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School calendars in Pinal County continue to evolve, with more districts extending breaks and making summer shorter. Other Pinal districts have had short summer breaks for years. Some districts started classes recently, and others will start next week. That means COVID-19 is an important topic, but not nearly as much as it was over the past year-plus.

Multiple vaccines have been available to adults in the United States, and many are vaccinated. There is a resurgence of the disease, however, as some people have declined vaccination and a new variant of the coronavirus is much more contagious.

The good news is that the risk of getting the disease — and especially of getting a serious case, is low to those fully vaccinated. Most children always have had low risk, and now those 12 and over are being vaccinated.

Some locations and some states clearly went overboard with lockdowns, hurting their economies and also the well-being of residents. The Arizona Legislature reacted by passing a law, signed by Gov. Doug Ducey, that says universal mask wearing cannot be mandated in schools. However, parents still have the option of sending kids to school with masks. They also should consider vaccinations for those 12 and above, and younger if that becomes available.

A big difference this year is that teachers have been vaccinated or at least have had the opportunity to be. To the extent that many people remain unvaccinated, COVID will spread. Many people will get mild cases and then resume their normal activities. Sadly, others experience severe health problems or die. This isn’t something to take chances with.

Operating schools this year remains a challenge. However, it won’t be as bad as last year, when remote learning was set up overnight with infrastructure lacking in many homes.

The beginning of school is something to celebrate. This may not yet be a post-COVID era, but we have learned to deal with COVID and now must resume normal education and life.

— Donovan Kramer Jr.

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