Piece of Mind: Go Slow, Gov. Abbott

Apr 13, 2020

By John Kanelis

Greg Abbott wants to go slow if he is going to re-open Texas business. The Texas governor plans to let us know what he wants to do later this week, but he has given us a preview of what might be coming up.

What’s to come? That will depend on health matters and the progress the state is making toward “flattening the curve” of infection among Texans, according to the Texas Tribune. As the Tribune reported: "This is not gonna be a rush-the-gates, everybody-is-able-to-suddenly-reopen-all-at-once" situation, Abbott said during a news conference at the Texas Capitol in Austin where he announced $50 million in loans to small businesses suffering under the pandemic. 

So it should go, as Abbott has indicated. My hope is that we can get more Texans tested for the coronavirus. The state, along with so many other states, lags far behind what is essential to determine the relative health of the population. The state needs more testing equipment. Meanwhile, the federal government has been slow to provide it. Donald Trump keeps implying that state leaders should be held responsible for the failure to obtain adequate amounts of test kits to detect the virus among citizens.

As for Texas’s public schools, which are closed at least until May 4, my strong sense is that Abbott ought to declare that school is out for the remainder of the academic year. What is the point of opening schools when the academic year ends May 22? Just shut ‘em down and then hope we can get this infection rate slowed enough to re-open the schools in August for the 2020-21 academic year.

And while we’re at it, let’s come up with a way to tell the smallest and most rambunctious of the little kids how they can maintain appropriate “social distance” with their friends and playmates.

I am among the millions of Texans who (a) is anxious for a return to some semblance of “normal” and (b) doesn’t want to rush toward that return without doing proper due diligence on whether we have whipped this “invisible enemy.”

Go slow, Gov. Abbott.

John Kanelis, former editorial page editor for the Amarillo Globe-News and the Beaumont Enterprise, is also a former blogger for Panhandle PBS in Amarillo. He is now retired, but still writing. Kanelis can be contacted via Twitter @jkanelis, on Facebook, or his blog, Kanelis' blog for KETR, "Piece of Mind," presents his views, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of KETR, its staff, or its members.

Kanelis lives in Princeton with his wife, Kathy.