Wilton letter: Healy is wrong about football safety

To the Editors:

Regarding “Healy: Football families should make their own decisions,” Ms. Healy is absolutely wrong. She quarrels with the Connecticut Department of Public Health, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, and even the Connecticut Huskies football team.

Football families are rightly concerned about losing a season. A strong senior season can help with college admissions, and sometimes a scholarship to play at the collegiate level. And the social and emotional health of players and the broader football community must be considered.

But the ongoing health crisis requires difficult decisions. We should be equally concerned for students with a thousand other passions, like band, theater, choir, debate, improv, and model UN. Many activities have been canceled or modified, and those students are also losing important parts of their high school experience. But they rarely get the same attention as football.

Our primary focus needs to be on opening schools for in-person learning, and keeping them open. Live instruction is so much better than virtual, including for parents whose work and home lives depend on it. Children with health concerns or who have special educational needs especially need our schools to be safe and available. And our business owners need us to make wise decisions so that a resurgence does not once again devastate them.

Today our schools are nervously monitoring infection levels, and contact sports at the high school level is a very high a risk. Ironically, one Meriden player at a football rally last week was infected and many are now quarantining for two weeks. Like it or not, and nobody does, keeping our schools open and our state safe requires significant compromise and sacrifice. Covid does not respect team or town boundaries, so an effective response must be coordinated at a state level.

Healy says she wants to “actually make the difficult decisions that other legislators cannot or will not make.” But on high school football she ducks the difficult decision, and she does so at the expense of our schools and our broader town communities.

As a physician, I bring my own perspectives to Covid and respect the public health expertise of those in our state who are wrestling to find the right balances. Risk is on a scale. There are often no bright cutoffs and decisions are often difficult.

Healy’s politically tinged stridency is not warranted, especially since everyone presumably wants the same thing — to get back to normal as soon as possible. I am certain that as a CPA, Ms. Healy relies on the state and other experts to dictate what is correct for her profession and the people she serves. I am almost certain that she would not want outside people with little or no familiarity with her profession to profess what is the correct way to prepare taxes or maintain fiduciary responsibilities for organizations based on their own personal view points rather than accepted standards.

Russell D. Robbins, M.D.