Here we go again. As we start another school year, I am reading about various school board meetings in which the mask mandate is being debated. Parents talk about kids’ freedoms versus kids’ safety. The Illinois Education Association, the state teachers’ union, suggested following CDC guidelines. Since most parents are not doctors or disease experts, wouldn’t that be the best guideline?

Illinois has thousands of units of local government, including over 850 separate school districts. We have 50 states, each with its own conglomeration of counties and school districts. We have one CDC. With each locality making its own rules, no wonder people are confused and COVID cases are rising. We could beat this virus if only people would follow the one CDC’s advice

Getting the vaccine is not a political issue. Wearing a mask does not make one less free. Both have been proven effective at beating COVID. The crowd at a recent Conservative PAC convention cheered wildly when it was announced that President Joe Biden came up short of his 70 percent vaccination goal.

What a horrible moment in our nation’s history. Was that announcement also followed by announcing the states that had their COVID numbers doubling and tripling in recent weeks? I doubt it. I am proud to live in a municipality in which over 90 percent of the residents have had at least one dose of the vaccine.

Wearing masks indoors and getting vaccinated is not a personal choice. It is about beating this disease. Both should be mandatory in order for people to go into a business, school, restaurant or any public indoor place.

Kids are mandated to have all vaccinations before they attend school. Seat belts, driver’s licenses, speed limits, emissions tests, car insurance are all mandatory. How are the tools needed for beating COVID making us any less free? Ask people who are in the COVID ward of the local hospital and those who work there how free they feel?