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Letter: Sending kids back to school would be a cruel disaster

Letter: Sending kids back to school would be a cruel disaster

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Guidance for masks in schools varies widely across US states

Des Moines Public Schools custodian Tracy Harris cleans a chair in a classroom at Brubaker Elementary School, Wednesday, July 8, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. School districts that plan to reopen classrooms in the fall are wrestling with whether to require teachers and students to wear face masks. In Iowa, among other places, where Democratic-leaning cities like Des Moines and Iowa City have required masks to curb the spread of the coronavirus, while smaller, more conservative communities have left the decision to parents. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Regarding “US agency vows steps to address COVID-19 inequalities” (July 25): Dr. Richard Besser, former acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been quoted as saying coronavirus cases and deaths among Blacks and Latinos will increase if schools are opened too soon.

Why would the White House be slow to prevent virus spread through universal testing and tracking, but on the other hand be hasty with openings that have led to the highest surges ever? The most egregious action is the attempt by President Donald Trump and Gov. Mike Parson to hold public school systems hostage by threatening to take away funds if schools do not reopen.

If St. Louis children go back to school in person, they would be exposed along with teachers and every adult within the child’s extended family. Children are likely asymptomatic but can spread the virus.

Ironically, the tsunami surge that is expected with a return-to-school mandate would likely occur in October, just before the election. Deaths that occur because of mandatory school openings could justifiably be called a de facto genocide by administrative directive.

We cannot allow a catastrophe to happen at the expense of those who are the most fragile and vulnerable. No school should open for in-person learning in St. Louis, and every family in the city should, by mandate, be digitally connected with every child having access and equipment.

Cecilia Nadal • St. Louis

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