I’m fuming. I just read with shock and disbelief that there’s a second case of COVID-19 in Pierce County. The cause of my shock and disbelief stems from the article which said that, “band and choir students were in New Orleans March 9-14, which also was spring break. The person attended the senior high school choir trip, according to the message.”

A school trip March 9-14? COVID was in the news in January and February. There were very public self-isolation and social distancing recommendations, including warnings not to travel, the first week of March. Yet the Ellsworth trip went forward the second week of March?

This display of willful ignorance and willful disregard for people’s health, perhaps their lives, is hard to accept. School administrators, trip organizers and the school board are responsible for the health and safety of those in their care. Parents are responsible for their children. The “children” are senior high students, some maybe “adults,” but in any case, old enough to be thinking for themselves. The responsibility for this ill-advised trip is a shared responsibility.

Thinking “it can’t happen here” or “it won’t happen to me”? There is no rational basis for such ideas, and science says otherwise, it can and will happen. Look around. It is happening, it is happening to people you ostensibly care about, and it is happening to the community around you.

To go forward on a school trip when there’s a burgeoning pandemic with isolation, distancing, and no-travel recommendations, it is just so irresponsible. It goes beyond poor judgment – it is willful disregard and willful ignorance – selfish “me first” disregard and ignorance that puts people in harm’s way.

Get to work to fix this mess. What are you doing to help your friends and neighbors who are now or who will become sick, for those who are quarantined and unable to care for themselves? It’s time for continuing education in science, situational ethics, critical thinking, and public health for the district officials, staff, and students alike, with a healthy dose of public service.

Carol A. Overland

Red Wing