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SCHOOLS: Masks are part of the solution

It is good news that schools in Chautauqua County should be able to open in September with at least some form of in-person learning.

Now, the hard work begins.

School districts have until July 31 to submit reopening plans to the state Department of Education. There is much yet to be determined that interests many parents: how much of the school’s plan revolves in learning time outside of the classroom, how schools plan to get children to and from school, how school districts plan to disinfect schools on a regular basis and how districts that don’t have electronic devices for all students can make sure children have access to them by the time school begins.

The COVID-19 infection rate must be below 5% based on a 14-day average. If the infection rate is above 9% on a seven-day average after August 1, schools will close. The final formula decision will be made the week of Aug. 1-7.

Many children need to be in school both to learn and for emotional growth. The status of many families’ jobs relies on school being in session too. For all those carping about mask wearing and freedom should remember that too big an increase in COVID-19 infections, regardless of hospitalization rates, means the upcoming school year could be pulled away in the drop of a hat.

Not everyone loves Gov. Andrew Cuomo nor his policies. That’s fair. For many in our county Cuomo’s liberal policies make life feel like they are stepping in a bear trap with every step they take. The sound of the man’s voice, to many in our area, sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard. Democrats don’t want to hear this, but conservatives have a point. The governor is far from perfect.

Conservatives, it’s also fair to say that Cuomo’s the governor and, right now, he makes the rules. No amount of complaining is going to change that fact.

If we want life to return to normal, including some semblance of a normal school year, it is incumbent on us to make sure the COVID-19 infection rate remains low. Wear a mask when you can’t social distance.

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