Editor: By now, we are all aware of how a Leesburg man, one Henry Svennow [Letters, March 12] received county attention for snarking at a frustrated father (calling him Screaming Man) who took the Loudoun County School Board to task. But Svennow only serves to demonstrate the incoherence of his own arguments.
His “summary” of the father’s testimony consists of nine points that are either dismissive, miss the point, or wrong. For instance, Svennow’s Point 1 dismisses the father’s objections without responding to why the father (and many other parents and teachers as well) are so frustrated with the board and administration, Far easier to dismiss it as ‘insult’. Point 2 is more of the same.
Here’s how Svennow set up points 3 through 5:
“Third and fourth: COVID is not really dangerous. Fifth: COVID is so dangerous that people could die while working outside from contact with trash.”
He then attempts to show that the father is contradicting himself here. WhatSvennoweither can’t or won’t see is that the father was being sarcastic. Watching the testimony, it was clear that the father was pointing out the discrepancy between the demand that schools be shut down because COVID, while garbage workers continue as usual. His point wasn’t that garbage workers were really at risk, rather neither are the teachers. But this went right bySvennow.
Svennowevidentlybelieves that opening the schools is more risky than picking up trash. But according to the CDC, the risks are low. Here are a couple of excerpts:
“Although children can be infected with SARS-CoV-2, can get sick from COVID-19, and can spread the virus to others, less than 10% of COVID-19 cases in the United States have been among children and adolescents aged 5–17 years”
“Detection of cases in schools does not necessarily mean that transmission occurred in schools. The majority of cases that are acquired in the community and are brought into a school setting result in limited spread inside schools, if comprehensive prevention strategies are in place.”
In other words, with proper precautions, in-school learning is no more risky than picking up trash, contraSvennow.
Svennow’s dismisses the father’s final points as follows:
“Sixth through ninth: safely educating students in a pandemic is easy. I could do it. People out there could do it. Anyone could do it.”
As a matter of fact, private schools all over the state have managed to do exactly this. For instance, my son is a private school teacher here is Loudoun County. His school hit the ground running a year ago with Zoom sessions right from the start of the pandemic and completed the school year successfully. Last fall, they started in-school classes with standard precautions while continuing Zoom sessions for those who want it. To date no one–students, teachers, or administrators–has contracted COVID at school. Many other private schools have been similarly successful It can be done, Mr.Svennow.
Jon Garber, Leesburg