Editorial: Let's keep our heads while discussing whether kids go back to school in masks next month

  • Our disagreements over whether parents should be left to decide whether their kids mask up for school have become unproductive and harmful.

    Our disagreements over whether parents should be left to decide whether their kids mask up for school have become unproductive and harmful. Getty Images/iStockphoto

 
The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Posted7/23/2021 1:00 AM

When did we lose our ability to rationally discuss things?

We're not talking about everyone, mind you, but a goodly portion of us -- if public meetings and social media are the measures -- seem to have lost our ability to speak, listen and consider.

 

We tend to either agree with each other or belittle each other. Whatever happened to agreeing to disagree?

Our self-assuredness can be a cancer on our communities.

With about a month to go before school starts, every suburban school board is grappling with how to assure a safe school environment while enraging the fewest people possible as they determine whether to require masks for students.

Some already have determined masks will required, some have ruled they'll be optional. Others are awaiting guidance from the state.

Meetings are turning ugly with name-calling and hyperbole. Social media, predictably, has gotten uglier.

We asked readers via our Facebook page this week to give us their thoughts. The responses became so mired in name-calling and junk science that we removed the post.

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But all hope is not lost.

In the past few days we've seen some truly thoughtful opinions on the subject from our readers who fall on both sides of the issue.

"My children will wear them -- they are acutely aware that others can't get vaccinated. They also want to be able to visit with their grandparents who are high-risk, even though they are vaccinated," wrote Marci Leon Badgerow of Northbrook.

"My 8-year-old hasn't had an opportunity to be vaccinated yet, along with every child in her elementary school," wrote Samantha Campen of Wheaton. "Even my 13-year-old will because of the Delta variant and not knowing who is and is not vaccinated at his middle school. CDC says all kids need to mask."

Both moms were responding to our Facebook inquiry.

On Monday, we published a letter to the editor from Jane Hoppe of Grayslake. Her complaint was with a syndicated column we ran in which the writer resorted to berating those who choose not to be vaccinated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

She noted there are reasons beyond politics that some choose not to be vaccinated. One of her points was, "Since the coronavirus vaccine is designed to effect an immune response, doesn't it make sense that immunocompromised people might wish to be cautious about risking overstimulating an already overstimulated immune system?"

Even if you don't agree with Hoppe's position, she makes it without attacking others.

It's important that we look beyond our noses, whether the subject is politics, mask-wearing or whatever.

Or pretty soon we won't be able to talk to our neighbors at all.

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