Schools’ efforts should be applauded

Recently we joined a group outside Longfellow Elementary School in Eau Claire. Each of us held up a colorful sign to thank teachers and staff for their extraordinary efforts during the pandemic.

We know firsthand the challenges teachers and their students face because three members of our family are longtime teachers in two of the area’s larger school systems. We are well aware of the difficulties they face each day as they adapt curriculum and methods to online platforms and ever-changing expectations brought on by the spread of COVID-19.

We were dismayed to read the Leader-Telegram’s Oct. 22 editorial about “numerous” parental complaints concerning online efforts to teach area children and a perceived lack of communication between parents and teachers. The editorial contained no specifics about which of the area’s school districts was in question and no documentation about the sources of the complaints. Painting with this broad a brush is bound to be demoralizing to area teachers and administrators going the extra mile in these unpredictable times.

Teachers have had to master technical skills and equipment with warp speed to deliver content to students and parents who are often equally unskilled and ill prepared for the demands of online learning. Certainly the summer could have been used to better advantage to assist everyone with new skills, but this would have required additional personnel and dollars as well as advance knowledge of the fall schedule.

We all desire an excellent education for our children. Their future requires each of us — students, teachers, parents, school boards, administrators and media — to adopt supportive attitudes of helpfulness rather than sowing seeds of division and malcontent.

Janice and Don Wisner

Eau Claire

Much about virus remains unknown

I am beyond upset at the two local governments (city and county of Eau Claire) that have given themselves six months to figure out how to deal with a public health problem that has some immediate, simple, effective, if unpleasant, actions for the short run. That should have been dealt with by the federal government months ago.

I grant you, nobody signed up for a pandemic. We take what life gives us and do our best to make lemonade. Meanwhile, the CDC has long since issued guidelines and it seems as if too many have taken up sides and refuse to deal with it as a scientific problem, making public health a priority. That’s not right.

I liken coronavirus disease (aka COVID-19) to an invader from a planet in an unknown galaxy. We’ve barely scratched the surface of what it is and what its long term effects are. Fortunately, it has some close relatives (HIV, Ebola) on our planet, so many scientists have been able to use those to help learn about the new virus. May their efforts come to fruition speedily and while we are still alive to benefit from them.

Meanwhile, it doesn’t take a task force and six months to tell people to wear a dang mask and keep a “social distance,” like it or not.

Let the task force work on business interests which are losing money hand over fist because of the prudent steps necessary to combat the virus.

Meanwhile, wear the dang mask. And remind me when I forget. Dangit.

Suzon Gordon

Altoona