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Dear Editor:

I am concerned how the Jefferson City School District is handling the Wuhan virus crisis. I understand initially closing the schools for a short period of time to wait and see how the virus spreads and the methods used to combat it. History now demonstrates continued closings of most activities should not be continued, especially in areas that are not densely populated and do not rely on mass transportation.

As of May 19, Cole County had no active cases and of the 54 it had, fewer than four were under the age of 20. In Callaway County there was one active case of the 22 total cases it has had. The Colorado governor stated that up to 25 percent of the deaths ascribed to the Wuhan virus were not from the virus but with the virus. Accordingly, the number of deaths has been overstated.

The current virtual classrooms for JCSD is not how schools should be teaching students and is not a proper solution to protect students and families for the future. From a medical perspective, students are not likely to get sick from the virus even if they acquire it and by continuing social isolation we are not encouraging herd immunity.

JCSD has all of its school buildings sitting idle, all paid by taxes exacted on property owners in the district. It appears that the district continues to pay its staff their salaries even though many of their duties have been significantly reduced.

The use of virtual teaching deprives students of the most important parts of elementary and secondary education, such as socialization, hands-on teaching and discipline that only comes with in-person schooling. Being deprived of in person socialization and teaching will be detrimental to students' development. There will be no personal relationships between students and teachers and no personal relationships among students. Unfortunately, virtual teaching enables and encourages cheating. It also erodes student engagement in the process of learning.

Many parents are not capable to teach, are not able to teach, and may not be emotionally prepared to teach. Home schooling is only appropriate for those parents who are capable, able and emotionally prepared to do so.

If teachers or administrators are afraid they will catch the virus from asymptomatic students, they can stay home and the district can decide how those staying home can contribute to the district. But please open the schools!

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