First of all can we all pause and reflect on the fact that it is December? I feel both shocked that it is already December and grateful we almost made it through what has been the weirdest year yet.
I think we can all agree that we never thought we’d see the day where public schools sat free of students for 8 straight months across the nation. Instead of sitting in their wildly uncomfortable plastic chairs, students are sitting on their beds and couches doing digital school.
To those of us fortunate enough to be in school, we live in a weird world between being present with the kids in our classes and talking to a computer screen to the kids who are at home quarantined. With the end of the Thanksgiving holiday and all the festivities that come with it we are expecting a large number of people to be quarantined in the coming weeks which means fewer butts in the seats and more time talking to computer screens.
In my discussions with friends, some of whom work in the medical field, we can all agree, if you are quarantined from a “close contact” 14 days seems too long. If the person in question has no symptoms and a negative test it seems they should be able to return to the “real world” aka school or work sooner than 14 days. Again, something I’m sure we never thought we’d see…making a perfectly healthy person stay home for 14 days because they were near someone who had a virus.
I think we can also agree we never thought we’d be told to not gather for a holiday. The CDC even put out their recommendations for the Thanksgiving holiday and they said we shouldn’t gather with people that don’t live in your house. Some states, like California, issued very specific instructions for Thanksgiving gatherings. One of which was all of them needed to take place outside and if people went inside they needed to be masked. California Governor Gavin Newsom, also recommended the bathroom be sanitized after each use and that no one be served from the same dish. If you didn’t see the list of restrictions for Californian’s, do yourself a favor and go check it out. It looked like fake news…but it wasn’t.
When I listen to the news (which isn’t as often as it used to be) the reports are all the same…the numbers are rising rapidly. More people seem to have grown despondent to the mask wearing and people are experiencing corona virus fatigue so they just simply aren’t as diligent with their masks. In Kansas City the mayor, Quinton Lucas, imposed a 10 pm curfew on restaurants and bars. I heard on the radio today that 5 restaurants were shut down until they could show they’d be compliant with the new ordinance…apparently they had not been after warnings. Callers phoned into the radio station and said a range of things from we are living in a dictatorship and all our civil liberties are being stripped from us to talking about how Covid had caused pain and suffering in their personal life and they wish people took it more seriously. These comments seem to highlight an ever growing issue…there is a wide variety of attitudes towards the restrictions being placed on all of us.
There has been a constant seesaw of debate on whether or not the masks are effective and people are starting to let their kids (and themselves) go out more, do more and see more people. This of course, then results in higher numbers, more quarantines and seems to make this thing linger even longer.
It’s hard to strike a balance in this mess. What is right? What is safe?
For example, I have experienced sports being safe for both my own children and the high school children I am blessed to encounter and coach. When maintaining social distance during water breaks, masking and sanitizing I know, from experience, that it can be done and safely.
So why are sports being cancelled across the nation? The San Francisco 49ers have to play their football games in Arizona because their county has banned sports. I’m guessing that is something we never thought we’d see in our lives.
In Kansas there is a heated debate going on about whether or not parents should be in the stands at sporting events. I think the collective answer across the state is YES. However, the executive board at our state association, KSHSAA, voted to not allow parents to come to any events through January.
As I previously stated, my own indoor volleyball season just wrapped up and we had fans, albeit not very many, but we had them. Initially only parents were allowed to come and then when we realized we could safely social distance in a large gym they upped the number of guests for a dual (only one match) to 4 people per player. Sure, we had to do some whacky stuff throughout the season, like our parents had to leave the gym when we played a tri (two matches) when the other two teams in attendance were playing, in order to keep the number of people in the gym down. But it didn’t matter, parents and kids were willing to do what was necessary, responsibly, to allow their kids the chance to play.
Our parents were very blessed because St. James has the amazing Thunder Broadcast Network and they made all our games viewable to siblings, grandparents and friends who wanted to tune in. Not every school is so lucky.
So I think it’s fair to say that no one would have ever guessed we’d see a middle and high school sports season where parents weren’t allowed to watch their children play. That is beyond bizarre. Stay tuned…that decision may be overturned. Hopefully.
Again, that balance is the real challenge; it used to be the uncertainty. Now I think we all realize we are in this for the long haul, until we have herd immunity or a vaccine that people trust, can afford and is available to the masses. So we know that masks and terms like social distance are here to stay for awhile, but what we don’t know is what the correct balance for this thing actually is; or, in fairness, I should say that I don’t know.
I have always taken Covid seriously, in large part because of my mom, who is high risk and lives with our family. I have always taken it seriously because I know it’s real and dangerous. I have always taken it seriously and taken the steps necessary (and maybe even some unnecessary ones) to keep us all safe.
But…we’ve also cancelled 2 vacations, one of which was their Christmas present last year. We have avoided seeing friends or having anyone at the house. We are now faced with decisions about whether or not our kids should play basketball with or without a mask, or at all. These are high class problem decisions, I realize…but decisions nonetheless. I don’t want to make the wrong decision. No one does.
So the balance is a struggle. I am feeling that struggle right now. I know my friends and family are as well. I think we all need a little grace right now. I think we need to continue to do the best we can and assume others are doing the best they can as well.
Striking a balance is hard no matter what you are doing in life (just think work/life balance), it just seems extra challenging right now as we continue to see things that we never thought we would.
So…grace, we all need grace. I’m going to pray for more of that tonight.