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Our school officials dropped the ball

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Shame on our school superintendents, boards of education, administrators and teachers’ unions. They had three months to prepare for these school openings and instead of having one cohesive and comprehensive plan for all of Long Island, I feel they failed miserably [“A safe return to the classroom,” Editorial, Aug. 23]. Is the virus any different in Nassau or Suffolk counties? The North Shore to the South Shore? The East End to the western border? Every district has its own opening agenda — what a mess! It’s a nightmare, especially for parents and teachers who work in one district and live in another. We expected and truly deserved better. And their strategies seem to change daily.

Stuart J. Pastrich,

Port Washington

As an educator and high school coach, I am amazed that we fail to see the big picture. The decision to allow schools to reopen is a huge step that comes with huge risks [“High school officials decry lack of clarity,” Sports, Aug. 8]. The reason why high school sports wasn’t addressed quickly is simple — it’s about priorities. The No. 1 priority of the schools is to educate. To do that, every school district is trying to create the safest possible environment for students and staff. In most cases, this means the creation of mini “bubbles” within the classrooms/school/district. Unfortunately, sports is the biggest threat to that bubble. We “may” be able to practice safely with our own teams, but once schools begin competing against other schools, I believe risks will grow exponentially. I say this because of what is happening in professional sports. We can’t do what pro basketball or hockey has done, and if the billion-dollar industries of baseball and football can’t protect their players in a nonbubble environment, do we really think we can with the governor’s guidance? I want to coach high school sports this year, but not at the risk of bringing COVID-19 back to my own district and forcing the closure of our schools.

Mike Pavlides,

Massapequa Park

Editor’s note: The writer is the girls and boys tennis coach at Massapequa High School.

How is it possible that, five months after schools closed, we still wonder every day if our children will be back in school and if they will have extracurricular activities? On Long Island, there may have been more fatal car accidents in the past few weeks than COVID-19 deaths. I am more nervous about my teenagers driving to work or to the beach than going to school. I am also nervous about the long-term negative effects of all these kids being out of school for so long. It’s time to return before more damage is done to them educationally, emotionally and socially. Superintendents are well paid and need to work harder to figure out how to get all of their students back into the building. Walmart and Target figured it out. School is essential.

Lorraine Lubicich,

Floral Park

Time to elect leaders who are different

A reader asked, “Why is it so important that the media feels obligated to tell us about someone’s standing based on skin color, ethnic origin, religion, gender, or sexual preference ... are we to align ourselves ... based on a similarity to one of these categories?” [“LIers respond to Harris’ nomination,” Letters, Aug. 17]. I’m assuming the reader is a white male. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’m one, too, but does he know that for more than 200 years, almost all of our leaders have been white, Protestant and male? That little was done about the rights and opportunities of those who couldn’t check all those boxes? Is it all right to believe that sticking to white, Protestant, male leaders is fine while we assume that they’re men of goodwill? Should all other Americans keep voting for people unlike them, and trust them to advance their interests? It took 171 years to elect a Catholic president, 219 years to elect a Black president. We haven’t had a female president yet. Is there a link to the color, gender and religion our presidents and other leaders have shared for so long?

David Penzel,

Old Bethpage

I wholeheartedly agree with the letter of hope that all of us, starting with the media, could stop defining people by certain characteristics. We don’t mention people’s hair color, do we? Or eye color? Or the length and width of their noses? Of course not. So why do we continue to mention skin color, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual preference? Aren’t these as unimportant as the other features? We can truly say we are one people, all living on one planet, when we grow up and stop this nonsense. We are all the same. The differences are all in your heads. Treat others as you want to be treated. And, yes, it begins with the media.

Michele Halder,

Huntington

Democrats celebrate as the nation suffers

Our country has had more than 175,000 deaths from the coronavirus, increased crime as cities are attacked, jobs lost and people out of work, schools staying closed, millions wearing masks, food prices still rising, and the president of the United States virtually under daily attack by the media and others since the 2016 election. For the Democrats, though, their convention was a week of celebration.

Mike Franza Sr.,

Hewlett

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