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  1. Opinion

Florida schools need more resources, not less | Letters

Here’s what readers are saying in Thursday’s letters to the editor.

We want to teach safely

In response to: Schools will need new set of rules | May 9

Everyone is eager for a return to “normal.” We miss teaching our students face to face. We miss the satisfaction we get from seeing that look on a student’s face confirming that a concept we have taught has been readily digested and understood. However, we are all struggling with the fear and anxiety associated with reopening our schools before a vaccine is readily available. To rush this process, or to ignore the recommendations of health experts, would endanger the lives of staff and students. A second surge of infection would endanger lives and cause economic chaos, altering our society forever. No plan can be trusted that does not include the expertise of educators and health practitioners.

While it is true that the economy has been dealt a terrible blow by this pandemic, any talk of limiting resources to public education is as irresponsible as would be limiting medical supplies to a combat zone. Whatever our new “normal” looks like, it will certainly require more, not less, resources. More nurses, more mental health professionals, more instructors and more resources will be needed if our schools, the heart and information centers of our communities, are to safely and successfully resume operations.

Mike Gandolfo, Palm Harbor

The writer is president of the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association.

For restaurants, this is tough

In response to: Restaurants standing by, ready to serve | May 13

Allison Harris waits on customers at Baba May 8, 2020 in St. Petersburg. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]

The owner of a local restaurant that recently reopened said in Wednesday’s article, “At 25 percent, I’m hoping just to break even on food costs and utilities, but even then we’re absolutely losing money on the rent.”

Remember, he was essentially completely shut down for several weeks. Many restaurant and other business owners have reopened at greatly reduced revenues and increased costs. Many will fail. The states and counties that will not reopen for some time are dooming their restaurants and other businesses. Those closed for several weeks are barely hanging on, but at least have reopened to some degree. Those having to wait weeks or months have it real tough.

Ernest Lane, Trinity

Officials can do more

In response to: Eager to get out? Follow the rules | Editorial, May 12

Lunchtime customers dine outside of The Annex, Beach Drive, St. Petersburg, May 4, 2020. The business had been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It reopened Monday. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]

I was very glad to read two pieces in the May 12 DayStarter, the daily email newsletter from the Tampa Bay Times: the editorial reminding Floridians of the importance of following COVID-19 precautionary measures and the list of tips to help prevent spread of the disease. Seeing images of people failing to wear masks and maintain social distancing while out and about over the weekend raises serious concerns about a resurgence of infections.

It also raises a question about whether our elected leaders and public health officials are using every available communications medium to inform all residents of what they need to do to prevent spread of the disease and to emphasize their personal responsibility for their own health and that of their family and community. By what means and how often are those messages being disseminated? It seems to me that frequent reminders are needed to encourage compliance.

If conspicuous lack of voluntary compliance continues, I wonder what steps local and state officials are considering, if any, to compel the wearing of face masks and adherence to other preventive measures?

Donna Peltier, St. Petersburg

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