Dear Dr. Wallace:

Now that COVID-19 has ruined my junior year in high school, I’m seriously considering looking for a job and forgoing the rest of my senior year. I never really thought much about college anyway, so to me, it does not seem like a big deal to pass on getting a high school degree. What difference will it make? My classmates and I don’t really learn much via remote learning, and we have not been in a classroom since early spring.

It’s funny that we students all know that school these days is a joke, but nobody really talks much about how useless remote learning is. It’s obvious that everyone is distracted, even our teachers, and there’s no way to easily interact like we used to during lessons. So, I figure I’d be better off working than sitting in front of a computer screen in sweatpants watching what often looks like a video game.

I know you’re big on education and you’ll likely disagree with me, but I promise you that you have no clue how useless school is these days. The pandemic has caused an epidemic of uselessness when it comes to a high school education.

— Beyond Fed Up, via email

Dear Beyond Fed Up: I do agree that everyone is entitled to their opinion when it comes to education, and these indeed are trying times for students and teachers alike.

If you do elect to drop out of high school, perhaps an alternative for you could be a vocational school. Do you have a certain type of job in mind that you’d like to do, or a field that you have a particular interest in?

My concern for you would be that there may be future benefits for you by having a high school diploma, or at least passing the GED equivalency exam as an alternative.

It’s a well-known fact that those individuals who do not complete high school but do pass a GED exam earn more over the course of their lifetimes than those who drop out of high school and do not achieve a general equivalency diploma. Therefore, I’d encourage you to study for this most valuable accreditation and then pursue your career path after you’ve successfully achieved your GED.

Dear Dr Wallace: I’m pleased and relieved to tell you that I just recently tested HIV negative, and I’m very thankful that I know a lot of useful information about the potential dangers I face with my current lifestyle. Without getting into too many details, I can state that condoms are absolutely what have prevented me from becoming HIV-positive.

It’s important for anyone who is an IV drug user or sexually active to be tested. If they find out they have a virus that causes AIDS, they should get medical attention immediately. This will allow them more time to stay healthy, which will allow them to live a normal life until a cure is found.

Your readers can educate themselves much more by going to www.hiv.gov just as I did several months ago, when I first had questions and concerns.

— Careful and Educated,

via email

Dear Careful And Educated: You are correct in that there is no cure for HIV, although there is treatment that can control the virus. Taking every precaution is extremely important when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases.

Continue to take your health and well-being seriously, and do your utmost to protect others as well.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention that abstinence is the safest possible policy when it comes to this topic.

Write to Dr. Wallace at rwallace@galesburg.net.

More from this section

The naysayers said the L Street drainage and paving project could not be completed within one year, when the work began in early April 2019.

McIntosh County investigators are looking for a 25-year-old man in the early Friday morning shooting deaths of his parents in their Jones community home, Col. Danny Lowe of the McIntosh County Sheriff’s Office said.