Early education should be a priority
Provider Appreciation Day is coming up
It’s a fact that early education and childcare help prepare children for success. Pinellas is home to over 660 child-care providers (preschools, school-age programs and family child-care homes). The education and enrichment programs they administer play a critical role in childhood development — with life-long benefits. Child-care providers are not only educators, but nurturers, mediators, entrepreneurs, extended family, cooks, janitors, singers and storytellers.
Child care is not just essential to children —child care is essential to society, to families going back to work, to businesses with returning employees, to economic recovery in communities, and based on recent Facebook posts, child care might be essential to parental sanity.
In a world shaken by crisis, the importance of child care became more apparent. With schools and businesses shut down, essential workers rely on child-care providers. As businesses begin to reopen, the demand for child care will increase.
However, many providers are struggling to reopen and restore capacity. There was already a workforce shortage. An average salary of a preschool teacher is half of a kindergarten teacher’s. At the moment, preschool wages are outpaced by unemployment compensation. An industry long patched together with passion is going to need more.
To our childcare providers: We see your strength, we hear your worries, we value your work and we will continue fighting for you.
To support providers and families affected by COVID-19, contribute to the Emergency Childcare Support Fund at https://bit.ly/PinellasKids or text HELPKIDS to 71441.
The writer is the CEO of the Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County.
We need more antibody tests
All epidemiologists are in agreement that more testing is needed. A substantial portion of the elderly population and many younger people get blood tests every 90 days due to existing conditions. These people should be offered a government-paid antibody test at every lab appointment. It would provide excellent regional data on numbers of recovered cases as well as insight into changes in antibody levels over time.
Renee Campion, Tampa
I am a baby boomer
I am a baby boomer. I am an Army brat. I am a grandparent. My parents voted by absentee ballot from the Philippines, Germany and France. They taught me to read newspapers and editorials and warned me to avoid fiction books because they were not true!
I liked Dwight D. Eisenhower. I watched Tricia and Julie Nixon. I cried for Caroline and John Kennedy. I prayed for Lynda and Luci Johnson. I have registered as a Republican, an independent and a Democrat.
I seek truth, morality and responsibility in leadership. I want the morning in America that Ronald Reagan promised us and the hope and change that Barack Obama inspired us to achieve.
Vickey Kleinsmith, St. Petersburg
Re-open? Not so fast
I am a senior at Eckerd College studying international relations. Toward the end of March, I had to leave my school, and I am now staying on the other side of the state in Jupiter. As I prepare to graduate and enter our chaotic world, I worry about my mother’s health and my own, as we both have pre-existing conditions that make us particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. At this time, our future looks uncertain and scary, but there are things our government could be doing to make returning to normal life much safer.
We are in a time when supporting health-care professionals and having access to medical supplies is key to ensuring the safety of the population. People all across the nation are anxious to get back to every-day life, but that can’t happen without a significant increase in both medical supplies and COVID-19 tests. Everyone should call Gov. Ron DeSantis and let him know that for us to safely re-open the state, we need to be better protected, and that the federal government and our state should be working together to increase the distribution of the supplies we need. If that happened, I know I’d feel a little more certain about a positive future.
Isabel Muir, St. Petersburg
It’s like the old America
Ambassador: Trust influenced Sweden’s coronavirus response | Column, May 8
Upon reading how the Swedish culture is managing the COVID-19 pandemic, I was struck by how much their civic pride and respect for authority reminded me of the America of my youth. In the 1950s and 60s, we were raised to trust that those in charge had the citizens’ best interest at heart. Everyone had respect for the scientists, professors and the learned within their fields. Those put in charge were competent and hard-working. Today’s America is so far from that norm, the Swedish approach would no longer work here.
Brian Valsavage, St. Petersburg
I’ll take one for the team
Let me get this straight. The hairdresser in Dallas is selfish because she wants to work to be able to feed her kids and we older Americans are not because we want to live a few more years at the expense of our kids’ future. We have lived, in my case over 80 years, and enjoyed the benefits of living in America, including a good job and the ability to achieve what I worked for all those years. Now, because the elderly are apparently more vulnerable to this virus, we have shut down the economy, thrown many millions of young people out of work, denied them the opportunities that we had at the same age and put fear in the minds of everyone. If this is allowed to continue, the country may never recover. If I have to die to save the future of my kids and grandkids and make sure they get the opportunities I had, then so be it. I’ve lived my life. Let them live theirs.
Thomas Sheehan, Spring Hill