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Letters: Virtual learning a safe alternative, not a disaster; don’t forget Africa in COVID-19 crisis | READER COMMENTARY

Virtual learning a safe alternative, not a disaster

After reading Doug Howard’s guest column (”Virtual learning virtually worthless, Aug. 13), I felt, as a Carroll County Public Schools teacher, I had to respond to his criticism of the Board of Education’s decision to open schools virtually in the fall.

Mr. Howard stated that the Board ignored the survey of the parents and students, but he neglected to mention that teachers and staff were also surveyed — the people who actually work every day with the students — and many of these people were very concerned about returning to the classroom. Being contained in a classroom for hours with the same students provides a breeding ground for COVID-19 if even one person is infected or carrying the virus. This is a risk that does not have to be taken when there is a safe alternative.

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Virtual learning is not a disaster, as Mr. Howard states. Although we were unexpectedly thrown into it last spring, we worked hard to provide the best education we could with the little preparation we had. This year will be different — many of us have worked all summer and CCPS has provided multiple professional development opportunities to enhance our virtual learning expertise.

We will be teaching during the school day, not just a few hours. Teachers do not need to teach from the classroom — we are able to connect with our students through Meets, and we have access to screens or have purchased tablets on which we can write and share our lessons with the students. The purpose of staying home is to social distance — we do not need to be together — we do not want to run the risk of spreading the virus.

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In case Mr. Howard does not realize it, teaching virtually is a tremendous amount of work and many of us are working longer hours than if we were teaching normally in the classroom. We teachers love our kids and we take pride in educating them to be the best they can be. We need the parents and community to work with us and support us to make this work. The negative comments and threats of pulling kids and reducing funds only work against the goal we all have for educating our children in Carroll County.

Karen Reisdorf

Mount Airy

U.S. can’t forget COVID-19 victim Africa

The United States is currently experiencing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, with totals passing 5 million cases. World totals have passed 20 million; however, most continents in the world should be, by now, equipped well enough to handle a resurgence.

Africa, however, is not. By the end of the year, the World Health Organization projects that Africa could be home to 44 million cases of COVID-19, largely due to inadequate medical systems and subsequently, lack of ability to contain any virus, especially one of this magnitude. The Associated Press recently published an article highlighting not only the lack of additional support to developing countries but the lack of even basic support. From January to May of this year, key donor countries donated $7 billion less than last year, and $16 billion less than the same time period in 2017.

The United States needs to take leadership in the fight against this pandemic and ensure developing countries receive the aid they need to respond to this outbreak. While African struggles may seem irrelevant as COVID-19 strikes on the home front, 44 million additional cases of COVID-19 in the world will negatively affect all of us and cause the unprecedented pandemic to surge into another year. The world cannot afford to forget Africa. To learn about supporting Africa and to take action in this time of need, visit borgenproject.org.

Luke Milhimes

New Oxford

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