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Are we ready to reopen schools? Are we ready not to? | Letters
Here's what readers are saying in Wednesday's letters to the editor
Siblings Paul Adamus, 7, left, and Neva Adamus, 5, put on their backpacks to get ready for their first day of school on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020, in Dallas, Ga. Neighboring states arrived at differing conclusions on who’s in charge of the reopening of schools. The differences in philosophy underscore some of the difficulties facing states as they grapple with how to proceed amid growing coronavirus infections in numerous states. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Siblings Paul Adamus, 7, left, and Neva Adamus, 5, put on their backpacks to get ready for their first day of school on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020, in Dallas, Ga. Neighboring states arrived at differing conclusions on who’s in charge of the reopening of schools. The differences in philosophy underscore some of the difficulties facing states as they grapple with how to proceed amid growing coronavirus infections in numerous states. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson) [ BRYNN ANDERSON | AP ]
Published Aug. 4, 2020

The pandemic and public schools

Conviction bias colors reopening

Never argue against conviction bias. The polarization of public opinion on school reopening is amply mirrored in the scientific literature. One can find citations supporting either position. On the one hand, those opposed to school reopening tend to ignore the vast body of research demonstrating the association between educational deficiencies and lifelong health, economic and social adverse consequences. These have depressing socioeconomic disparities. On the other hand, those favoring school reopening tend to understate the risks. Objectively, these are uncannily low for infection, transmission and illness, compared with many other familiar contagions. But they cannot be dismissed entirely.

Both sides miss crucial questions and create an unnecessary forced choice. Are schools prepared to deliver comparable and testable academic and social progress to all pupils virtually? Are schools prepared to detect and interdict inevitable but sporadic events before a case becomes an outbreak? One suspects a negative answer to both questions. Are children, as well as their family members and the community, actually safer out of school? This seems not to have been shown. Can relative safety in institutional settings be improved via meaningful containment efforts? This seems to be the evidence-based case.

Pat Byrne, Largo

Administering a COVID-19 vaccine a logistics challenge | Column, Aug. 4

We need competence now

I’m sort of obsessed with the challenge of vaccinating most of the world’s population for COVID-19 — a task of unbelievable complexity — as it’s the only realistic solution to the pandemic. The plan put forth by Ezekiel Emanuel and Topher Spiro is the first I’ve seen that details a plan once the formula for a vaccine is available. It is the work of experts who happen to be advisers to Joe Biden’s campaign, but it’s a campaign document only to the extent it demonstrates the competency of Team Biden.

Jon Crawfurd, Gulfport

The case for Trump will come down to his record. It’s a strong one. | Column, Aug. 4

Accomplishments as failures

I applaud the Times for presenting opinions from all sides of an argument. It is interesting to read how other people perceive various situations. Hugh Hewitt’s column on President Donald Trump’s accomplishments was a real eye opener for me as I could not believe that so many things I consider a failure he feels are accomplishments.

Barry Kreiling, Brooksville

The case for Trump will come down to his record. It’s a strong one. | Column, Aug. 4

Trump deserves 4 more years

Bravo! At last an opinion piece in which I can wholeheartedly agree. Hugh Hewitt’s naming of just a short list of the many accomplishments of our president will hopefully inform anyone on the fence of the need for four more years of Donald Trump. He is a smart, hard-working, business-minded servant of the American people, who has the thickest skin of anyone I’ve ever known. He deserves another term.

Joanne Kerr, Sun City Center

The case for Trump will come down to his record. It’s a strong one. | Column, Aug. 4

The ‘Republican’ Times

What a partisan, political hack Hugh Hewitt is. Karl Rove got a column a few weeks ago. Now this jerk. Why not call it the Tampa Bay Republican Times?

Jeff Cutting, Brandon