Editor, Townsman:

I want to applaud Dr. Elizabeth Lentini and the other doctors at Andover Pediatrics who've urged the schools to open as soon as possible. As the doctors pointed out, "infectious disease experts agree that risk of student-to-student, teacher-to-student and student-to-teacher transmission is much lower than outside of the school."

I also applaud the doctors for pointing out the increased mental health and social burdens placed on our children. Many children are being denied the ability to learn how to build healthy and sustainable friendships and are suffering an increased risk of depression and suicide.

Further, we all know the value of a good teacher. Many research studies have confirmed the impact that a good teacher can have on the eventual income of children years into the future. As the pandemic continues, an online experience is no replacement for an in-person teacher.

I recognize that all these other concerns have been put by the wayside to fight the virus and protect our children, but in this effort, our own measure is now what damages our children the most.

This is a mistake. Our children are and will continue to bear this burden and this lack of attention long after the pandemic ends, and the longer this continues, the bigger the burden will be on our children.

I urge, as the doctors have urged, our school administration to "consider school to be a safe haven for all who attend, for both children and adults who work there." The science supports this.

Let's remove this burden from our children now.

Danny O'Toole



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