Our unneeded suffering
It wasn’t until August that I found myself with a COVID story. My elderly parents had done the right things — wore masks, got vaccinated and took precautions. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough. They both caught COVID in mid-August and subsequently were hospitalized. We don’t understand why my mother survived and my stepfather did not.
Our family is devastated and frankly quite angry. This did not have to happen. My stepfather died because of politics. Because people are choosing to freely infect everyone they come into contact. Their “choice” to not vaccinate or wear masks killed him.
Gov. Ron DeSantis doesn’t care about the health of his residents or tourists. He constantly fights health guidelines and sues those who are trying to stop the pandemic. We are snowbirds and have stayed in Florida for many years. Never again! My stepfather is buried and I’m back from the Petri dish called Florida. I will be taking extra precautions for 10 days so I won’t be responsible for another family’s COVID story.
Karen Smith, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
Where’s the common sense?
In response to the Pinellas County School Board members: I am beyond appalled! You seriously would place anything above student safety? We constantly make rules that some parents disagree with; why is this any different?
After teaching 31 years, surviving tornadoes, spending the night at school with my students due to an ice storm, dealing with an active shooter drill that wasn’t a drill, surviving fires, unarming a student with a switchblade, talking down a violent psychotic student, stopping a school bus to remove a student that was being beaten by a group of boys, surviving a concussion and a broken nose, for the first time, I truly fear for the safety of students. I spent 30 years in a classroom, both middle and high school, and I was sick at some point during the school year each of those 30 years and yet, while wearing a mask for the past year and a half I have not even had so much as a sniffle. Crowded classrooms, crowded halls, students raising voices to be heard over each other, they are germ factories and masks do work.
I find it offensive that you have no problem denying personal freedom when female shoulders and upper thighs are involved, yet somehow, a nose and mouth is considered sacred and can’t be covered. We spend so much time “team building,” “being a family,” “working together for the common good,” but we can’t ask each other to wear a mask?
I’m sure there are many sections of the student handbook that parents don’t agree with, but those are the rules that need to be followed when a child is enrolled in a public school. However, parents do have a choice. They can homeschool or use an online school program. No one should have to worry about getting sick while providing or receiving an education.
If you are so sure it’s safe, I invite you to spend a whole day in the classroom unmasked with any middle school teacher and be sure to go to P.E. and lunch. Enjoy your “freedom” while washing blood off your hands.
Terri Buckel, St. Petersburg
End the filibuster
The Democrats’ reconciliation bill: What you need to know | Sept. 14
The filibuster is a mistake in Senate rules that historically allowed corruption, graft and special treatment for some rich American citizens and neglect of regular citizens. The myth that “the filibuster protects the minority” is laughable. We already have protection for the minority; it’s called the Senate. Each state large or small is equal in the Senate. No matter how many residents a state has, it’s got an equal vote — two senators. Further protection is sheer sophistry by those who want to block a Senate majority vote which may harm the obscenely rich corporations who buy up all the lobbyists in Washington, D.C.
J. Steele Olmstead, Tampa
Kudos to first responders
We are writing to compliment the Clearwater Police Department, the 911 system, and the U.S. Coast Guard. Our three adult children were visiting us from Georgia, Texas and New Zealand. They decided to spend the day at Sand Key Beach. The wife of our eldest son was driving back to Georgia from Clearwater when she received an emergency SOS text from her husband because he had listed her as an emergency contact with his carrier. The text included a link to a location in the water off Sand Key Beach. She called us immediately. We jumped in the car and raced to Sand Key with thoughts running through our minds.
On the way to the beach, we dialed 911. From that one 911 call, the Clearwater Police and the Coast Guard immediately reacted. They showed us how effective and organized the city response team is. We’ve never had this kind of interaction with emergency response teams and cannot say enough about how well our problem was handled. In a matter of minutes, they were able to locate our children, and fortunately, everything was okay.
We realize how fortunate we are to live in Clearwater where we have this type of emergency response. Special thanks to Officers J. Campbell, K. Klein and J. Stewart for being with us. We appreciate all you did and thank you and the rest of the emergency response team.
Marilyn and Ed Warner, Clearwater