March 4, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Kids have been on screens for too long. Reopen schools now

To the editor: Los Angeles schools need to open. Both of my kids are in private secondary schools, and neither has stepped foot in a classroom since March 2020. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says that schools that have safe plans to open should. (“Schools in more affluent areas move faster to reopen than those in low-income communities,” Feb. 11)

Local and state leadership should do everything in their power to get teachers vaccinated. However, L.A.’s healthcare workers and first responders never stopped working during the pandemic, and physicians with appropriate protective equipment were on the job before vaccines were available. We cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Parents are asked by pediatricians and teachers to limit their children’s screen time, but now kids are sitting in front of a screen all day. The lack of physical movement is harmful for our kids, and the mental isolation is terrible. Teenagers should not be sitting at a computer all day.

It is past time for Los Angeles to do the right thing and reopen its schools.

Sonja Rosen, M.D., Los Angeles

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To the editor: Los Angeles City Council members Joe Buscaino and Gil Cedillo would provide a much greater service to residents by devoting their efforts to increasing the supply of vaccines than by demanding that schools reopen.

Demands and lawsuits will not reopen schools; widespread vaccinations will. Our city leadership should be laser-focused on obtaining more doses. Emphasis should be given to vaccinating teachers, school staff, school bus drivers and crossing guards so they can return to work with a measure of safety.

We need every city leader pushing in the same direction to reach the end of this pandemic. Adversarial demands and court cases are not helpful.

Terry Walker, Sylmar

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To the editor: I am a teacher. My children are teachers. My grandchildren attend Los Angeles Unified School District campuses. My 5-year-old grandchild waits each day to hear that she can enter kindergarten, to learn and play with other children, to be in the same room as her teacher.

Schools mean regulated environments, and schools around the country, employing mitigation methods, have already established they’re safe, especially for the early grades. Whatever community the students are part of, if they aren’t in a classroom, they likely will be in less safe environments.

Of course many teachers feel vulnerable, but their getting a vaccination is no guarantee that they will want to return to the classroom (and perhaps rightly so for some). The classroom will never be absolutely safe, but the harm to children’s education and psychological well-being warrants taking a risk that science considers small.

Al Austin, West Hills