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Our View: Good choices

9-R made the right choice on masks

School District 9-R board members were subjected to interruptions and shouting in a meeting last week as they voted unanimously to require masks in classrooms when school begins next week.

That kind of behavior by those in opposition to any issue shouldn’t be a part of any local meeting. Board members, who are volunteers, do not deserve it.

It is civil behavior that most often wins out in a conflict.

In the face of COVID-19 and the delta variant, masks, yes, are imperfect. Quality of the mask matters, as does wearing it properly, over the nose. Social distancing should be practiced even when wearing masks.

Most important, masks are a line of defense in keeping schools open for in-person learning. Last school year‘s mostly virtual learning was a struggle for all involved – students, teachers and parents. A few students did just fine, but for some students in challenging circumstances learning was incomplete and frustrating.

When it comes to brushing teeth, using a seat belt or wearing a bicycle helmet, parents can and should prevail on their children to comply. But in those cases, only one’s child is harmed if a parent fails to do their duty.

Defending against the virus in a classroom is not in that category. Viruses are contagious, and only one case puts every child, teacher and staff member at risk – and threatens to at least temporarily end in-person learning.

School District’s 9R’s board was right to take the stand that it did. Parents should have their children wear masks and help protect in-person learning for all.

County fair auction raises more than money

The La Plata County Fair last week was significantly larger that 2020’s spectator-limited event. The pavilion and annex building held livestock, rabbits and chickens, and the exhibit hall displayed crafts, photography and retail booths. Larger commercial offerings were outside, plus the beer garden for adults, of course.

Buildings were not entirely full, but given the challenges of the virus through the winter and early summer when potential fair entries are planned and take shape, participation was good.

However, except for a few older adults, mask use among participants and spectators was nonexistent, and few if any public health reminders or warnings were visible. The low ceiling of the building for chickens and rabbits, also populated by the animals’ young owners, especially seemed as though it could promote transmission of the virus.

A happier note was the bidding that occurred at Saturday evening’s livestock sale.

Prices were average or above average, with the banks and construction firms stepping up as usual.

A rewarding technique at a sale is for the winning bidder to donate the steer, hog or sheep back to be resold.

This year, that technique was used by several buyers to help out two Durango families in need: one whose daughter died of bubonic plague and one whose daughter is hospitalized with a traumatic brain injury suffered in a rodeo accident.

A steer raised by the hospitalized girl sold for $30,110, while a hog that had been raised by the girl who died sold for $7,750. Four watermelons raised $27,000 to be split between the two families. The winning bids were far higher than usually paid at the fair.

Fairs are all about community. The spontaneous fundraising for the two families and the extraordinary generosity of the buyers was a good reminder of just how wonderful our community is and how lucky we are to live here.

We look forward to the fair next year.