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Tomken Road Middle School in Mississauga, Ont., seen here on Tuesday, March 31, 2020.Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

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Should we donate?

Re When Will The WE Scandal Qualify As One? (July 15): I find that recent attacks on Justin Trudeau are attacks on charities and philanthropy. People will likely now think twice about supporting and assisting non-profit organizations that already face serious challenges fundraising for their activities.

Is there any hint that Mr. Trudeau or WE Charity have engaged in, are engaging in or will engage in any impropriety or suspicious activity? So far, the only “evidence” we’ve seen is the routine speaking fees paid to the Prime Minister’s mother and brother.

If this is all it takes to conclude that he has engaged in some sort of corrupt action, then why would anyone want to subject themselves in future to such scrutiny, just for wanting to support legitimate charitable endeavours?

As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for.

Rosco Bell Regina

Should we reopen?

Re Tell Parents How Schools Will Reopen (July 11): We should take on a “wartime, get it done” mentality in order to open all schools in September in a safe and effective way, using all necessary resources, both public and private.

Yes, there are some risks, but it should be doable. Rent empty spaces, hire more teachers, put in place necessary health protocols and let’s get on with it. I believe we can do it if we work together. We can’t – and won’t – if we put ideological or political positions first or take an unduly risk-averse approach.

Please, let’s do it for our children and their parents.

Kate Rounthwaite Toronto

I hear a lot of parents that probably shouldn’t be parents. Let’s not forget that school is not daycare. The primary function for school is to provide a place to learn, from people trained to teach, and this service can be done in many ways. (With three kids of my own, I can say that homeschooling during the pandemic forced me to actually look into what my children were learning and how they learn.)

I do see the value of schools as a social place for children, but are we truly ready for a full-time reopening? Instead of rushing toward September, we should have a real plan. Perhaps look at alternatives such as better online strategies.

I think it’s also time to look to employers to chip in and help make things work.

Sonas Choi Burlington, Ont.

Even if schools will not be hotbeds of infection, many parents still need assurances of what will happen in September with the safety of their children.

In the face of constant change and uncertainty, scenario-planning may be helpful using current science and information. Working with public-health officials, school boards should assist principals with multiple action plans that state clearly how to proceed in different situations.

Principals, teachers and other school staff need our continuing support. They also deserve commendation for the efforts they have already made to help students continue learning at home.

Avis Glaze Tsawwassen, B.C.

Re Teachers Express Worries About Preparing For School In The Fall (July 14): We don’t yet understand everything about COVID-19, but we know enough to be safe, creative and nimble in getting Canadians back to school and work.

A robust plan for reopening schools should be within reach: Use all available space inside and outside school walls to teach students all day, every weekday, in smaller cohorts that meet guidelines set by science. Hire enough superb supply teachers to support those already on the front lines of education, and that should include distance learning where required.

Yes, it will cost more, but this solution respects young learners, parents, their employers and the evidence for wellness. The cost of any other alternative seems incalculable.

Elizabeth Morley Principal emerita, Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School, University of Toronto

I wholly disagree with resuming full-time schooling presently. From my reading, the report from the Hospital for Sick Children, upon which many proponents of a full-time return are relying, was based on cursory data.

It does not note, for instance, that one of its key references examined only a short six-week period under reduced attendance, which makes me doubt the findings. Furthermore, it concentrates on incidence of acute disease, which is thankfully low in kids, but does not consider prospective chronic effects we currently know little about.

With all that we have learned about viruses such as HPV, which can persist from youth and lead to adult cancer, it would be premature to conclude that COVID-19 has little consequence for children. In-school education should only be resumed on a limited basis and only with continued support of distanced education for those who opt out.

John Docherty Port Perry, Ont.

Re Indoor Bars, Parties With Alcohol Pose A Major Risk For COVID-19 (July 15): What on earth is Ontario thinking in opening bars and restaurants, allowing public gatherings up to 100 and other Stage 3 plans – all before schools are scheduled to resume classes? The safety of our children and teachers should be the first priority, not bars and restaurants.

I would urge a delay of Ontario’s Stage 3 reopening until schools are up and running safely.

Cecil Rorabeck OC, MD; London, Ont.

Should we cross?

Re Canada-U.S. Border Will Remain Closed To Non-essential Travel Until Late August, Sources Say (July 14): Rather than continue the policy of extending the border closing each month, perhaps the Prime Minister should declare all non-essential travel banned until the outcome of the U.S. election in November is known.

Paul Rollo Toronto

Re Vast Majority Of Canadians Say The Canada-U.S. Border Should Remain Closed, Poll Finds (July 6): Regarding the 19 per cent of Canadians who think the shared border with our country should be reopened in some fashion or are unsure: Someone please sit them down and have a serious talk. We Americans have generally been good neighbours, and we continue to admire Canadians for, among other qualities, their level-headedness and unfailing common sense. We would like to keep it that way.

Over here, the United States is going through a rough patch: a plague-stricken, economically distressed and politically toxic people under questionable leadership. Although the majority of us mean well, Canadians would probably do well to steer clear – politely, as is Canadian nature – until we get all this sorted out.

We look forward to mingling again once we do.

Richard Schmidle Rochester, N.Y.

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