We are better than this
We learn a lot about our community when there is change, and right now there is significant change. With COVID still rearing its ugly head in our community, we are finding out just who we really are.
Are we the parents forced to decide to live in separate homes while our medically fragile child continues to learn from home and their siblings learn IN school?
Are we the parents of a child who attempted to take their own life due to being overwhelmed by having to decide between their physical and mental health?
Are we the parents teaching our children to argue when a teacher asks them to be concerned for a peer who has a heart condition and needs help keeping that friend IN school, but also safe?
Are we the parent who stands up in a crowd of peers to scream at the school board because our child is fine and shouldn't have to worry about those "other" kids?
Our schools need to be able to implement the health and safety measures that were a benefit to the ENTIRE community last year. To teach children why their friends with medical differences should be IN school alongside them. To help children understand that a friend with an autoimmune condition must be protected, just as their friend with a food allergy must be protected.
We are at a crossroads in this community. As parents, we must help our children understand it is okay to change their minds as they learn new information. We can support each other with compassion, empathy and understanding. We cannot support each other by pushing for a society where everyone is in it for themselves.
This community and the school district have been outstanding in the years past, and it is disappointing to see people disregard many of their own friends, neighbors and even their own family members with medical needs that are beyond their control.
We are better than this. We must take a closer look inside and find out who we really want to be in OUR community.
Wearing masks works
At the last Centennial School District board meeting, misinformation was spread by public commenters who are opposed to mask wearing in schools. COVID-19 doesn’t care what “side” of an issue you’re on, all it cares about is finding a willing host. It does that mainly by spreading through the air either as droplets (from a cough or a sneeze) or as an aerosol (tiny floating particles).
Research has shown that the coronavirus can remain suspended as an aerosol for hours until it finds a host. The “close contact” rule instigated in the schools applies primarily to larger droplets, not aerosols. Imagine you’re in an enclosed room and someone is smoking. Cigarette smoke is an aerosol. Can you smell it where you’re sitting? If you can, the aerosol is reaching you. Now imagine that aerosol contains coronavirus instead of cigarette smoke — you would be vulnerable to infection, especially from the highly transmissible Delta variant.
That’s why masks are important. They trap the droplets and particles that people breathe out, meaning there will be less virus in the air. They are one tool in our toolbox to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Good ventilation and air filters help, but well-fitting masks are the simplest, cheapest tool we can use to protect our children in school until they can be vaccinated, and to protect teachers and school personnel, too.
By the fourth week of the school year, Centennial School District had the highest percentage of COVID cases/school population out of nine local school districts, followed closely by Forest Lake. Those with mask mandates, such as Mounds View and Stillwater, had fewer cases of COVID. Wearing masks works! Fewer cases means less sickness, less chance of community spread, less quarantine, less disruption and more kids in school focusing on their education. Shame on the school board and the administration for not doing everything possible to keep our children safe while in their care.
Vote for Goldberg Nov. 2
Dean Goldberg is a candidate for Circle Pines City Council and deserves your vote on Nov. 2.
Dean, a neighbor of mine, has done an admirable job of representing us and he keeps residents informed about city happenings.
Dean has an interest in caring for our environment and worked with other council members to make Circle Pines a Green Step City, which is a recognition for cities to become more sustainable and energy-efficient that has led to cost savings for us.
I am excited to begin using the new organics recycling, which will be offered from Republic Services, the new garbage collector, which Dean supported. When the system initially began and there were some bumps, he worked to make sure the neighbors’ concerns were addressed.
Dean took on the challenge of promoting the 2020 Census by becoming the “Census Man” Superhero, which encouraged all Circle Pines residents to complete the census and make sure they were all counted. The census ties directly to local government aid, which provides us with property tax relief and additional funding for state aid roads. There are a number of school district programs that rely on funding based on census counts. These include ECFE, preschool, adult basic education and school-age child care. His work directly led to increased funding for these programs.
Dean is dedicated to making sure all residents are represented and is willing to listen to their issues and concerns. Please join me in voting for him on Nov. 2.