Viewpoints: Is It Time To Enforce Mask Wearing?; Lessons On Reopening Schools
Opinion writers express views about mask wearing, opening schools and other public health issues.
The Washington Post:
Mask Mandates Won’t Work — Unless They Are Enforced
We are at war with a silent and ruthless enemy, and mask mandates are among our best weapons to win the fight. But they have to have teeth to work. Facing a global pandemic with flu season on the near horizon, our nation’s governors and mayors must quickly align common sense with the common good. That means balancing personal liberty with the clear and present public health danger presented by the spread of covid-19. We can no longer afford to be confused by false choices and false information. In short, warnings to anyone not wearing a mask need to be backed up with the threat of fines and, for chronic offenders, even arrest. There is no time to waste on half-measures. (Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Vin Gupta, 7/27)
COVID-19: Masks Work, Infection Trends In My Own Hospital Prove It
Close your eyes, take a few breaths and count the number of people you love that aren’t in your life because of COVID-19. Keep your eyes closed, take a few more breaths and remember what community was like for you before COVID-19. Hold on to that. Don’t you want it back? I do, and I know how to get there, but I need all of you. You need to choose to wear a mask. I am a doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital and a faculty member at Harvard Medical School. I have access to the best medical minds, diagnostic tests and medical equipment in the country. My hospital has led many scientific advances during COVID-19. However, they all pale in comparison to my hospital’s decision to lead the way on universal masking. (Daniel Horn, 7/28)
The New York Times:
Teachers Will Get Covid-19. What Will Schools Do?
The logistics of reopening schools are daunting. Plans are full of details about which days kids will be eligible for, and pages and pages on preventing students and staffs from getting sick. What kind of limits will be placed on class sizes? What kind of cleaning? Will there be symptom checks or temperature screens? Masks for everyone or just adults? These plans are important and necessary. But there is an issue that we aren’t talking enough about: What happens when there is a Covid-19 case in a school? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its first guidelines on this topic last week, a long-overdue step toward getting schools to take this question seriously. (Emily Oster, 7/28)
The Washington Post:
We Can — And Must — Reopen Schools. Here’s How.
We have limited time and funds to get students and teachers back to school safely, but we can — and must — do it. Here’s how. Start with the fact, as 239 scientists recently wrote to the World Health Organization (WHO), that airborne transmission of the novel coronavirus is happening. This is not to be feared; it just requires adding some new strategies to our arsenal in addition to hand-washing, distancing and other measures to keep community spread to a minimum. (Just because we reopen schools doesn’t mean we should reopen elsewhere.) (Joseph G. Allen and Richard Corsi, 7/27)
Teachers: Distance Learning Should Be Implemented Across Kentucky
Dear Superintendent: We are all well aware that Kentucky is seeing ever-increasing numbers of cases of COVID-19. We are setting new records for infections daily. We would like to thank the districts that have taken the responsible steps by following the CDC guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety by beginning their school year virtually. According to the benchmarks set out by the White House pandemic task force, in conjunction with Gov. Andy Beshear, we have yet to achieve Phase 1 criteria for a safe reopening of our state. That’s all the more reason for superintendents across Kentucky and the Kentucky Department of Education to take the lead in a safe reopening for schools. Teachers across our state are concerned for our students, their families and our communities. (Kentucky Educators United, 7/27)
Dallas Morning News:
Dallas Teachers Want To Work, But Coronavirus Has Made Many Wary Of Getting Back Into The Classroom
Last week, the Dallas school board voted 8-0 to delay the start of school until Sept. 8 in the hope that coronavirus infections in North Texas would subside and that an additional three weeks would allow the district to better prepare for a tumultuous school year. It seems many teachers aren’t so certain that this delay is sufficient, and that adds another wild card to the school district’s already complicated return-to-education strategy. Before the vote, board members heard remotely from dozens of angry, frustrated and distressed instructors who delivered a singular message: We are scared to return to the classroom. (7/27)
Can Governor Gavin Newsom Reverse CA Coronavirus Trends?
Even before the coronavirus pandemic hit California, some Sacramento insiders were using a curse word – one defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as “a situation or event that is badly organized, unpleasant, and full of confusion” – to describe Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration. The first half of the word: “S---.” The second half: “show.” (Gil Duran, 7/27)