Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:

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July 26

The Valdosta Daily Times on delaying high school football practices:

High school football practice should be delayed.

Defensive tackles, cornerbacks, running backs, wide receivers, offensive linemen all have families.

They have parents, grandparents and perhaps great-grandparents.

They practice.

Then, they go home.

What do they take home, or to grandma’s house, with them?

We hope it is not COVID-19.

The Georgia High School Football Association should not be making public health decisions.

This past week, the GHSA board of trustees delayed the start of the football season by two weeks, but said the decision does not affect the start of workouts or the first date of practice.

While scrimmages and games are pushed back two weeks, workouts and practices remain the same.

Irresponsible.

GHSA is largely a volunteer organization made up of good people who have little to no expertise in public health.

The association has too much say in what our young people do.

If it is not safe for students to be in the classroom, it is not safe for players to be in the workout room and on the field.

In fact, the likelihood of spread is greater in the environment where players find themselves, with close contact, perspiration and a lot of yelling.

The Valdosta Board of Education has been responsible in moving the start of the academic school year to Sept. 8.

The Lowndes County Board of Education has at least moved the start of school to Aug. 14, a bit later but not late enough given the local surge of cases and hospitalizations and the increase in deaths.

It makes absolutely no sense that as much as 20% of the school systems’ student population who participate in sports and sports-related activities are being required to resume close person-to-person contact where social distancing and protective face-coverings are neither required nor possible.

If you only want to look at this as football and not as a public health issue, then how will your favorite team’s season go if the starting quarterback or the entire “O” line tests positive and must quarantine?

GHSA, the state school board, the local boards of education and the governor of Georgia — by not having a statewide plan in place — are all putting these young people, their parents, grandparents, family and friends at risk, simply because of the love of the game, or perhaps the revenue that comes from it.

Online: https://www.valdostadailytimes.com

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July 25

Daily Citizen-News on honoring female veterans:

The Murray County Veterans Memorial Park now has a memorial to female veterans of the U.S. military thanks to the vision of one woman and the generosity of a retired male Army officer.

Linda Spivey, a member of the Murray County Veterans Memorial Committee that oversees the park, had the idea “Why can’t the women have a monument here?” as committee members discussed how to improve the park.

It was a natural realization for Spivey, who served two years in the Women’s Army Corps, commonly referred to as the WACs, before it was folded until the regular U.S. Army in the 1970s.

“It hit me,” Spivey said of the idea.

And we are glad it did.

As the years move along and society continues to evolve, the importance of recognizing women and all that they do continues to be brought to the forefront. Women are holding elected office in greater numbers, and continuing to succeed in business. It is only natural and right that their contributions to our country receive the kind of spotlight that has traditionally been reserved for the achievements of men.

That retired Army officer, the benefactor of this project, agreed, and his company provided the money for the monument.

“I had the opportunity to spend some time giving back to something directly related to my hometown and women veterans,” said Dwight Hunt, a Dalton native and the president and CEO of the B3 Group, an information technology company based in Herndon, Virginia. “This was a unique opportunity for B3 to donate to a monument created specifically for women veterans, something that had been missing in the park. Although women at that time may not have been directly involved in combat operations, they served important roles and deserve to be recognized for their contributions and service.”

Hunt noted, “By 2030, women are projected to make up 15% of veterans in the U.S.”

That is a significant number, and we are thankful for the efforts of Spivey and Hunt and others who made this project possible for reminding us of the dedication of the women who served so nobly in the past and of those women who are serving now and will do so in the future.

They are mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and nieces, but also soldiers protecting America. We are blessed by their service.

Online: https://www.dailycitizen.news

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July 25

Rome News-Tribune on criticism of local decisions relating to the coronavirus:

It’s time to revisit the old adage of not being able to please everyone all the time.

The ease in which insults fly from all corners of the internet these days is astounding and appears to be getting worse. Have we forgotten how to listen and have discourse?

The people who sit behind their keyboards and constantly criticize EVERYTHING are the embodiment of “the worst of the worst” in the media field. You know the type: those who aren’t in any given field and who aren’t knowledgeable about a topic, but seem to know exactly how things should be.

For instance, let’s talk about schools restarting.

The superintendents, administrators and school boards are trying to come up with the best plans they can with information that’s essentially a moving target. What will the coronavirus do in the next month? School officials would love to know, but they’re making decisions on what they expect to happen in the future.

So they’ve come up with plans to educate our students with the knowledge that any plan could be scuttled in any given moment, depending on an unpredictable virus.

We should give them some slack when it comes to criticizing their decisions. Believe that there is no group of people who would love some certainty for the upcoming school year more than those who run the school systems.

So as we start back to school this year, it’s not going to be the same as it has been. We have to adapt and measure how we feel about the differences with the knowledge that things have changed, hopefully only for the short term.

We’re in a strange situation here and we’re all trying to figure it out as we’re going along. From the beginning in March, medical experts have been trying to figure out not only how the coronavirus spreads but how to slow it down or stop it.

Guess what? When you evaluate anything in a real time situation you’re going to have mistakes. Take masks, for instance. In March there was a community push to sew and distribute cloth masks to protect people. Well, public health and medical officials said masks won’t work to stop the spread of the virus.

THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART. As they learned how the virus spreads, they learned they were wrong. They learned the virus can spread through the larger droplets contained in coughs and sneezes, and masks can stop that spread from the infected person.

Fallibility isn’t something critics accept. The critics and commenters rail about how experts said masks weren’t important and how the death rate of those infected is lower than previously projected. That’s the measure on which many coronacritics are basing their arguments.

So, for the 100th time, let’s repeat this — the coronavirus isn’t going to wipe us off the earth, but we should be wary and protect those who are vulnerable. If you don’t already know, it’s pretty simple.

Vulnerable populations = our senior populations and those with preexisting health conditions. How can we slow down or even stop the spread? Try to stay about 6 feet from one another, wear a mask when inside and talking to people, and wash or sanitize your hands often. That’s really not hard, and it’s definitely not worth all the politicized whining we’ve seen.

Stepping down from the soapbox, it’s good to see our local leaders making sure to take care of those who take care of us.

A raise for police and firefighters is long overdue and City Commissioner Mark Cochran made a good point recently. It’s a bad business model to hire people, train them and give them some experience, and then let them go to other agencies that pay more.

It’s good to see our local officials address this issue. Our government managers have been smart to save money when the economy was going well and also to vouch for using some of our savings in this manner.

Quantity is important, but retaining quality public safety employees is paramount. Those are the people who create the culture within their departments.

We may see taxes increase somewhat to support these raises and need to consider that an investment. We’ve all heard a lot about toxic agencies in public safety — Glynn County in South Georgia, for instance — and we need to strive to keep forward thinking departments. One way to do that is to pay them what they’re worth.

It’s a good start, commissioners. Thank you for your support of our public safety departments — they play an important defining role for our community.

Online: https://www.northwestgeorgianews.com

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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