Now that school has started nationwide, the American Academy of Pediatrics has come out with some alarming and shocking statistics that we should all be aware of. They report that between Aug. 5 and Sept. 2 there have been 750,000 confirmed COVID cases in children. Last week there were 252,000 new cases. They also report that children’s hospitalizations have risen by 300% in recent weeks. It has also been reported that 13 educators and staff members in Miami/Dade county in Florida have died since the opening of school there due to COVID. This makes me very thankful that the Brainerd School District administration, staff and school board came up with a very solid plan including mandating masks. They did this to protect our children, the staff and their families. I hope and pray that surrounding districts will reevaluate and reconsider doing the same thing. I truly understand the controversy around vaccinations. I don’t agree but I do understand it. This controversy has been and will continue to go on just like other social health controversies. I continue to be amazed at the reluctance of folks fighting to wear a piece of cloth to protect others and do a small sacrifice for the common good. It has been reported to me that there are students in classrooms not properly wearing their masks. We don't allow students to cheat on tests, bully others or bring weapons to school and we should not allow students or staff or visitors to also not follow the rules. Educators should monitor this, send them to the administration as needed and the administration should follow through. We all want to have face-to-face education for our children, so please let’s all do what we can to insure this happens. Be kind and respectful.