Where was calculator?

This letter is directed to University of Idaho (and Washington State University) leadership.

One does not want to feel enraged towards the university where their freshman son is enrolled.

But that is how I (and many others, given the petition and letters you’ve so casually dismissed) feel about your decision to bring thousands of students back to Moscow-Pullman in the midst of a pandemic. Alas, with an undergrad degree in biology, a master’s in zoology and many years as a science writer, I know the undeniable math and virology of this virus do not square with untried mitigation measures or the innate social behaviors of young humans. My calculator told me the trajectory of this killer plague back in February, if it was allowed out.

Where was your calculator?

My university education means I know full well what you’ve done. It’s not rocket science. As a college student, I was not forced into a choice between an education, and putting myself, beloveds, and an entire community at immediate risk of death and very serious long-term health impacts.

But I’m a parent now. My son is lucky enough to stay well away from your in-person “plan.” But his privilege does not alleviate the risks to everyone else here, including his family: his father, myself, his brother. His closest friends. All of us in this treasured little community that so many people we love call home.

The economics are hard, but resolvable. The alternative isn’t.

I expect you to move to a full-remote option ASAP. And to immediately implement clear and specific strategies to get students back home, or to keep them safely local with the amazing, fully-remote options well underway, thanks to our stellar, beloved university community.

If not, How dare you?

And really, please: Stop blaming students for being human.

Rachel Clark


God is using the crisis

It saddens me the amount of energy being expended arguing over masks but no one locally is calling for prayer and fasting to God concerning a solution to COVID-19. The God who created this amazing universe, including us and the earth we live on, is totally sovereign.

As we continued to reject him, he reduced his protection to allow the COVID-19 crisis to get our attention. We are not sovereign, we already know that we are going to die physically. The first couple received that sentence when they rejected God’s directive. The good news is that God still loves us and wants a personal relationship with us but we have to choose to respond to his offer.

Just as God’s special offer to the Jews of the past was conditioned on their response, God often sent plagues, drought, locust and enemy armies to get their attention and remind them that they were making the wrong choice. God called them to voluntarily choose to love and serve him but they were free to reject God and suffer the consequences.

We hear, “Don’t let a crisis go to waste.” We should not let this crisis go to waste. God allows crises to remind us of our humanity, that we are under a sentence of death because of our sin of rejecting him. God is gracious and will give us eternal life, including peace in the midst of COVID-19, through acceptance of his solution to the sin problem, Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life and died in our place to restore all who believe in him to a loving relationship to God.

God has a solution to COVID-19, on a personal and a national basis; we just have to seriously ask him to graciously intervene, which we have not done.

Larry Kirkland


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