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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: What’s up with Florence One Schools’ medical advisory team?

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: What’s up with Florence One Schools’ medical advisory team?

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Several months ago, when the schools were closed, I heard Florence One Schools had a medical advisory team to ensure use of best medical practices. I am a retired pediatrician, and I reached out to the Superintendent: Could I be a part of that team?

He apparently forwarded my name to Nurse Holzbach, who emailed me and seemed pleased I was joining the team. Unfortunately, I could not attend the next meeting, but I asked for a copy of past agendas, minutes and meeting schedule.

I received no agendas or minutes and was not notified of any further meetings. I talked to a Florence One school board member, and they knew nothing about the team, if they were meeting or any recommendations. The board member asked the administration for details and was told he would get the information “soon.”

Months later, I asked again, and the board still did not know if the team was meeting or any recommendations, but the administration did release the names. The team is led by Superintendent Richard O’Malley, who, to my knowledge, has never claimed to practice medicine. There is a hospital administrator and three registered nurses who, to my knowledge, have never claimed to practice medicine.

There are two physicians: an adult lung doctor and a preventive medicine physician, who, to my knowledge, have never claimed training, expertise, board certification or practice in pediatrics, when the vast majority of people on school campuses are children.

I emailed O'Malley again and got no response.

The incidence of COVID-19 is again on the rise (scdhec.gov), and it’s my understanding the Florence One Schools board is scheduled to vote on sending large numbers of children back to school five days a week starting this month, thus exposing even more students, faculty and staff – plus their families, friends and neighbors – to illness, hospitalization, disability and death.

I invite all members of the Florence One Schools medical advisory team and school board to respond in the Morning News: Since COVID-19 has killed 236,000 Americans in the past 251 days, the case load is rising again and many people are contagious days before symptoms, when did concentrating more people into classrooms become a best medical practice?

CHARLES TRANT, MD

Florence

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