.3 million); and shrimp processors’ wastewater treatment ($5.5 million) comprised just one-sixth of the allocated funds.

For the remaining $52 million in RESTORE projects, there’s construction: roads, marinas, parking lots, boardwalks, fairgrounds, harbors, LIDAR labs, and drone development. The state isn’t spreading dollars evenly among ecosystem restoration, economic development, seafood, tourism, small business, and workforce development. Oyster and habitat projects don’t get votes like construction contracts do.

For the portions of restoration money that Governor Reeves doesn’t directly control, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Natural Resource Damage Assessment funds, the picture is only slightly better. The NFWF money has better-defined restoration purposes and will build more living shorelines, jetties and artificial reefs. The NRDA Plan 3 projects aren’t finalized for 2022, and so weren’t given details by MDEQ.

Oysters didn’t receive much attention in the upcoming year’s spending despite the dire need to increase production on reefs, spark innovative oyster aquaculture and boost natural spawning across the Coast to increase the likelihood that drifting oyster larvae find newly laid cultch or existing reefs where they’ll attach and grow.

Sadly, annual RESTORE Act spending has strayed to more building, but less restoring.

Andrew Whitehurst

Water Program Director

Healthy Gulf

Get vaccinated

Verifiable facts about COVID-19 vaccinations:

Lowers the risk of contracting COVID-19 and transmitting it to others.

Reduces the severity should you contract it.

Greatly reduces the need for hospitalization.

Nearly eliminates the likelihood of dying from COVID-19.

Vaccinated Americans experienced few, if any, side effects and those that did reported mild, temporary reactions typical of most vaccinations.

“Freedom” doesn’t mean you get to drive U.S. 90 at whatever speed you so desire nor does anyone have the “right” to shoot a gun wherever they want regardless of the risk to others. Likewise, no one has the “freedom” or the “right” to spread an infectious disease.

Freedom comes with responsibility. And getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is both the responsible and patriotic thing to do. Those refusing to get vaccinated are putting, not only themselves at risk, but everyone else as well. They’re also directly responsible for further burdening an already overwhelmed healthcare system.

Those opposing both COVID-19 vaccinations and any vaccine mandates may be wrapping themselves in the flag and bloviating about “freedom” but what they’re really espousing is selfishness and belligerent ignorance.

Bo Alawine

Ocean Springs

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