Help city of erie kids return to school

To Whom It May Concern:

My son goes to strong Vincent Middle School in Erie PA. He is in 8th grade. He has not set foot in school since March 2020. He is begging to return and is not doing well via online computer teaching and frankly watching some of these “classes” they learn nothing! I am not the only parent with concerns. My son struggles with online learning due to his ADD and Auditory Processing Disorder diagnosis.  He does not qualify for “special students” status for kids with autism or severe disabilities to go to school daily. His building is NOT occupied by elementary kids and meets all safety issues and COVID-19 guidelines. The School district refuses to open just Strong Vincent Middle School with the Elementary schools on February 1st. (While the other two City of Erie middle schools are allegedly being used for elementary kids due to a fire in October in the basement of a maintenance room that was supposed to be “fixed in two months” per Superintendent Polito.  It has now been 3 and half months and they claim the elementary schools are still not fixed.

I am a licensed mental health therapist for over 10 years, and I am seeing more and more kids that are suffering anxiety, depression, isolation, and suicidal thoughts because the City of Erie will not let them back to school and it is really hurting their mental health. These kids need socialization and structure! The added benefit of opening our schools is that parents can return to work as we try to rebuild this city back up. This city has been so badly hurt by Governor Wolf’s shutdowns and putting COVID-19 patients in nursing homes. It has been established kid’s education outweighs concerns of COVID-19 and difficult to transmit from child to adult.

 Even though the Board of Education is saying “kids up to age 14 need to be in school”, our 6-8th grade kids are not included in reopening. I believe if even one middle school can open, then it should be open along with the February 1st start date. If they claim some teachers have been using that middle school, I am sure they can accommodate them at the Elementary schools that are allegedly not completely repaired by fire damage as it should be done by now or close to it and/or come up with empty spaces to use such as Erie Insurance with all the extra money Biden suddenly is sending them.  Parents do not understand why those students at Strong Vincent school cannot attend in person!

I read the following article earlier: “The Tennessee GOP, disturbed that the Nashville and Memphis public school districts have not returned to in-person classes, has filed a bill that would permit Tennessee’s education commissioner to yank some or all of a school district’s state funding if the district doesn’t offer at least 70 days of in-person K-8 classes by the end of the 2020-2021 school year and the full 180 days for next school year.” Also stating “This has everything to do with our kids and them getting a good education. In order to do that, they need an in-person option. That does not mean every child has to be in every school. That means the option must be there”. Regarding funding: “Then they don’t need as much money for their school system if it’s all virtual, I mean it literally cost less money to do a virtual school system instead of an in-person school system. And so, we’re really allocating our resources to those schools that are stepping up and meeting state policy.”

            Please can you help Republican leaders to also file a bill for this?? EVERY school district in Erie County has been open K-12 since September EXCEPT City of Erie schools. They claimed it was “due to ventilation needing updated/replaced” and “kids (at least elementary) were to return Nov 1, 2020, and middle and high school at the beginning of the new year. This did not happen even though schools met all safety standards and completed the work required.   I do not think it helps that my City is Democrat-run and so is 98% of the school board. I’ve spoken to the school board, sent emails, called and their response is always “we are following CDC and PA Board of Education recommendations”. If that is the case, why are ALL the other school districts open? Maybe because it is recommended only? Even the Biden administration signed to open all schools and give even more funding to each school to ensure they open. What is the point of more funding anyway when these schools have met the guidelines and safety measures to be open since September?! Sounds like City of Erie Schools will get more funding, but it cost so much less money to do virtual classrooms. What will they do with this extra money since they are set up to open? Fact: McDowell high school and middle school (in the same building) are open, and they have over 500 kids per grade! Fact: Erie School Board is putting kids playing sports ahead of their education. Allegedly, Erie High and Collegiate Academy are also suitable to be opened for our high school kids! All these kids are missing out on some of the most important learning experience and life experience needed at their ages! These years are the most impressionable years of their lives.

            Arguments I hear on why they will not open involve “not enough teachers” and “not enough teachers if they are exposed and have to quarantine”. Solution: Those teachers who are not sick and have to quarantine can teach from home to kids in school with a volunteer parent and/or substitute to monitor the classroom. I’m sure college kids in the education field would be willing participants if need, especially Gannon Students since they are already had programs with Strong Vincent last year. Also, contracts with outside agencies and their staff could be of assistance if needed. And utilize this extra money being sent to pay people for help. Even better, members of the school board must be available to monitor classrooms! CDC now says, “Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing and if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring”. They also say “When diagnostic testing resources are sufficient and available, then quarantine can end after Day 7 if a diagnostic specimen tests negative and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring. The specimen may be collected and tested within 48 hours before the time of planned quarantine discontinuation”. CDC also says for suspected, possible, or exposure to Covid-19, “Individuals who had close contact (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more) are to follow recommendations”. “If greater than 6 feet away, they are not considered exposed”.  So, if the teacher stays more than 6 feet from children, does not sound like they need to isolate if someone is exposed or believed to be. Just means teachers are stationary at the back of the room or front with projectors.  Or teachers must always quarantine during the week they teach and be tested weekly just like nurses are at the nursing home. I am sure if the schools asked for more ideas, more would emerge.

            Again, please help get our kids back into school before it is to late so parents can return to their jobs. I am sure if daycares have figured this out, so can the schools.

Please help our kids!


Courtney Oblinski, MA, NCC, LPC

~parent advocating for my son and other kids! 

Charley Reese’s final column -=- long but outstanding read

It’s an old one, but fitting for the times!

This is long, but great FOOD for THOUGHT! Reposted from friends:

Charley Reese’s final column for the Orlando Sentinel… He has been a journalist for 49 years. He is retiring and this is HIS LAST COLUMN.


This is about as clear and easy to understand as it can be. The article below is completely neutral, neither anti-republican or democrat. Charlie Reese, a retired reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, has hit the nail directly on the head, defining clearly who it is that in the final analysis must assume responsibility for the judgments made that impact each one of us every day. It’s a short but good read. Worth the time. Worth remembering!


545 VS 300,000,000 -By Charlie Reese


Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.


Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?


Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?


You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The President does.


You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.


You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.


You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.


You and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.


One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.


I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.


I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator’s responsibility to determine how he votes.


Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.


What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits.. ( The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.)


The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House?(Nancy Pelosi). She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. ) If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to. [The House has passed a budget but the Senate has not approved a budget in over three years. The President’s proposed budgets have gotten almost unanimous rejections in the Senate in that time. ]


It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can’t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.


If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.


If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red.


If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it’s because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan ..


If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.


There are no insoluble government problems.


Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power.


Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation,” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.


Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible. They, and they alone, have the power.


They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses. Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees… We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!


Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.


What you do with this article now that you have read it… is up to you.


This might be funny if it weren’t so true.


Be sure to read all the way to the end:


Tax his land,


Tax his bed,


Tax the table,


At which he’s fed.


Tax his tractor,


Tax his mule,


Teach him taxes


Are the rule.


Tax his work,


Tax his pay,


He works for


peanuts anyway!


Tax his cow,


Tax his goat,


Tax his pants,


Tax his coat.


Tax his ties,


Tax his shirt,


Tax his work,


Tax his dirt.


Tax his tobacco,


Tax his drink,


Tax him if he


Tries to think.


Tax his cigars,


Tax his beers,


If he cries


Tax his tears.


Tax his car,


Tax his gas,


Find other ways


To tax his ass.


Tax all he has


Then let him know


That you won’t be done


Till he has no dough.


When he screams and hollers;


Then tax him some more,


Tax him till


He’s good and sore.


Then tax his coffin,


Tax his grave,


Tax the sod in


Which he’s laid…


Put these words


Upon his tomb,


‘Taxes drove me


to my doom…’


When he’s gone,


Do not relax,


Its time to apply


The inheritance tax.


Accounts Receivable Tax


Building Permit Tax


CDL license Tax


Cigarette Tax


Corporate Income Tax


Dog License Tax


Excise Taxes


Federal Income Tax


Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)


Fishing License Tax


Food License Tax


Fuel Permit Tax


Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)


Gross Receipts Tax


Hunting License Tax


Inheritance Tax


Inventory Tax


IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)


Liquor Tax


Luxury Taxes


Marriage License Tax


Medicare Tax


Personal Property Tax


Property Tax


Real Estate Tax


Service Charge Tax


Social Security Tax


Road Usage Tax


Recreational Vehicle Tax


Sales Tax


School Tax


State Income Tax


State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)


Telephone Federal Excise Tax


Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax


Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes


Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax


Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax


Telephone State and Local Tax


Telephone Usage Charge Tax


Utility Taxes


Vehicle License Registration Tax


Vehicle Sales Tax


Watercraft Registration Tax


Well Permit Tax


Workers Compensation Tax




Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, & our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.


What in the heck happened? Can you spell ‘politicians?’


I hope this goes around THE USA at least 545 times!!! YOU can help it get there!!!