January 26, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Don’t force teachers back into the classroom before vaccine

To the editor: I appreciated your editorial on school employees being seen as essential and the many factors that need to be considered before reopening campuses. I would like to add one more — the availability of COVID-19 vaccines to teachers and staff.

I too want to be back in the classroom and would be willing to return if the COVID-19 rates drop and I have access to a vaccine. According to an estimate by the New York Times’ online calculator, I am in line behind 3.7 million others in Los Angeles County as a healthy 40-something teacher.

I am very fortunate to work at a school with small classes, to be in a teachers union that has a positive relationship with the administration, and to have engaged families with resources. But my personal safety is as important as providing the best education possible to my students.

Nicole Luque, Glendale

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To the editor: What are we trying to achieve by reopening schools?

Bringing students back to campuses with temperature checks, adults in masks and shields and spaced-out classrooms will only add to the confusion and trauma of this time. Teachers will not be able to lead their students to success with these kinds of barriers.

We have failed to meet this moment and reassess our education system and what its purpose is. Instead, we are attempting to do the same thing under very different conditions.

To compare educators to other essential workers is to ignore the fact that schools have been charged with fixing many of society’s problems without the resources to do so. Now, everyone is surprised when educators do not want to risk getting sick doing such an impossible job.

We need to make important changes to our education system now, because all the problems that educators knew existed but almost everyone else ignored have been exacerbated by this pandemic.

Andrew Vega, Los Angeles

The writer is a high school principal.

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To the editor: The Times Editorial Board argues that President-elect Joe Biden’s plan for reopening schools is not “ambitious enough.”

One could say our ambition to return to normal life is a primary reason that COVID-19 deaths and infections are through the roof right now. People want to behave as if we are not in the middle of a pandemic.

Charles Coleman Jr., Pacoima