Dear Editor,

This is an open letter to our governor, the honorable Albert Bryan Jr., our commissioner of Education, Racquel Berry Benjamin, and our District Superintendent Stefan Jurgen.

I am writing to request that the elementary school children be given the option to home school for the 2021-2022 school year. I have two elementary school-aged grandchildren and I am petrified of exposing them to other children who may have been in contact with individuals who had COVID-19.

I understand that it is believed that at this age, the children are less susceptible to the COVID-19 and its variants. I believe, however, that one child infected is one child too many. In addition, some young children have become casualties of this disease. Further, there are no available vaccines for children under the age of 12. Therefore, these children do not have any protection from the COVID-19 virus.

The younger children generally have more difficulty keeping on their masks and keeping their distance from others. In addition, separating pupils only two feet apart in the classroom is not enough distance between students.

Why can the older students who can get vaccines have the option of applying to learn from home and their younger counterparts cannot? I understand that there are parents that must work and do not have other adults who can assist their children with their classes at home. These parents should also have the option of sending their children to school. However, those of us who fear for the health of our children and grandchildren should likewise be given the option to keep our children at home. This was the procedure for the 2020-2021 academic year. My oldest granddaughter succeeded tremendously in that system and was not exposed to COVID-19.

I thank you for your attention to this request and look forward to your affirmative response

— Myrna van Beverhoudt, St. Thomas, is a retired educator.