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School attire, gyms, term limits and more

Gov. Kathy Hochul in her first State of

Gov. Kathy Hochul in her first State of the State address in the Assembly Chamber on Wednesday. Credit: AP/Hans Pennink

Schools must ‘code’ pandemic attire

School dress codes regulate length of shorts and width of shoulder straps. And noncompliance brings penalties.

In the Huntington school district, for example, dress code violations can result in discipline, including suspension.

Girls often complain in warmer weather of being "coded" if their tank top straps are too narrow. Apparently, public health during the worst pandemic in modern history is taken less seriously than the impact of a fleeting glimpse of a 14-year-old child’s collarbone ["Blakeman signs order on school masking," News, Jan. 7].

The omicron variant is spreading uncontrolled. Despite reduced risk with each case, the startling rise in case numbers is overwhelming hospitals. Vast numbers of health care workers are out sick.

Mitigation strategies that previously succeeded have become insufficient. Yet many students and teachers continue to wear cloth masks despite clear public health warnings that they are insufficient. Worse yet, many wear loose-fitting masks that hang limp below their noses. This is tolerated despite knowledge that well-fitting KN95 or N95 masks are required to effectively stem omicron.

Schools need to implement and enforce pandemic-appropriate dress codes that include well-fitting masks with appropriate filtration. It’s time to "code" errant noses.

— Josh Dubnau, Huntington

These gyms are superspreaders

My family belongs to a gym that’s part of a local franchise. There is no regard for wearing masks in our gym in Lake Grove, or at the other locations ["Suffolk record for daily cases," News, Jan. 7].

Signs are clearly displayed that patrons must wear masks regardless of vaccination status. However, on any given day, I estimate that more than three-fourths of the patrons are unmasked. I feel for the employees. One told me he handed masks out on the first day of the mandate only to have patrons toss them out.

Senior citizens use these facilities to recover from surgeries or to ease pain in body and mind. I am deeply saddened and alarmed at the blatant disregard society has for mask mandates in these gyms, which can become COVID-19 superspreaders.

— Paulette Gebhard, Ronkonkoma

We can only hope term limits would work

Gov. Kathy Hochul is going to try to impose term limits for politicians in New York ["Hochul wants term limits," News, Jan. 4]. It’s a bold move and so correct. Politicians in office too long tend to feel invincible. They feel they are above the law.

One can’t open a newspaper today without reading about an officeholder who turned to the dark side. Term limits may keep them honest, and they just might do the job they were elected to.

Hochul should also try to pass a bill to set a ceiling on the age of state politicians at about 75. Although I am a Republican, I vote nonpartisan and believe this ceiling should be set federally, too. Our current federal political leaders are too old to hold these important offices and make important and appropriate decisions for the greater good.

Political contributions should be limited, too. Many politicians treat their war chests like a 401(k) and retire with millions of dollars. This is wrong. The money left in a war chest should go back to the party.

Small changes such as these may keep future politicians on the straight and narrow. We can only hope.

— Valerie Romeo, Bayport

State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) opposes Gov. Kathy Hochul’s term limits proposal. "I have always felt the ultimate time a person stays in office should be determined by the people who cast their votes for or against an elected official when they are on the ballot," Heastie said. Many officeholders support this statement.

However, these voters are greatly influenced by campaigns financed by special interest groups — labor unions, law enforcement and others, and none of this is illegal. Thus, they become beholden to those special interests.

Term limits would significantly reduce the influence of these groups. Without these limits, the idea in our democracy of "one person, one vote" are words without substance.

— Bill Domjan, Melville

Try empty malls to house troubled teens

Nassau and Suffolk county teens charged with felonies often are housed upstate for lack of local facilities ["Troubled teens need LI facility," Editorial, Jan. 4].

Would it be feasible to retrofit and staff a defunct mall for use as a facility for teens charged with felonies ["Rethinking empty malls," Editorial, Dec. 19]?

— Jeanne Hebbard, St. James