SCHOOLS Forum debates a safe return

At a community forum held last week by the Dunkirk City School District, there was a glimmer of hope that students could return. The panel included Lisa Barone, director of infection control and employee health at Brooks Memorial Hospital; Nichole Dispense, School 7 nurse; and Julie Lawrie, a nurse at Dunkirk Middle School.

Unsurprisingly, Barone gave the best insight. She’s on the front lines and is well respected in the community.

“Have you been out to dinner?” Barone asked at one point. “Have you gotten gas and not washed your hands after? Do you clean your cell phones? If you think about it, every time you pick up your phone, these are some of the reasons COVID spreads and spreads so quickly. So unless you never leave your house, no one ever comes in, you will always have a risk of getting COVID. … If you take your kid to Walmart, you should have no problem taking them to school.”

There’s a definite split between parents who want children back in buildings — or learning remotely. But a greater benefit to our youth comes from face-to-face models.

COVID-19 is a huge concern in Dunkirk as infections and deaths tied to the virus increase. There’s reason to be cautious.


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