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Letters to the Editor: Will the feds pay for teachers’ healthcare if Trump forces schools to reopen?

Closed school
A student walks with her mother after cleaning out her locker on April 30 at El Camino Real Charter High School in Woodland Hills.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I work for a large urban school district in Texas and feel that a major topic that has been overlooked in the discussion on reopening schools is coronavirus-specific healthcare coverage for school employees. (“Trump has zero understanding of what it will take to safely reopen U.S. schools,” editorial, July 8)

Any reopening plans should include absolute assurances that we and our immediate family members will not be held responsible for any coronavirus-related healthcare costs if any of us becomes infected because of mass reopenings. We should not compound the uncertainty we already feel by asking teachers and support staff to risk financial ruin if they become infected with COVID-19.

If President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos are demanding that public schools must fully reopen and have students on campus, the federal government should pay for any coronavirus-related healthcare costs incurred by school employees and their immediate family members.

It would be both irresponsible and abhorrent to not provide this support to each and every school employee as part of a comprehensive and appropriate reopening plan.

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Dillon Finan, Del Valle, Texas

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To the editor: I am a retired public school teacher and believe that we should reopen campuses in a normal fashion.

Traditionally, school began after Labor Day. For the 2020-21 year, this makes sense as the current spike in infections may have subsided by then.

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School-age children appear to face very little likelihood of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. Teachers and other campus employees are the ones potentially at risk. If the adults wear a quality mask and wash their hands frequently, the chances of them being infected approach zero.

Students and parents would benefit greatly from this scenario, and the risks would be minimal.

James Thurber, Mountain View, Calif.

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To the editor: Trump’s demand that schools reopen in the fall will have little impact on many parents. They will decide for themselves when it is safe for their children to return to class.

But ardent Trump supporters are being asked to make a decision: Are you willing to risk the life of your child to demonstrate your faith in the president?

Paul Roud, Leverett, Mass.

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To the editor: Trump pretends the pandemic is waning in the face of astronomically bad numbers and demands that schools reopen in the fall.

He insists that the economy will bounce back and that Confederate statues are monuments to heroes. He calls demonstrators thugs and ignores the fact that the vast majority of protests were peaceful and that most Americans want systemic racism to end.

This isn’t really about a lack of intelligence, but rather a lack of compassion. This man thinks only of what he wants, and that is re-election at any cost.

Sue Robin, Los Angeles


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