Dear Editor, When our kids are small, we make them hold our hands in the parking lot. A small act that most parents do without thinking. There’s no rule that says we have to, no law - but we do it anyway, because it offers protection. While they aren’t completely safe, they are safer. Every day, children fill the hallways of the school where I teach. I wouldn’t hold the hands of these kids, teenagers, in the parking lot, but that doesn’t mean that I’m any less dedicated to their protection. Right now COVID-19 ranks one of the highest risks they face. I spend each passing period reminding them to pull their masks above their noses. As children get older, they resist the rules. They complain that they are “too old” to hold your hand in the parking lot, that it’s “embarrassing”. But we still hold their hands a little longer until we know that it's safe. I ask that our schools and parents consider holding their hand anyway until we know that it's safe. COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere any time soon. As people get vaccinated, we will hopefully see a decrease in severe cases, but there is still that risk - a mutation, a weakened immune system, a sudden but severe case. We are not safely on the sidewalk yet, we are still in the parking lot, and it is our job as educators to ensure they are safe until the danger has passed. When Gov. Abbott rescinded the mask order, it didn’t make masks suddenly ineffective. But it did put it on the same level as holding hands in the parking lot. There’s no rule that says we have to, no law - but we should do it anyway, because we know that it offers protection.