Last Friday, the Whig again featured an irresponsible and ill-informed opinion piece by Adriana Cohen, titled “Reopening Schools a Must”. She advocates a complete and unrestricted opening of schools in the fall, contrary to the advice of the CDC and other health experts.

Let’s remember her column of a month ago, where Ms. Cohen questioned the effectiveness of social distancing, stay-at-home orders, and face masks to curb the spread of the coronavirus. She called for an immediate reopening of the whole economy. It seems that many political leaders in the U.S. South were of a similar mind -- reflecting the dangerous propaganda from the White House. How’s that working out? The horrific images from months ago of overflowing hospitals in New York (not to mention China, Italy, France, and Spain) are now being repeated in the states that did not take the virus threat seriously enough.

And she repeats the canard from her previous column that people ignored the threats posed by June’s street demonstrations. Last time it was “government officials and so-called experts”, she said, that have been “noticeably silent”. This time it is “Democratic governors and mayors” who are the hypocrites. I’m not sure who she’s talking about, because every responsible official that I saw on TV during that time warned that the demonstrations might enhance coronavirus spread. Even Gov. Hogan urged demonstrators to get tested.

And that is the lesson from the previous two months: Whether we’re left or right, if we go back to our 2019 ways, thinking the threat is over, the coronavirus will again take advantage of our recklessness. To reopen schools the same way as a year ago is likely to create multiple virus hot spots in our communities. Not only will the kids be at risk, but also parents, teachers, and school staff.

Everyone wants schools to reopen, but it should only be done in a safe way. Most people want a responsible, balanced approach that is designed to mitigate the known risks. School will probably not look like it did last fall, and the educational experience will probably not be optimum. All school administrators, including those in Cecil County, are wrestling with these difficult challenges now. They need our support. What they don’t need is uninformed people shouting from the sidelines that everything must immediately return to normal. We are not in normal times.

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