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Scott Loftis

From the Editor

Scott Loftis is managing editor for Carroll County Newspapers. His email address is CarrollCountyNews@cox-internet.com

Opinion

Reopening schools is a mistake

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Since I became managing editor for Carroll County Newspapers six years ago, Iíve made coverage of education a priority. I believe schools are an important part of the community ó a source of pride and a vital element in building our future.

For the past two years or so, Iíve also been responsible for high school sports coverage. It might be the part of my job that I most enjoy, getting paid to watch games while also getting a chance to forget about the complications and stress of covering hard news.

I believe I can say honestly that I personally and our publications as a whole have been supporters of our local schools.

Thatís why I donít want anyone to misunderstand my motivations for what Iím about to say. I want the best for educators, administrators and students in Carroll County. Because I want whatís best for all those people, I believe opening school five weeks from now would be a catastrophic mistake. And as much as it pains me to say it, we just canít even think about restarting high school sports. The potential consequences are just too dire.

Yes, most young people who are infected with the coronavirus recover. But most isnít all, and how would we all feel if a young person lost his life because we reopened schools too soon? How would we feel if a high school football player died after being infected?

More likely than those scenarios, of course, is the possibility that an infected student could unknowingly transmit the virus to a relative or friend who could be more vulnerable to its potentially deadly effects.

I understand that not opening the schools as scheduled would create its own set of problems. Working parents would be affected. Studentsí education likely would suffer. There wouldnít be any Friday night football, or volleyball, or golf, or cross country. Teachers would have to adjust, again, to a new way of working. But none of those hardships would be potentially fatal.

We have to protect our students, educators and administrators. We have to protect our communities. Sending thousands of students back to school in Carroll County wonít protect anyone. In fact, it will put them all in danger.

I suspect state officials realize all this, even if they wonít say it publicly. My hope is that theyíll do the right thing sometime in the next five weeks and take action to protect us all.

If they donít, I hope Iím wrong about what will happen next.