Dear Editor:

I am a parent of a rising ninth grader and I need to get some concerns out to you that are really concerning me. I understand more than anything that our kids need to be back in school. I taught for 17 years myself before becoming too sick to continue to be there.

I am a very high risk person that is dealing with multiple autoimmune diseases. I battle everyday with Lupus, Gastroparesis, Fibromyalgia and A.S., Hashimotos, along with other issues. I have unfortunately been hospitalized twice and had three surgeries since March and have been in the hospital without my family being able to be with me even during these stays and these surgeries since all these pandemic issues started and I know there are so many that have been enduring battles as well but when it is in your home it's a reality that you are faced with everyday.

My family worries everyday that they could bring something home to me and this is a real fear especially for my youngest son who will be starting his first year of high school because he is always with me. He helps take care of me and knows all my medical difficulties so his fear is great with the what ifs.

I know that, yes, school has to resume and that there are kids that don't have the support that my child does and that others do but I also feel like families in our situation with parents who are high risk or all the children that are at risk as well, we NEED an option to choose like so many of the counties around us are being given or if there was even just a delay to the start of the year.

I feel like the survey that we were asked to participate in was pointless if those with concerns are not even acknowledged or addressed. The Governor has extended the State of Emergency and we are still looking to start normal school days during the time of the extended State of Emergency and the fact that he is asking high risk to remain in place? No mask requirements for the students? No true way to keep them socially distanced? Our junior and senior class can not have a prom because of the extended regulations with gatherings but we can start school during the same time frame? This does not make sense to me or others that I have spoken with.

We are being put into a situation with our children's health and parents health is not being considered with no choice for an alternative. I have always been so proud to be a Leopard and the Board of Education has always put the safety of our families first which I have always admired the care and concern for our county always putting the safety above all else and this has always been comforting to know that our kids are most important but by not giving an option with the current situation until things are safe is hugely bothersome because it may not be a big deal for some but for some it could be dangerous and careless and life changing.

We are in uncertain times, in unknown territories so it calls for differentiated learning whether that be in the classroom or in virtual learning at home. So, in closing, please please consider those that are compromised and who still are having to be sheltered in place for their own well being and who have had to change everything they know turned upside down. Please give us an option to let our kids learn at home until it is safe for them and their families. I know other families feel the same as we do. I know it can not be easy to make these decisions in such an unprecedented time but as you do make these difficult decisions remember those that don't have the ability to fight off something like this. Have a blessed night.

Sincerely,

Karla Nelson

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