The Post and Courier provides a forum for our readers to share their opinions, and to hold up a mirror to our community. Publication does not imply endorsement by the newspaper; the editorial staff attempts to select a representative sample of letters because we believe it’s important to let our readers see the range of opinions their neighbors submit for publication.

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Letters to the Editor: There is no safe way to reopen schools

Coronavirus Pandemic (copy) (copy)

A sign in front of Morningside Middle School in North Charleston tells students to have a great summer after South Carolina canceled schools in the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the state is looking to reopen schools in the fall. File/Brad Nettles/Staff

How do you reopen schools and enforce social distancing?

Let’s think about a typical high school day. Students arrive packed like sardines on school buses, change classes in hallways that look like a New York City subway station at rush hour, attend classes of 30 or more in close proximity, and have lunch in cafeterias where they eat shoulder to shoulder.

To achieve social distancing and have every student attend school every day, no more than half of the student body could possibly be allowed on campus at the same time.

Each classroom could seat no more than about 15 students. That means two class sessions where there was one.

There are myriad logistical challenges. For example, we would need the same teacher for both sessions. If Mr. Jones was hired last year to teach math to 150 students in five periods of 30, he would be faced with teaching the same number of students in two different sessions where each class would number 15 students. He would need to teach twice the number of classes each day. That is not going to happen.

Nor are we going to hire twice as many teachers.

So how do you reopen schools and practice social distancing?

The short answer? You don’t.

TOM DI FIGLIO

Duck Hawk Retreat

Charleston

Test for reopening

Presidents, governors and mayors can close and open institutions, but the true test of when America is back is when Waffle House reopens.

NASCAR has announced drivers will race without fans in the stands but how will we be able to tell the difference?

COVID-19 has given Americans a taste of what it’s like to be stay-at-home retirees, so a lot of folks have decided to keep working.

LENNY BRANCH

Jasper Boulevard

Sullivan’s Island

Voting decisions

At Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, we daily talk to people who have multiple disabilities. Others have underlying medical conditions that are caused by, or contribute to, their disability.

Many with such conditions have been isolated in their homes and will remain so until the pandemic is over due to concerns about their health. They now have to decide how they will vote during a pandemic.

Many of our poll workers are seniors and have legitimate misgivings about working on Election Day. The buildings where we vote are not required to open their doors. We will inevitably see some polling places closed, meaning more crowding at precincts that remain open.

Gov. Henry McMaster said in April that he sees no reason to delay elections or make any changes to the current system.

Modest changes such as loosening restrictions on who can vote absentee and eliminating the witness requirement would allow more people to vote from the safety of their homes.

The state’s inaction in making needed changes in our election processes during this state of emergency endangers the health of all South Carolinians, especially those with disabilities.

We must support changes in our election procedures that will make social distancing more feasible and allow all South Carolinians the opportunity to vote from their homes. It is the best way to keep everyone, especially people with disabilities, safe at the polls.

Get a weekly recap of South Carolina opinion and analysis from The Post and Courier in your inbox on Monday evenings.


ERIN HAIRE

Landmark Drive

Columbia

Drug courts work

Being a March 2019 graduate of Drug Court, I know that it’s so much more than just a “get out of jail” card. It’s an opportunity to start living life again.

I’ve watched amazing things happen to those who have embraced the program. I’ve also stood helpless watching others who used the program to avoid a criminal charge and return to the same places that landed them in trouble in the first place.

Drug courts do work. Staying sober during the program isn’t the problem: It’s life after the program is completed. That’s where real-life problems have a tendency to overwhelm graduates.

The truth of addiction is prison or death. I know my addictions’ endgame, and I live with it each day: 892 days so far, 892 days of freedom to enjoy my life in a way in which drugs or alcohol cannot compete.

I will be celebrating my third year sober on Nov. 10, my first year as a federal employee at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center on May 27 and achieving my Level II certification in sterile processing. I am also part of a coronavirus taskforce trained to sterilize the N95 respirator masks.

I believe each step forward is a step away from my addiction.

J.R. WEAVER

Waterford Court

North Charleston

Oppose 5G

I am responding to the April 29 commentary by Morris Ellison, “Smart City technologies can help us all recover from COVID-19.”

5G is ultra-high frequency radiation. In my research, I found a letter written on Jan. 29, 2019, and signed by 26,000 scientists and doctors, voicing their strong opposition of 5G to the World Health Organization and the U.N.

They said 5G would expose humans to a “massive increase of mandatory exposure to wireless radiation.”

No one would be able to escape being bombarded by radiation from 5G. That, together with the increased potential for surveillance, makes me want to reject the idea.

On Feb. 7, 2019, at a Senate commerce hearing, Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut asked 5G industry representatives about the scientific evidence of 5G’s safety and their response was, “There are no industry-backed studies to my knowledge right now.”

Sen. Blumenthal replied, “So, we are flying blind here on health and safety.”

How can we allow an out-of-state wireless infrastructure company, namely Crown Castle of Texas, to come into our city and erect hundreds of 5G cells in our neighborhoods without any kind of rigorous testing?

Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler suggested the money to be made by corporations was far more important than testing for safety. When asked about safety testing, his response was, “Talk to the medical people.”

LEISA LAWRENCE

Savannah Highway

Charleston

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