Letters to the editor
Fear of expertise, deferring authority is killing us
The relevant authority for pandemic response has deferred its authority to inappropriately qualified politicians. An example: According to the superintendent of the Canby School District, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Oregon Department of Education empowered local decision-making regarding safety protocols and mitigation strategies for COVID-19 in schools for this fall.
Unfortunately, the superintendent admits collaboration with district staff, board members, union officials and review of a parent survey for its drafting. So, an agency of the people, by the people, and for the people with access to relevant expertise abdicated its responsibility to the people.
Through this blatantly admitted political process, the safety protocols and mitigation strategies that were to be developed locally gave way to an inadequate "Operational Framework" that couldn't even be titled what it was supposed to be.
As a nurse, I can recognize that the district's plan lacks key elements of public health in the setting of a pandemic. It has a flawed definition of exposure reliant on testing that is lacking, no way to identify disease, an absence of tracing and notification, and inadequate breaks in chains of transmission to be remotely effective.
I am by no means an expert in epidemiology, so would not presume to make specific recommendations. I ask the same of the district and request they consult experts with epidemiological and public health experience to edit, supplement or replace the plan they released to parents.
This society has become too weak and fearful of authority of relevant responsibility. Not being able to tolerate living with rules that benefit everyone does not make one more free, it makes one an anarchist.
We have paid taxes to our government for development of an agency with the appropriate expertise and authority to direct behavior in a pandemic.
Those who would rather a local political process decide how to respond to a pandemic than have to follow a few simple rules from OHA do not only embrace anarchy, they must also appreciate wasting tax dollars.
It is our own fear of well-meaning authority and expertise that has killed us, is killing us, and will kill us more.
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