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Please start the school year online

August 3, 2020

I know that many states, including ours, rushed to open businesses. The government was concerned with commerce over lives. Rushing to open schools will put lives at risk as well.

If it is high risk to be in a restaurant, how is it not high risk to have kids in school? Being indoors provides less air circulation and it recycles air. That puts teachers and children at risk. The EPA recommends precautions to reduce the potential for airborne transmission of the virus. How will you be doing this in our schools?

What is the protocol if someone in school comes down with the coronavirus? Do all kids who come into contact with that child need to quarantine? Do all teachers who come into contact with that student need to quarantine? Then do all of the students who have come into contact with those teachers have to quarantine? How can you social distance in the high school hallways when classes change? Who will be cleaning each classroom when the classes change? How often will the bathrooms be cleaned? How can one properly help a child with work if everyone has to social distance? How do you have band class when you have to social distance? How do you have art with shared materials? How do you plan on keeping younger kids in a mask all day when it’s hard enough keeping their fingers out of their noses?

I want my daughter to have as “normal” a senior year as possible. I want her to be with friends and go to dances. I want her to talk with her friends at lunch about college. Mostly though, I want her to be safe, and right now there is no way it can be guaranteed that she will be safe from the coronavirus if she attends school. Our country is in the midst of a pandemic and school was halted and went to online learning when the country was doing much better - to even think school should go back in person when the country is doing so much worse is not only ridiculous, it’s horrifying. 

I am high risk, and if school goes back, my daughter will have to live separately from me. We are fortunate that I can live with my mother and my daughter can continue to live with my husband. It will be difficult for us, but we can do it. How many families aren’t as fortunate and won’t be able to do that - teacher’s families and children’s families?

Please listen to the teachers union, please listen to science. Please do the right thing. Please start the school year online. While it’s not what many of us want, it’s the safe thing to do. I don’t want to see memorial pages in the yearbooks that have pic tures of dead children and teachers in them because people were brought back into the schools too soon.

Samantha Maloney-Gracie 
Rehoboth Beach
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