Earlier this year, the federal government warned about “super spreader” events like athletic games, concerts and other large gatherings.

The biggest super spreader today isn’t any of those events, it’s the reopening of public schools.

I’d hate to be a parent nowadays faced with the choice of exposing a child to COVID or falling behind in classroom instruction.

Since the start of school only a week ago, hundreds of children in Horry County schools have been sent home for having COVID or for being exposed to the virus.

Many football games have been canceled as have many extracurricular activities. Students in some classrooms have been required to quarantine at home.

And, school has just begun.

The Horry County Board of Education has been hamstrung by Gov. Henry McMaster’s edict that face masks cannot be required to attend public school.

This has resulted in a sharp divide among parents.

As Monday’s board of education meeting, emotional pleas came from both sides of the mask controversy.

Proponents of masks contend the facial coverings are the best defense available for children attending schools. Opponents say the face masks are ineffective and a detriment to education.

If I had a child in school, I would want him or her to wear a mask out of an abundance of caution.

The sharp rise in the newest variation of the COVID virus, combined with the start of school, should concern everyone, even if they do not have a child in the school system.

The spread of the virus into the general population is bound to increase when children exposed to it come home from school and mingle with parents, grandparents and friends.

I believe taking a COVID vaccine shot should be a personal choice and I’m concerned that some states and many private companies are now requiring people to be vaccinated.

On the other hand, I have taken the vaccine and I encourage others to be innoculated, too.

I remember being in school and standing in line to get my smallpox shot. I also ate the little sugar cube that innoculated me against the deadly polio virus.

I’m one of those people who thank God that vaccines have been developed to protect the population from the scourges of lethal diseases.

Earlier this week, the Federal Drug Administration approved the Pfizer COVID vaccine, meaning it is no longer considered an experimental therapy.

I hope anyone reading this column who has not already had the COVID vaccine will reconsider their options and join the majority of Americans who have already received it.

Yes, there have been a number of “break through” cases of COVID among the vaccinated. However, the symptoms have generally been less severe.

If you don’t want to get a shot for yourself, how about do it for the people you love? Meanwhile, we pray for the kids and teachers back in school.

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