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Saturday, October 24, 2020
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Op-Ed: Open Schools


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Texas Border Business

By Bill Martin

Before I rant a bit on school delays and closing, let me start by saying that we all know someone at this point touched by COVID-19, and my comments are intended for our politicians and leaders who have to make tough decisions for the greater good. Certainly, I sympathize with anyone suffering from the loss of a friend or family member. 

Now, I know that I am likely in the minority on this issue, but I say open schools.  It can be done with reasonable safety precautions, not draconian measures.  The implications of not doing so are incalculable…parents not able to work, companies unable to produce…neither will be able to meet their obligations.  It took a relatively small percentage of people unable to pay their mortgages to drive us into the great recession of 2008-09 with a peak unemployment rate of 10% in October 2009.  We have the makings of a bigger problem if people do not go back to work. The current (June) unemployment rate is 11.1%, down from 14.7% in April, but that was before this recent wave and business closures.  This is the reason for the multi-trillion dollar stimulus bills and those are not without consequence…the increasing national debt, higher taxes, and inflation. This is only the economy, the human and student toll could be greater.

I’m concerned that our country is so incredibly risk-averse now that a pandemic that is barely noticeable as a statistical percentage risk to students and not much more for teachers (median age in Texas of 40.9) has caused us to make very poor decisions out of fear.  From March through June, total deaths from all causes as a percentage of our population are up 0.053% over the six-year average in the US and 0.026% in Texas.  Yes, those numbers will increase slightly with the recent wave, but not considerably.  I am quite worried if our country ever faces a real crisis as my grandparents saw in the first half of the last century.

Lastly, I believe there is a direct correlation between our fear-based decision making and the sudden removal of the church from our lives along with the ongoing removal of God (Judeo Christian values) from society.  We start to forget things like the following:

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

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