School attendance decisions belong to parents


(Jeffersonville and New Albany) News and Tribune

Now more than ever, we all have a role to play in helping others — including children — stay as safe and healthy as possible, given the coronavirus pandemic that has descended upon us.

We should acknowledge, though, that even with all safety protocols met by schools, some children attending in-person classes will come down with the virus. All of them won’t get sick, but some of them will. So will teachers and others who work at the schools.

The last thing anybody needs, however, is for the community to engage in social media finger-pointing. It diminishes us when we fight over politics. It devastates us when the fussing involves our families.

Most people who become afflicted with COVID-19 are not reckless oafs attending virus parties to catch it and — here’s the long-shot bet — build up an immunity. No, many of the victims are being careful, wearing masks, washing their hands ad nauseam, distancing themselves from other people as much as possible — and still getting infected.

We’re in our infancy of understanding this virus, why some victims display mild symptoms, others don’t survive and some don’t have any indicators at all that signal they are carriers.

That’s a tough dynamic to combat. But we are doing the best we can, in our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our businesses and, yes, our schools.

Parents who make the decision to send their children back to school for in-person classes do so knowing their kids could contract the virus. The percentage risk is anyone’s guess. But they have considered what’s best for their children’s education and for their family’s circumstances.

It’s their decision to make. And they need our support and understanding. Short of that, they need our silence.

Is it safe for southern Indiana schools to open their doors to students? That’s debatable.

Will they remain open if more kids and teacher come down with the virus? That remains to be seen.

Should Indiana dial back its reopening? Perhaps. But that decision belongs to Gov. Eric Holcomb in consultation with health officials.

As for dialing back the criticism of parents who send their children to school, turn it off.

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