Dear Gov. Herbert,
As a liberal girl in a conservative state, I have defended you to other liberals. Sure, we didn’t agree on everything, but I believed you cared. I told them you support education. I told them you love Utah. I told them you are cool-headed and don’t let emotion get the best of you.
Unfortunately, your response to teacher concerns in the July 30 press conference proved me wrong in the following ways.
You admitted this virus is five times more deadly than the flu, yet will “modify” quarantine for schools. Modified means adjusted. Your “modified” quarantine is no quarantine. Transmission rates are currently below one. What happens when we loosen restrictions?
You are not providing teachers with adequate personal protective equipment. Not all students can wear a mask. In many classrooms with severe disabilities, that’s most or all of them. Are school districts prepared to provide N95 masks for the employees and volunteers working for them? Not yet.
Your response to the question about rates of teacher attrition was patronizing and uncaring. You said that we shouldn’t do nothing when we can do something. Are you implying teachers want to sit on their hands instead of working?
You state that it is not when, but how we go back to school. Is relaxing guidelines ensuring school safety? Teachers want to return to school, but with a reasonable level of risk. Your response is to throw teachers in the fire to figure it out. Well, teachers have been figuring things out for years. We need our leaders to problem-solve this one.
I thought you genuinely cared about education. I guess I was wrong. Your legacy on this issue will forever be tainted by your COVID-19 response in the last six months of your service.
Elizabeth Pimentel, Sandy