As you are aware, we are living in unprecedented times with the pandemic. Our children have had to resort to online learning. I am not faulting the teachers, as I know they are working tirelessly.

The main concern is that children have been locked out of the classrooms for over six months. The socialization, the relationships built with teachers and fellow students are so critical. I am also concerned with the children who were and are continuing to struggle with inequality in technology, watching other siblings while parents have to work, and with the most important factor — nutrition. Schools for a lot of children are a stable place. It's a place of comfort for some in really bad situations. It's a place of love and caring from teachers, staff and others employed by the school or are volunteers, which are so crucial.

Also a real concern is that the schools are the point of contact when children are abused — for important social services that can protect the child and help them get the services they need.

Lastly, it is also really important for kids to be part of activities, drama, music and sports, which helps round out children; these also teach really important lessons as well.

It is my hope and prayer that soon school districts will start to be bold and band together to keep fighting for the children and let parents have a choice while supporting teachers who want to see their students again.

Shane Robinson

Hermiston

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