Dan Ordorica: Bolster COVID testing for children before opening schools

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

As an Amherst Regional Public School parent, I am leery of sending my child to school these days and respectfully disagree with the parents of ARPS United who seem to urge restarting in-person education merely because we are currently privileged enough to have low COVID numbers locally.

Of course, that is largely because of the social-distancing protocols, including shutting down schools, that our town has adopted. We should not be complacent.

That said, European nations have managed to keep numbers relatively low despite congregating young people in school. Part of the strategy seems to be a testing regimen that can identify and isolate carriers quickly. If this was the case for ARPS I might be persuaded that our town was ready to engage in in-person learning.

UMass faculty and students are tested once and twice a week. Without some similar commitment to a testing regimen in our K-12 schools, I do not see how we can seriously think about in-person learning at any capacity. The risks to our children, and therefore, our community and the broader networks we all have, demands that we take this pandemic more seriously than those who wish we could all just go back to normal appear to take it.

At the end of the day, I cannot let my child’s education endanger her grandfather’s life.

Dan Ordorica