Capital Region

Letters to the Editor Wednesday, Oct. 20


No exemptions to vaccine for religion

The Oct. 13 Gazette editorial (“Public health comes before religious views”) discusses religious exemptions, mentioning a recent statement of the Medical Society of New York.

This controversial subject has been adjudicated for decades.

In the Sept. 16 Gazette, Noah Feldman provided an opinion on religious exemptions in his column (“Freedom of religion means freedom to say no to vaccines.”) After reading his opinion, I searched the term and found an article on the National Institutes of Health Library of Medicine web site from Oct. 2016, (well before COVID-19) on the subject. ( )

It included Catholicism, Orthodox, Protestant, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist and Japanese views. It provides a credible and reasonable explanation of the “religious exception for vaccination or religious excuses for avoiding vaccination.”

As stated, “In this article we would like to explore whether different religious beliefs are, in itself, real exception for vaccination or they are just a parents’ excuse to avoid vaccination.”

This controversy needs to end.

There is no religious exception in these religions, only accidental or purposeful misinterpretations.

Time and lives are being wasted jousting at windmills. I believe public health is in the greater interest of mankind.

I urge everyone to carefully read the article.
Burnt Hills


Absent teachers not being negligent

In The Gazette Oct. 13 article (“Lack of teachers forces early dismissal”), it was reported that a large number of teachers were absent one day, leaving Mont Pleasant Middle School students with insufficient staffing to stay open with very little notice.

This resulted in an unexpected early dismissal, which was disruptive to student education and inconvenient for parents.

The phrase, “17 teachers did not show up for work and there were no substitutes to cover for the teachers,” leaves the reader with the impression that the teachers were negligent and just didn’t show up for work.

Seven teachers had already been granted personal days off on that day, and then 10 teachers called in sick that morning, resulting in the significant shortage. While that is a significant number, faculty and staff in schools are instructed to call in sick if we have any symptoms of covid in order to reduce potential spread.

Additionally, it is important for your readers to know that requests for substitute coverage can go out well in advance, and still not be covered if no substitute accepts the job, often resulting in a last-minute “scramble.”

The shortage of substitute teachers cited in the article is accurate and also a significant part of the challenge.

There are a multitude of challenges schools are facing in order to maintain in-person learning. No one is just not showing up.


Online letters

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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion


Two excellent letters from our Capital Region neighbors today.

Thank you Mr Pirigyi and Ms Gerhard for sharing your fact-based perspectives.

Doug Hampton

I concur with Ornamental. So nice to see factual well researched letters that clear up any misconceptions. In both cases , I learned something new. Well done!


LAURA GERHARD, perhaps a reason for teacher shortages:

My son graduated from Quinnipiac in ’08 with a 4.0 average. Realizing he didn’t want to be an attorney, he decided to become an English teacher. He went through a graduate program at Union, again with a straight A average. ~ He was NY certified to teach English from grades 8 through 12 as well as college. Back then it was close to impossible to get a full time teaching position in NY.

For one year he worked as a substitute in middle and high school making approximately $90 a day when he was called in to work. The next year he worked as “non-tenured” adjunct professor at SCCC making $5,000 per course, and was limited to 2 courses per year. (If your teaching time was less than 60% benefits weren’t mandatory.) NY got around that 60% limit and no benefits by having adjuncts teach at two different colleges, so the next year he taught two courses at SCCC and two courses as Adirondack Community College. Bouncing back and fourth with no assigned classrooms and again no tenure and no benefits. After becoming so frustrated with the situation my son opted to work at my business, and for the past seven years has been running it and doing a great job I might add.

My point being that most teachers are dedicated people that in many cases can be making more money in other professions. NY as well as all other states should recognize that many aspects of the future of America lies in the hands of our dedicated teachers and should act accordingly to do what is necessary to keep qualified people in that profession.

It’s too bad everything is about money, including the education of American children.


Off topic, but certainly topical: the Gnarley Obstructionist Prevaricators are blocking the vote on voting rights. Hmm, don’t want the ‘wrong’ people voting, do they?

The 8 million pound gorilla in the room, as everyone knows, is that the more Americans who vote means less chance the Grand White Party has of winning.
It’s no secret, they’ve admitted it themselves.
So rather than adjust their message to appeal to more Americans (as any normal party would do), they’re taking the liberty of making a new “democracy” where the minority can rule.
The voting rights bills being worked on are NOT about a “power grab”, as they would like us to believe. It’s about providing a national baseline for fair elections. All across the republic. The only states’ freedom it endeavors to take away is the freedom to cheat. Their message is loud and clear, and anti-American.

Doug Hampton

Usually when someone is innocent, they insist on explaining themselves. We are seeing the exact opposite here. It is so clear and obvious that Trump is guilty. Saying that it is a distraction or that it doesn’t matter is quite frankly lame and really is quite embarrassing in my humble opinion. How long have we been a nation? How many Presidential candidates lost in all those years and nothing even close to what happened here ever took place. Gimme a break. We should be 100% mortified with what happened. Nixon was a good President but made 1 big and unforgivable mistake! That’s the way it works and he resigned in disgrace….but this guy is one big disgrace all by himself!


One of the very few truthful things trump ever said was; “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” Doug, his loyalists know but don’t care that “this guy is one big disgrace all by himself!” ~ They want what they want, and they don’t care if it’s at the expense of truth, justice and democracy. Sickening!

Doug Hampton

I sure do remember him saying that and I fully agree that there are a certain percentage of Americans that are fully committed to the Trump Revolution. I get that. My hope all along was to get to even 10% of them….get that 33 to 36 % support to 25%….make them become an official cult and he would eventually go away. Sadly it’s a movement based largely on fear and hate.

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