Rochester's return to the classroom a teachable moment for schools statewide

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I was overwhelmingly happy and proud to hear on Thursday that Rochester Schools are stepping up to the plate to do their job this academic year.

It has been increasingly reported in recent weeks that the damage done to young lives by remaining isolated at home during the pandemic far outweighs any risk they may incur by going to school.

Depression, suicides, drug use have all increased significantly, according to CDC Chief Robert Redfield.

So far in this pandemic, deaths of children to the coronavirus are less than in each of the last five flu seasons.

The country's health agency also reported that based on current data, the rate of infection among younger school children, and from students to teachers, has been low, especially if proper precautions are followed.

That means wearing a mask is mandatory, and teachers and administrators should make it a rule: Don't wear your mask and you'll have to go home for the rest of the day. Second offense, you're out for the rest of the quarter, third strike and you're out the rest of the academic year.

There can be no detentions or touchy feely time outs for the type of health risk they would be foisting on other students and teachers.

While other school districts are passing the buck to parents, it is absolutely refreshing to see Rochester taking the bull by the horns and doing what's right.

Young people need to learn socialization skills and how to interact with both other children and teachers. Keeping them isolated can do them irreparable harm, especially among middle and elementary school age kids.

High school students can also fall prey to drug addiction, depression and online addictions.

Redfield said since the pandemic began more young people have died from suicide than the virus, and more have died from drug addiction than the virus.

What Rochester Schools have decided on could very well save lives.

Bravo to Rochester School Supt. Kyle Repucci and the local school reopening committee for all their hard work, tough decisions and compassion they showed for the young people of this city.

And don't think Rochester parents don't thank you for that!

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