After taking the Lamar school district to task two weeks ago in this column for not properly informing the public about campus COVID-19 cases, it was good to see the district unveil an online dashboard this week that tracks the virus district wide.

Being transparent is the district’s obligation to the public even though LCISD was late to the party more than three weeks after school started.

The district hadn’t even been sharing its COVID-19 information with Fort Bend County public health authorities, which I called stunningly irresponsible.

We hope the administrators will now be vigilant in keeping the dashboard updated — whether the data is good, bad or indifferent.

The dashboard can be accessed at https://www.lcisd.org. It lists active cases by campus for students and staff members.

As of Thursday afternoon, the dashboard listed 19 active cases of 13 students and 7 teachers.

This information helps parents and students make informed decisions. That’s why only 45 percent of students have opted to attend classes in-person, while the rest are taking classes online.

Perhaps this number will steadily increase as more parents get comfortable with how LCISD manages COVID-19 and makes sure students and staff don’t return to campus until they test negative.

Nineteen cases with some 15,000 students (45 percent) now attending in-person classes seems like a relatively small number. Students have an extremely low risk if they’re infected with COVID-19, but the risk remains they could give it to an older person or someone whose vulnerable with health conditions.

But the problem remains that LCISD’s public and media relations efforts stink. District administrators could’ve told the public and media they were working on the dashboard, but didn’t make any public announcement until Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

It’s not hard to call newspapers and television and radio stations (and return their calls), and post information online. That’s how to inform the public and keep district patrons in the loop.

‘MOSTLY PEACEFUL PROTESTS’: The Insurance Information Institute of America estimated this week that there’s been $1 billion-$2 billion in damage to American cities from rioting, looting and arson in the wake of the George Floyd protests.

Yet, we’ve had many network and cable television stations cling to the liberal fantasy that these were “mostly peaceful protests.”

CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell was the latest to use the “mostly peaceful protest” phrase in reporting the damage estimate, but CBS and ABC didn’t even report on the story.

How can protests be mostly peaceful while buildings are being burned and looted, and in some tragic cases, people being killed.

At least CBS did the story, even though Walter Cronkite surely wouldn’t have confused good journalism with an oxymoron such as “mostly peaceful protests.”

This is the reason so many people have lost faith in the media’s credibility. It’s also an example of gaslighting, a term that means trying to manipulate and deceive someone into thinking something different actually happened than the truth. You could call it a more sophisticated version of lying.

It reminds me of the phrase, “Who are you gonna believe? Me, or your lying eyes?”

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