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Letters: School board decision irresponsible, embarrassing; Voting was easy, Biden win easy to understand | READER COMMENTARY

School board decision irresponsible, embarrassing

The Carroll County Board of Education voted Wednesday night to open high schools on Thursday, Nov. 12 which will be the first day back for high school students since mid-March. Ironically, the decision was made to reopen with the probability of closing again next Wednesday and returning to all virtual learning for all students, elementary, middle, and high school.

Why are we putting our high school students, teachers, administrators, and staff at risk in such a dangerous moment? As a former Carroll County teacher and coach I am deeply opposed to the decision made by the board. Many attending the board meeting, including Dr. Dorsey, Commissioner Frazier, Health Department official Ed Singer, Superintendent Dr. Lockard and Karl Streaker, director of Student Services, expressed deep concern and opposed the reopening. Singer, representing the Carroll County Health Department was adamantly opposed to reopening. He made several data-driven, measurable points indicating the dangers of opening our high schools. Several counties in central Maryland are stepping back from their hybrid model to all-virtual as others are staying virtual for the near future.

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We are in the midst of a dangerous health crisis. COVID thrives and spreads in large, inside group gatherings. Opening our high schools at this time is providing the perfect environment to spread this virus in our community.

The question then is why open now? The reasons supporting the opening of the high schools were based upon emotion and individual discussions with parents and community members. One board member actually said he could sit at a bar and enjoy a mixed drink so why can’t our kids get back to high school. Other board members expressed concern for high school students missing out and they deserved to get back to school even for a few days.

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Decisions like this are what sets Carroll County apart from the rest of the local counties. Decisions like this are why so many of our talented teachers and staff are leaving. I was embarrassed by the decision. I was embarrassed that not one board member voted against reopening the high schools.

I, like most of you, realize the optimal condition for learning would be students and teachers in person. Hopefully, with the promise of a successful vaccine coming soon, that may be a reality in 2021. But, to send individual high schools students into school buildings for two days as the COVID-19 metrics spike is irresponsible. The decision made by the board on Wednesday is akin to anyone walking into a public forum without a mask.

Ken Johnson

Sykesville

Voting was easy, Biden win easy to understand

In this age of COVID-19 I was only going to vote if I could do it by mail. I was somewhat apprehensive as the US Postal Service has become unreliable under the current postmaster general.  My ballot arrived three days after I heard others had begun returning their ballots. I decided to hand deliver it to the box at the South Carroll Swim Club. I was a concerned the slot was big enough that someone up to no good could fish out ballots. To my surprise, the morning after I dropped my ballot in that box I received an email that it had been received.

Having horrible handwriting, my next fear was that my signature might not match. Another email just before Election Day informed me my vote had been tallied. This was easy. Why would anyone stand in line forever waiting to do this in person?

To make this process almost foolproof, issue a voter ID similar to those used for Medicare. Employing the same process we were subject to in order to get positive ID on our driver’s licenses would guarantee everyone’s vote counts. Move to another jurisdiction and keep the same voter ID, updating the information with the new jurisdiction. I also favor the paper ballot method Maryland uses. Claims of entire bundles being counted twice or not counted could be recovered in a recount. There is no reason these ballots cannot be tallied as they are received, as long as nobody knows the totals until after the election.

Now I’d like to explain to Democrats, particularly Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, why they easily won the presidency and still lost seats in the House. That vote was not FOR Biden, it was AGAINST Trump. “Trump being Trump” was simply unbearable to the bulk of people who got a college education. I suggested in a Community Voices column that we vote for Biden and against all other Democrats as a way to stem the socialist wing that is trying so hard to advance its agenda.

Being a centrist that ping-pongs between parties depending on which one is trending to its outer max, I find my vote is most coveted, even if it is wasted in this blue state. I would like to add I am OK with “progressive” initiatives to make the judicial system fairer and remove barriers. I am for law and order and fully support the police. I don’t have a problem with removing barriers that are protecting bad cops so they may be weeded out. I am against giving anyone a free ride.

Steven Davidson

New Windsor

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