Letter: You can help open schools

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To the Editor:

The recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in this area is a stark reminder that we are not immune from the global pandemic. Vermont's infection rate remains enviably low, but that can change quite quickly.

As we work on plans to reopen our schools, health and safety is foremost on our minds. As a school head, I want to share an important truth: the critical factor that will enable schools to reopen safely is the health of the surrounding community. If infection rates are low in our local area, we will be fine. If not, it will be virtually impossible to operate our schools with any semblance of normalcy.

That means that each of us as community members has the responsibility to help schools open by doing whatever we can to keep infection rates low, and there are simple things we can do that make a difference. Virtually every expert says that wearing masks indoors in public spaces is important. Virtually every expert says that physical distancing is important. And, of course, wash your hands.

The problem is that on a nice summer day in Vermont, it can seem like COVID-19 is far away. When you see a friend, it can feel like an act of mistrust to keep your distance. However, if too many people succumb to complacency, their collective impact hurts our chance to reopen schools for our kids.

Please do your part so we can do ours. Our kids are counting on all of us.

Mark Tashjian

Manchester

The writer is headmaster of Burr and Burton Academy.

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