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BOBBY LOPEZ — Parents, others needed in fight against COVID

Last Saturday, my family and I received the terrible news that our Aunt Janie had passed away. She had been in the ICU since Dec. 24 battling the COVID virus.

I remember Aunt Janie as always smiling and having a positive attitude. She lived life to the fullest, savoring every moment. My Aunt Janie lived in Washington state and would often come down to Texas, driving in her car.

Once she made it to Texas, she would begin her string of visits to family members in the area. Starting in San Antonio, through Hondo and finally to my hometown of Uvalde, Aunt Janie would visit all the relatives and extended family members.

Aunt Janie had a sense of humor. Even while battling COVID in the hospital, her daughter would relay to us that Aunt Janie was hanging in there and looking forward to a slice of cheesecake soon. Though not able to see her directly, all of us in San Antonio, Hondo and Uvalde were kept informed of Aunt Janie’s hospital updates by way of her daughter.

The COVID virus is extremely serious, and we should all treat it as such. It seems that people understand that, but their actions indicate otherwise. As a school administrator, I am dealing with COVID cases on a daily basis.

The cases that really trouble me are the ones where it is evident that a family member has gathered with a non-family member and precautions have become lax, leading to spread of the disease.

Somehow, I feel the younger crowd is not paying close attention to the fact that while some may have minor symptoms and recover easily, they can still spread this devious virus to their elderly family members, causing suffering and death to those whose time is ultimately cut short. Aunt Janie was a mother, grandmother and aunt to all of us and expected to live a longer and happier life.

One of the last emails we received was that Aunt Janie had pulled off her oxygen mask and just stared at the nurse. The nurse quickly placed it back on Aunt Janie, which was a struggle because Aunt Janie did not want it.

The nurse then said to Aunt Janie, “You know what will happen without this oxygen!” Aunt Janie responded by nodding up and down that she was ready to go.

All our district staff are essential employees of the state. It is our job to teach your children. We conduct our program with the utmost responsibility to your child’s safety and care, but you must assist us.

We take your children’s temperature when they first arrive. We ensure that your children wear a mask, and we walk them to the classroom. Additionally, we have desk shields on all student desks. Teachers also have face masks, face shields and desk shields. We clean and sanitize all classrooms nightly. We are fortunate to be able to offer COVID testing to all employees and students.

We know, according to the CDC, that schools are not the major drivers of COVID transmission. One needs to ensure that everything possible is done to keep our students from coming into contact and gathering with others outside of school.

Easier said than done, I know.

Aunt Janie’s trips stopped in March 2020 when the pandemic hit and permanently ended last Saturday.

We all need to do our part to stop this virus.

Dr. Bobby Lopez, CEO, has served as superintendent of the Bob Hope School since 2010. Contact him at bobby.lopez@bobhopeschool.org or 409-983-3244.