People with children in their lives know how effectively school environments spread infection. So, it is difficult to understand why — when we are taking common sense measures to postpone large gatherings of people — we don’t include schools. Simply observing how COVID-19 has spread elsewhere around the world and in the United States, it seems that we have a great opportunity right now to help “flatten the curve,” by taking this one reasonable step now.

Canceling a field trip or a pep rally creates the illusion of a measured response. And perhaps closing schools will appear panicky. But making irrational decisions based on appearances is not leadership.

It is highly likely that Maine will have to close its schools, anyway, and it will absolutely be a hardship. It will be a hardship no matter when we do it. Waiting until the horse is out of the barn will intensify that hardship by allowing the virus to flourish and spread in these densely packed social environments.

Let’s take this rational step now. Curbing the spread of this disease will help ensure that our hospitals can treat those who will most need attention.

Ilse Thompson, Auburn

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