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Masks for schoolchildren
is a backward approach

Those who advocate for mask mandates for our children in schools have everything backward.

It is not the responsibility of our youngest citizens to protect our elderly and at-risk populations. Quite to the contrary, it is incumbent upon our mature vulnerable populations to assess their risks and protect themselves accordingly.

The nearly 608,000 deaths attributed to COVID in the United States to date represent a large number and an enormous amount of heartbreak and trauma. That number also represents less than 2 tenths of 1% of the U.S. population. It does not represent the justification for the lockdowns and mandates imposed on our entire country and the world. It certainly does not justify mask mandates on our least vulnerable population.

Thankfully my three kids were all beyond school when COVID began. I shudder to imagine how the silent abuse the younger ones have needlessly experienced will play out over the next generation.

Craig Bates
San Jose

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Vaccine passport better
than universal masking

We’re on a path to mandating the wearing of masks by all. Why? To protect the unvaccinated among us — the unvaccinated — a certain backward step in the drive to encourage vaccinations. And, a slap in the face to those who have stepped up to a needle or two.

To those who have decided to not vaccinate — that’s your choice. You’ll need to live with whatever consequences come — including the risk of severe health complications or even death. For those vaccinated, it’s true that you can carry COVID and share it with others — but you should not experience any severe symptoms and up to this point, very few vaccinated adults have died.

Encourage vaccination with “no masks” a perk. It’s the unvaccinated that need to step up. Perhaps it’s time to rationally debate a vaccination passport with indemnity for employers. Small businesses, employees and patrons alike could find great comfort in such a program.

William Baron
San Jose

District should revive
home study program

San Jose Unified School District classes start in three weeks. Parents and students face two choices: 100% in-person or 100% remote instruction. The remote option requires students to cut connections to their existing school community.

For 30 years SJUSD maintained a hybrid option. Students could take classes at their school, complete remaining coursework at home guided by a credentialed teacher, and participate in extracurricular activities. This year that program was shut down.

Prior to COVID-induced remote learning, my fifth-grade grandson was operating at a second-grade level. When COVID hit and remote learning started, I found out how far behind he was. I sat with him through all his classes and for 15 months tutored him one-to-one. He’s not ready for 100% classroom instruction, and 100% remote learning with no social connections would be detrimental.

SJUSD, reinstate the Home Study program. Allow students to maintain their social connections and also meet their academic needs.

Polly Ferguson
San Jose

Light rail’s absence
proves it’s superfluous

The VTA has suffered a horrific tragedy. Unfortunately, the VTA has also, by shutting down for months, demonstrated that light rail is an unnecessary and expensive luxury, not vital and not essential.

If PG&E suffered a similar tragedy, they would not simply quit repairing power lines for a few months leaving their customers without power. Of course, electrical service is essential, and PG&E would continue to service its customers.

It is time to rethink the value of light rail, and not spend more money on things like rebuilding buildings and renovations, as well as the taxpayer subsidies to continue having the luxury of light rail.

Robert Howe
San Jose

Islam’s divisions ensure
continued conflict

Anne Kjemtrup’s opinion is absolutely correct in her assessment (“Don’t blame Islam alone for war-torn Afghanistan,” Page A6, July 20). However, the modern Islamic world is so fractured that they are either unwilling or unable or both to form a united front to repel foreign influence.

Until that happens there will never be peace in their world.

Joseph Rizzuto
Los Gatos

Ben & Jerry’s ignore
‘war-won’ land at home

So Ben & Jerry’s has a problem selling into “war-won lands” (“Ben & Jerry’s to stop sales in West Bank and East Jerusalem,” Page C7, July 20) which is their right.

However, I would like to point out that they are hypocrites because they are operating on indigenous Indian lands that were “war-won.” Accordingly, Ben & Jerry’s is no longer welcome at my table, and that’s my right.

Alan Heimlich
San Jose

H.R. 763 more fair
for trade than carbon tax

The Democrat’s proposal for a border carbon tax on imports, reported in Tuesday’s edition (“Dems propose border carbon tax based on countries’ greenhouse gas emissions,” Page A4, July 20), is a step in the right direction to address climate change. However, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, H.R. 763, is a fairer policy from the standpoint of international trade.

If carbon is emitted when making a product or making its components, the product is said to have embedded carbon. Tariffs on imported products with embedded carbon make foreign products more expensive and less competitive with U.S. products. The EICDA levels the playing field. As part of the policy, foreign producers are charged a border adjustment fee for imported products with embedded carbon. U.S. producers are also charged a fee for emitted carbon.

To address climate change, we need the whole world on board and the provisions in the EICDA make cooperation with other countries much more likely.

Rob Hogue
Menlo Park