Letters to the editor March 28
Since our schools mostly remained in person this year there seems to be a sentiment that we did things right. There’s another perspective to this discussion.
A reasonable analysis shows close to 100 additional public school staff contracted COVID due to schools being in person this year.
As of the beginning of March, the county had a case rate of about 10% of the population. The local school case rates were Bigfork 25%, Kalispell 18%, Columbia Falls 15% and Whitefish 11%. If you apply the 10% rate to the 1,400 total school staff and subtract it from the actual number of staff cases in the schools (from the district websites) it’s a difference of 95.
This approach assumes that school staff are representative of the county population. There may be differing opinions on the data. However, even if this analysis is on the high side, a significant number of school employees contracted COVID due to in-person school. Like the general population some of these cases were mild and some may have long-term effects.
With this in mind, I urge the state, county and local officials, school boards, administrators and the public to take into account the sacrifice school staff have made this year. Please keep this in mind when we all are making decisions related to COVID going forward. Be it the county health or school boards reviewing policy or an individual choice to wear masks in public. The staff at our local schools need your support and vigilance for a few more months. Like all of us we’ve sacrificed a lot this year.
—Todd Spangler, Kalispell