Thursday, November 26, 2020

COVID-19 Challenges Are Across Many Fronts

More Straight Talk

The COVID-19 Pandemic has had some terrible impacts on communities, businesses and individuals all over our nation and internationally. It seems to also be dividing our nation along the lines of who believes what and from whom. 

As you know, I traveled to New Hampshire last week and joined with my sister and my young brother’s family and friends during his final days. He was preparing to pass from this life because of pancreatic cancer over the last 4 months, a battle I wouldn’t wish on anyone. We were both fortunate enough to be there to spend some valuable time with him. It was almost as if he waited for us to arrive before he would peaceably slip from us to join with my mom and dad.  

It was unfortunate when he was in the hospital at the beginning of his struggle with that terrible disease no one could visit as health care facilities were taking precautions due to the spread of the virus and the devastating effects it was demonstrating. A transfer to another facility would have the same restrictions, and that would be understandable. 

I have several friends who have a parent or parents in nursing homes, and they have been restricted from visiting them. One of them speaks to me frequently and posts on social media about his frustrations regarding the ability to visit with his mom. That social interaction is so important to both he and his mom, as it is with so many other families undergoing similar restrictions. 

I can’t imagine what it must be like to have a child receiving intensive care for other debilitating diseases or injuries and not being able to have that interaction with those they are so close to. I know some of those restrictions might be relaxing where the infections may have been reduced, but am still sympathetic, yet sad. 

When I was called upon to meet with the funeral home people this same subject of restrictions was raised. They did a great job of limiting those inside the facility on the evening of the viewing to only 24. They kept a good count and kept the line flowing so as no one would have to stay outside for too long. They also established a safe distance for the family behind a roped off area. I’m afraid I was outside that ropedoff area most of the time, but with the requisite mask and protection as I greeted so many old family members and friends. 

The same safety provisions were taken at the Greek Orthodox Church regarding social distancing. Once again, the church and the professionals from the funeral home did an outstanding job protecting all who chose to come. I say that because many reached out to me who were being cautious and wanted to apologize for not coming and interacting within a large gathering. have nothing but respect for their choice and told them there was no need for apologizes or be embarrassed regarding that choice. I simply told them I was so grateful to hear from them with their condolences. 

This pandemic has affected us in so many ways and on occasion we forget that many of these precautions being taken are for our good and that of those we may not even know, but could come in contact with.  

While gone during this family emergency, I read about the intention to reopen schools here in Collier County. I can only imagine the angst that this has caused administrators and staff who have had to struggle with that decision. What precautions they should be taking, what choices to give to students and parents and how this will affect the classroom teacher and support staff within the schools? 

For those of us who had hoped for an early resolution to this challenge to the health of our citizensit appears those hopes may have been dashed, at least for the short-term. 

Unfortunately, some of the reactions to the early releases of information as to the precautions that the school district is proposing is being met with some pretty strong remarks across social media. We do need to have an intelligent and reasoned approach as to how to proceed. That should take into account some input from all segments of the equation, including parents, educators and staff. 

How to keep everyone safe and provide a quality education for the children of the district is a decision that needs to have a reasoned discussionfor I believe we all want the same thing, but in this case, the devil is certainly in the details. 

The challenges facing us with COVID-19 span a wide range of issues, many of them extremely complicated. It doesn’t help that the goalposts seem to be being moved on a regular basis. We need good solid information and advice. The politicization of the issue hasn’t helped, and that unfortunate rhetoric and blame game needs to stop. 

We need to concentrate on solutions so that our people can go back to work, small businesses can survive, children and teachers can return to a safe school environment and we can visit our elderly, sick and injured in healthcare facilities.  

Most importantly, we need to finally realize we are all in this together as Americans. 

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