Former Panther Greg Olsen advocates for schools opening in social media post to City of Charlotte, state leaders

Former Panther Greg Olsen advocates for schools opening in social media post to City of Charlotte, state leaders
(Source: Mike McCarn)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Former Carolina Panthers star Greg Olsen is advocating for students to return to class, including in North Carolina, where he spent nine seasons playing football.

Olsen, who recently finished his 14th season in the NFL, went to social media to plead for the City of Charlotte government and Gov. Roy Cooper to open up the schools.

“Parents need to start being their children’s best advocate,” Olsen said on Twitter. “These public officials are doing damage to our kids they may never bounce back from. @CLTgov, @NC_Governor. Schools need to be open. Period.”

Olsen went on to say that remote learning is putting children further behind in their education.

“Our community leaders need to wake up and make decisions that are in the best interest of ALL children,” Olsen added. “We are leaving thousands of children behind who need to be in school.”

Olsen responded to questions and comments from the public on Twitter, defending his stance.

He said families need to make that decision on schools based on their own needs.

“Families who don’t feel it’s worth it have every right to homeschool,” Olsen said. “Let people make decisions based on their own needs and situations. Countless children in our county/country rely on school for way more than just ‘school.’ Who looks out for them?”

Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris, on Tuesday, issued a directive, asking residents to stay home as much as possible for the next three weeks as the fight continues against COVID-19.

Harris also suggested that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools remain virtual for at least three weeks. Students are expected to return to the classroom on Monday, Jan. 19.

However, after taking Harris’s directive into consideration, the school vote is expected to vote Thursday morning on whether to send children back to school next week or hold off a little longer.

The school board discussed the topic at Tuesday’s school board meeting and listened to concerns from more than 70 parents and faculty.

“Covid is not a hoax,” Olsen Tweeted. “It’s real and all who suggest otherwise are doing damage to our country. But the data continues to support the effect school closures have on a child’s development. Let people choose what’s in their family’s best interest. This spring I was one of those parents. But more information has come out to show schools should/can be open.”

Olsen then added that the government has “failed all of us” in the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our local/state/ and especially federal government leaders have failed all of us in their handling of the pandemic,” Olsen said. “We’ve been lied to and had the goalposts moved repeatedly, and as a result, thousands of lives lost. So why do we continue to allow them to run our lives?”

Olsen, a tight end, played nine seasons with the Carolina Panthers. He caught 524 passes for 6,463 yards and 39 touchdowns.

He played this season with the Seattle Seahawks.

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