Letter to the Editor: Kids need to be in classrooms this fall

Several decades ago, Bobbie Gentry had a hit song on popular and western charts, “Ode to Billy Joe.” A line in that song struck me then and now as I approach my 77th birthday. The line is, “There was a virus going ’round; papa caught it, and he died last spring.” The pandemic has caused me to play that line in my mind on numerous occasions and especially now as our society moves on in life.

State of Delaware figures (for June 18) reveal that young people ages 18-34 account for 2,784 cases of the state’s total (10,499), for a percentage occurrence of 27%, with, very sadly, 11 deaths representing 3% of the total mortality (431). Folks in my age category account for 2,025 cases, 18% of the total cases, with 346 deaths representing 80% of that same total mortality. I say unequivocally that any death is a loss, regardless of its cause.

I remember as a 12-year-old kid (a long time ago) being sick in bed for over a week with what was called at the time “Hong Kong flu,” as that virus swept through the country. Thus, I surmise that some of those 2,784 kids were indeed sick and that does happen to us all and the loss of those 11 kids indeed is “more than sad,” as is any other cause of death, especially in young people. My point in this diatribe is: We senior citizens need to be responsible and smart to protect ourselves, but not at the expense of society as a whole. For those individuals in circumstances beyond their control, there is a need for help as is being offered by health officials.

Get kids back in the classroom this fall! I don’t know if we will ever know the toll that the lockdown changes in the education process have caused on our younger generation, and I suspect some kids lost more than others. While that process was likely justified months ago, it is not, in my opinion, justified now. Educators, administrators, public leaders: Figure it out and make it happen.

Virus deaths are not the only way that a pandemic such as this one kills and destroys lives.

There will continue to be cases of coronavirus infection in our society now and very likely for the foreseeable future. This virus is not going away. Our medical community is continuing to effect advances in control of this disease as was, I believe, an intent of the initial lockdown.

This accomplishment was done with much pain and a lot of knowledge and hard work. Let us now, as a society, grow from our accomplishments and utilize them for the benefit of all, especially our young people.

This is from a senior citizen who was a kid who needed to be in the classroom.

Spangler Klopp, DVM