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Letter: When it comes to school this fall, what defines ‘safe’?

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Letters to the Editor

Deseret News

I read and hear daily that teachers, teachers unions, educational administrators and parents say that children and teachers should not return to in-class teaching until schools are “safe.” But nobody defines what it means to be safe. 

A formal definition for safe is being free from “risk, danger, harm or damage.” Risk? Driving to school involves some degree of “risk,” and the annual influenza imposes risk on all our health and lives. In fact, none of our daily activities is from risk. We live with risk all the time. The term “safe” is purely subjective. None of our teachers or unions or administrators have defined what “safe” means to them. They have not set out any metrics by which we can measure when conditions will be considered “safe” enough for our children and teachers to return to the classroom. For some, it is when there are no new COVID-19 cases; an unlikely event. For others, it is only when there is a proven vaccine available; likely, but may not be until 2021. 

Teachers, administrators and parents need to come to grips with this issue and define some metric measures that will satisfy them that classroom teaching will be sufficiently safe for them to return to in-person teaching. The long-term mental and physical health of our children depend on in-person, classroom education.

Mike Jensen

Salt Lake City