There have been many recent stories about “pandemic fatigue.” People are tired of social distancing, weary of mask wearing, and yearn to be in the physical presence of friends and family.
We have seen it firsthand… The families who are so disappointed for their kids missing the homecoming dance that they host a big party in their back yard. The cheer team that meets mask-less every Friday at one of the teammate’s houses. The birthday sleepovers. Or farther from here – the Sturgis motorcycle rally and a now infamous wedding party in Maine.
And then we see the impacts: Sports cancelled because the team is quarantined; a kindergarten class back to learning virtually for two weeks due to exposure; entire schools quarantined or moving to all virtual learning because of an outbreak; an educator that has passed away due to coronavirus; hundreds of cases, and some deaths, that grow from what people thought were inconsequential gatherings.
We know educators, parents and students all want the same thing – a safe, in-person learning environment where kids can be academically, emotionally, and socially supported. With COVID-19 cases at record highs in Arizona, everyone associated with schools is growing more and more anxious. School leaders know that children learn better when they’re in a classroom. They understand that parents are stretched to a breaking point with kids at home 24/7. But they also know that when community prevalence of the disease gets too widespread, they can’t safely maintain classroom learning.
And make no mistake – no matter the school mitigation plan, this is a community issue. As children learn, their economic prospects grow. Their life expectancy improves. Their impact on their community becomes one of contribution. And more immediately, their caregivers are freed to contribute to the economy.
There is no doubt that pandemic fatigue will grow, and the impulse to congregate will intensify over the holiday season, but we need to stay vigilant. If we want schools open for in-person learning – and Arizona open for business – we need everyone to do their part. We have an opportunity to do small things that will have massive, long-lasting impacts on our state – for business, for those at risk, and for students.
Find new ways to connect without physically getting together.
Maintain social distance if you are around others.
Together, we can slow the spread of this virus, keep schools physically open, and keep everyone safe.
Expect More Arizona parents and loved ones, including Christine Thompson, Donna Davis, Erin Eccleston, Erin Hart, Jennifer Hernandez, Jaclyn Hoerner, Melissa Lempke, Selena Llamas and Christie Silverstein.