Dear Governor Abbott,
In the next few days or weeks, you will be making what may be the most important decision during your tenure as governor of the Great State of Texas, certainly the most fateful and consequential one.
You will be deciding if, when and how to prudently and safely send five million Texas children back to school amid a raging coronavirus pandemic.
In other words, reopening in some fashion “brick and mortar” schools to Texas children during a pandemic that is spreading like wildfire though our state and shows no signs of slowing down.
Very few will disagree with the importance of opening our schools to ensure the continuity and quality of the education process and to contribute to the social, mental, and physical development and wellbeing of our children.
Many will also say that such brick-and-mortar reopening is essential to the economic reopening of our state and the nation.
Starting four months ago, you issued several executive orders designed to slow the virus’ spread. They worked.
But then, only one month later, under intense pressure from the White House, where the criteria and considerations are clearly political and economic, you started lifting the measures and restrictions and urged Texans to get back to business.
We are now experiencing the tragic results of such reversal: Coronavirus cases in Texas have risen by nearly 700 percent since then.
You have, among other, blamed young adults and “bar settings” for the resurgence, but, to your credit, you have reinstituted some of the earlier prevention and containment measures.
If premature or flawed reopening of our schools results in adverse health consequences to our children, whom can we blame it on? Certainly not on the children!
Governor, I am just a layman thus I cannot give any expert advice on this matter.
However, as a father and grandfather and as someone who believes that the health and lives of our flesh-and-blood children should be treasured infinitely more than the continuity of a brick-and-mortar school education, I beg you to listen to the medical experts first and place political and economic considerations second.
If and when you decide to open our schools, please also listen to the American Academy of Pediatrics, teachers unions and school superintendents who urge authorities to base their recommendations “on evidence, not politics.”
I ask you this on a day when our state, for the fourth consecutive day, sets the dubious record of more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases.
Please listen to the scientists, medical experts, and immunologists: apolitical experts such as the pre-eminent Dr. Anthony Fauci, regardless of what your Lieutenant Governors says about him.
Please do not listen to the siren call of those who would put politics and the economy ahead of the welfare of our most vulnerable.
Schools are not bars, restaurants or “Walmarts” that you can close and reopen with the flick of an executive order.
While you took the chance on the general population and we are now paying the piper and while some studies claim that children are more resilient against coronavirus, please do not roll the dice on five million children.
There is no recourse if you make the wrong decision.
I do wish you strength, wisdom, and almost divine guidance in making this momentous decision.
Dorian de Wind
For additional discussion on this issue GO HERE
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.