After reading an article in this newspaper (July 26 Observer, “Governor should allow kids to go back to school in person” by N.M. Sen. Craig Brandt, R-Rio Rancho) and the same article in the Albuquerque Journal by a New Mexico senator from the Rio Rancho area, I had to consider responding to what was said and to what was not said.

The senator was a proponent of get our students back to school in person. Many of us agree, but remember we are dealing with a pandemic virus.

Parents, teachers, school staff, school bus transportation, say yes, it would be nice, but let us not forget that COVID-19 has already killed over 145,000 in the U.S. and over 650,000 around the world.

As we go forward in the coming school year, this subject has been addressed by many people since we had to close the schools as of March 13. The governor, the Department of Public Education, the teachers unions and all the school districts throughout New Mexico started working diligently to find the best way to educate our students safely during this deadly pandemic.

Surveys were sent out to parents for their very important input about the education of their children during this pandemic virus. We received information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. We received information from other states of the nation and other countries around the world on how to go forward educating our students safely during a pandemic.

You as parents will always have the last say as to what is the best educational option for your children.

What I found missing in the article by the senator is the safety element for not only students but also all others in the community, especially all of the educators of our children. Yes, it was pointed out that the American Academy of Pediatrics has a report recommending guidelines for schools to reopen.

Remember the words “recommending guidelines.” I believe that all the school districts in New Mexico are reviewing any and all guidelines from many sources on how to do this in the safest way possible.

Parents do have options available as to how they want to move forward in knowing that each and every school district will make school safety their No. 1 priority.

I would like all parents to fully understand that your decision belongs to you. Take on the responsibility to educate yourself about this pandemic and how to protect yourself, your children, along with friends and relatives.

Once you determine what is right for your family on this important subject, consider getting involved and expressing your own thoughts and ideas.

Parent, please do not allow any person in politics, or other person or organization, to push you in a position that you believe is not correct for you and your family. Get as much information as you can, because this virus will continue for some time until an effective vaccine is available.

Do not let your children, yourself and family become victims of this deadly virus.

Thomas E. Carter

Rio Rancho