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Closing schools is the right call

I applaud Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for putting the health and safety of Michigan students, families, teachers and staff first by ending face-to-face instruction for the remainder of the school year. 

Whitmer’s executive order provides direction to local districts as they work to serve the unique needs of every community while our school buildings are closed to students and families. This approach will help Oakland County schools continue to support the academic achievement of our 207,000 students during this challenging time. 

Our collective focus at this time is to discuss and explore critical elements that need to be considered such as distance learning, connectivity and long-term educational issues.

Our dedicated teachers and staff have done a remarkable job connecting with students, parents and guardians to provide learning materials and serve as a resource during these unprecedented times. That has included our teachers providing online lessons, food service workers making sure students are fed, and our custodians and support staff keeping our school buildings safe. Others, on their own time and volition, have created protective masks and shields for the health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. 

Whitmer has provided decisive leadership during an uncertain time.

Our children will succeed. Working together, we will prevail. 

Wanda Cook-Robinson, superintendent, Oakland Schools

Don't ban landscaping

As of right now, landscaping services including mowing, fertilization and pest control are not allowed in Michigan. The opinion of my district legislators does not matter in this instance. This issue was solely decided by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer without legislative approval.

Her opinion on the landscaping industry is reckless and short-sighted.

Michigan took its essential service plan directly from the Department of Homeland Security as many states had done. Under that plan landscape is essential under sanitation and public works but not directly stated.

Much of the nation is rapidly approaching the season where the lawn care industry’s intervention will be necessary to prevent the rapid transmission of other life-threatening illnesses. Pest-borne diseases spread by fleas, ticks and mosquitoes — including Lyme disease and the Zika virus — are on the rise as much of the nation begins to warm up.

Also, as green spaces grow uncontrolled and unmowed, they will become havens for disease-carrying pests.

And everyone staying home will get to watch the decline of their personal outdoor property. 

Sean Fallon, Livonia

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