Letters, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Aug. 8 letters to the editor

Community needs to give input on ARPA

Morgantown and Monongalia County will be the recipients of millions of federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act designated to help our community respond to the health, economic and social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This money will arrive directly from the federal government and our local officials will oversee distribution of the funds from now until December 2024. According to the U.S. Treasury, the City of Morgantown is allotted $11.2 million, Monongalia County $20.5 million and Monongalia County Schools $18.1 million.

As part of the guidance offered by the U.S. Treasury, localities receiving funds are encouraged to “engage their constituents and communities in developing plans to use these payments, given the scale of funding and its potential to catalyze broader recovery and rebuilding.” I am glad to note that both our city and our board of education have heeded this advice and are offering a public input process. The city has created an online survey at bit.ly/COMARPA and will hold a public meeting  Aug. 18. Monongalia County Schools have published a proposal for use of funds at https://boe.mono.k12.wv.us/News/904#sthash.FalLeVCy.kDwe6ya2.dpbs and are requesting feedback via email.

In contrast, the Monongalia County Commission has been largely silent on the matter. It certainly can’t be because it isn’t aware that we want public input. At a minimum it has received multiple emails and letters from community members and organizations, and a speaker at the July 28 county commission meeting made an in-person request for such a process, yet there has been no response. Twenty million dollars has the potential to make a lasting impact on our community. Our commissioners should be taking this time to listen to local residents about our needs and ideas before planning and spending these funds.

Rebekah Aranda

Mon BOE must start the year with mask mandate

I am imploring Dr. Campbell and the Monongalia County Board of Education to start the school year with a mask mandate.

Not one elementary school student is eligible for a vaccine, nor are a good group of students who are entering the sixth grade. Marion County recently announced a mask mandate in elementary schools and virtual options for sixth graders who are vaccine-ineligible.

We, too, need to be leaders in protecting our children and their health. Our children do not have the capability or maturity to be responsible for mask-wearing. At home, we have told our children repeatedly that masks are the easiest way we can stop the spread of COVID. It’s even safer when we keep our distance and practice healthy hand-washing. But, my incoming kindergartener needs to be reminded each time she uses the bathroom to wash her hands.

Why are we placing this burden on our children to be responsible for their own masking because adults want to avoid the political fallout associated with decision-making?

We have asked a lot of our children over the past year, but this is too much. We must start the school year with a mask mandate that can then be relaxed after our elementary-aged children have had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated. Only then should we be talking about relaxing a school-wide mask mandate. The parents and voters of Mon County depend upon Dr. Campbell and the BOE to make the right decision for our community.

Let’s not throw away another year of learning due to repeated infections and the fallout of long COVID. We also do not need to set our kids up for issues with peer pressure and bullying if they choose to wear masks. Let’s do the right thing for our children rather than worrying about public opinion.

Christina Fattore Morgan

Open letter to the state superintendent 

Mr. Burch,

You were hired to be the leader of education in the West Virginia school systems. I will remind you that your position handles the oversight of every child of every age who walks through the doors of our schools. Leaving the “mask mandate” up to local authorities to handle is irresponsible and frankly, lazy. You have a 24-hour-per-day job, and it’s your responsibility to ensure that our children are cared for, to the best of your organization’s abilities.

Nobody likes wearing masks when attending school, church, shopping, dining and so on. But I had a dear friend die of this disease when it was first getting started. And I’ve known many who have contracted the disease and all the misery that comes with it.

I urge you, and your staff, to come up with a better solution than to just leave it up to local authorities. They are busy getting ready to start the new school year with the same problem they had last year. Make a decision and take the blame or the praise that comes with it.

It’s a thankless job, believe me, I know. But it is your job, sir, and I expect you to see this through.

Anthony Derry

Thank you to the  Good Samaritans for helping

On Friday, July 30, 2021, about 6 p.m., our daughter, Jessica, was the victim of a hit-and-run accident on I-68 East at mile marker 22, just before the Bruceton exit.

We would like to extend a heart-felt thank you to all the Good Samaritans who came to her aid. We especially want to thank Miss “Yvonne” of Bruceton. She was kind enough to comfort and give Jess mental support during that horrendous time. As parents, we can’t thank her enough for being there when we couldn’t. Thank God, Jess sustained only a minor injury.

Thank you to those folks who provided statements and/or information about the hit-and-run driver. The West Virginia State Police are investigating the accident, thanks to your information and photos of the driver, the truck he was driving, and the trailer and side-by-side he was hauling. Thank you to Officer Morris of the West Virginia State Police for responding so quickly.

You all have restored our faith in mankind. We as a family are blessed that you angels were there. God bless you!

Don and Brenda Bonnett