We have been through Legionnaires’ disease, swine flu, severe acute respiratory syndrome, multiple seasonal flus, etc., and now the novel coronavirus. The difference between past epidemics and this one is but one thing:  This is the first time in my 68 years on this planet that the government, at the federal, state and local levels, with great speed, has systematically and with intent dismantled a thriving economy.

Paul Trampert, Centreville

Regarding the March 16 Metro articleEducators prepare remote lessons”: 

Although these are challenging and unprecedented times as schools struggle to deliver engaging materials and parents juggle to balance work and their children’s remote learning, it is also an opportunity for students to learn new skills and habits. As a former teacher and current support specialist for curriculum and accessibility for a nonprofit education organization, I always look for the lessons life can provide beyond the walls of the classroom.

Older students can use this time to take more ownership of their learning and determine how to manage their assignments, set goals of what they need to accomplish, and make daily and weekly plans to accomplish those goals.

This self-directed learning can also give students a sense of empowerment, which can keep them motivated and engaged. After students graduate, they will not be able to rely on the guidance of others to help them navigate obstacles in life. Building and testing these skills now, when they have to guide their own learning, will create a foundation that they can apply throughout life.

These aren’t the most ideal circumstances, but I believe students will rise to the challenge.

Adriene Marshall, Upper Marlboro

I read with interest the considerations underway to make remote voting available for the members of Congress who have contracted the coronavirus [“Rand Paul first senator to test positive for covid-19,” news, March 23]. There is simply no justification for adjusting the voting rules for their unique circumstances while not broadening voting accessibility to every American during the current national emergency. Legislation sponsored by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) would ensure that every eligible American would receive a ballot in the mail in advance of the election. In several states, this is already the norm. We should expand this nationwide, given the pandemic, so that all voters can exercise their right without jeopardizing their health.

I lived in Oregon for decades, so I can attest to the fact that vote-by-mail works, increasing voter participation and decreasing the likelihood of miscast votes.

Isn’t that what we want in a democracy?

Joyce BermanWashington

My father recently moved into a pricey senior independent-living facility in Rockville. The facility is doing a nice job during this unusual and dangerous time. However, the employees who are in charge of cleaning his apartment, making food and taking care of the facilities are working without getting tested for the coronavirus.

These people are working directly with the elderly, our most vulnerable. My father, who was a leader in the business world, is almost 78 years old and has lung, kidney and heart issues. He is diabetic. I do not want him to come in contact with those who may seem fine but who could possibly have the novel coronavirus and not know it. In Italy, 4 out of 5 people who contracted the virus did so through contact with others who showed no signs of the virus.

Many of us remain in isolation for ourselves, our families and the most vulnerable. I commend Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and many other governors for their efforts. However, Mr. Hogan and the others must make an executive order to have all employees of senior homes tested for the coronavirus. If even one employee has the coronavirus, the consequences will be catastrophic, as we saw in Washington state.

My father relies on the employees of his independent living residence, but if one of them has the virus and passes it on, I cannot imagine the horrific consequences. I realize that even with testing, workers can subsequently contract the coronavirus. Still, mandating testing for those who work directly with our senior population would be a significant step.

Elizabeth Lando, Silver Spring