Letters, Aug. 28-31: Proactive mask requirement needed in Park City schools
An ounce of prevention
Fortuitous as it is, we can parallel the COVID-19 pandemic to what just happened with the Parleys Canyon Fire. I can’t speak to whether all preventative measures that could have been done to prevent this fire were taken, but when the fire broke out, our community jumped into action. We looked to the actions and recommendations of the fire experts — the first responders, firefighters and law enforcement — and followed their evacuation orders. To keep us safe. Local businesses rallied to provide food and shelter to those who were displaced. The start of school was even delayed to accommodate those evacuated from their homes.
Now is the time to listen to the medical experts and do what they are recommending for our children, especially those under 12 and not yet able to be vaccinated: to attend school in-person, all staff and students who are 2 years or older should wear masks unless medical or developmental conditions prohibit their use.
Already schools in southern states such as Florida, Mississippi and Kentucky — all states that have a mask mandate ban like here in Utah — have had to shut down due to the number of cases. ICUs are over capacity. Let us learn from others and not make the same mistake here.
While I appreciate that our community is among the highest vaccinated in the state, the delta variant has been shown to still be carried by the vaccinated and more virulent in children.
Benjamin Franklin famously advised fire-threatened Philadelphians in 1736 that, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Clearly, preventing fires is better than fighting them, but to what extent can we protect ourselves from natural disasters? Hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, hurricanes and volcanic eruptions are not in themselves preventable, but some of their devastating effects could be reduced through forward planning.
The COVID-19 pandemic is our world’s present public health hazard, and we need the proactive policies. Waiting until we reach a 2% percent 14-day COVID-19 positivity rate among the total number of students, staff and faculty in elementary schools is unacceptable.
Dumping soils facility was right call
Thank you, City Council, for voting down the Gordo soils repository, though your disappointment permeated the Aug. 19 City Council Zoom meeting when some councilors blamed the cost of relocating contaminated soils for depleting funds for affordable housing and transportation.
Where was the council’s concern for affordable housing when it promoted expensive open space purchases? Where was the council’s concern for transportation when it reduced neighborhood bus service, even prior to the pandemic?
Some councilors maintained that because trails and homes already sit on contaminated soil, it’s inconsequential if the contaminants also get dispersed into our air and waterways, even as we choke on smoke.
Some blamed opposition to the soils repository on politics. It’s unfortunate that public health and environmental safety issues have been hijacked by politicians and journalists for their own purposes, while Park City people just want to protect the healthy lifestyle they came here for.
Some city councilors blamed public opposition to the soils repository on misinformation. It was misinformation in the permit application regarding the repository’s proximity to Silver Creek and the Quinn’s recreation area that most probably turned citizens against this project.
There’s no easy way out of the issue of Park City’s dirty soils. The City Council’s efforts and expenses in attempt to create one makes me wonder where the well-being of residents ranks on the council’s priority list. What is the price tag for safeguarding the environment too burdensome for a council that simultaneously plans to get into the costly and risky business of land development to support arts and culture?
Thankfully, the council heard that citizens didn’t want the enormous, long-term liability of also being landfill owners/operators.
Hats off for a warm welcome
I would like to extend my appreciation and gratitude to the Park City School District and the Park City Education Foundation for hosting the first annual “Welcome To Our Schools” event. You provided an opportunity to gather as a community, to connect new and returning families to their schools, the Park City School District staff and leadership, as well as the many dedicated nonprofit partners who work every day to care for the health and well-being of our community. COVID 19, and all its challenges, have clarified just how very precious our connections are to one another. Thank you Park City School District, Dr. Jill Gildea, Park City Education Foundation, Abby McNulty, Mayor Andy Beerman and all the nonprofit/community leaders who showed up and extended a warm hug of welcome to our community. It takes a village, and Welcome to Our Schools was a village celebration of all that is good and right in our community.
Mary Christa Smith
Communities That Care Summit County executive director
A situation diffused
On a recent Saturday, we were having a garage sale in Park Meadows and a large, bonafide crazy man wandered in. He was agitated and had bizarre vocal ramblings and movements, a total wing nut. I was nervously trying to figure out who to call and what to do when a police car pulled up. Someone else must have had an encounter with him and called it in: thank you. The arrival timing was just perfect. I felt like, “Oh yeah, the cavalry is here,” and exhaled. The scary man was now in his hands. The officer got out of the car and was 100% focused and engaged with him. He was calm, kind and professional in his actions. He calmed him down and within a couple of minutes got him to get into the back seat of the patrol car on his own and drove him off. I could not believe how smoothly and well a potentially bad situation was so quickly diffused. We stood in the driveway and waved bye bye to them. It was amazing to see — most of us try and flee from bad situations and this wonderful police officer stepped into the situation and solved it nicely. Thank you very much, Park City police!
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