Strange days indeed
With the cancellation of their next two varsity football games announced this morning, the New Boston Lions become the first local football program to be impacted by COVID-19. Not the first school by any means, as every school in the area has been dealing with the virus since before school even started.
James Bowie was the first with a major impact. Their volleyball program was shut down for a time. Other schools have dealt with virus positive athletes, coaches, students and staff.
At least one local school district had as many as one-fifth of their faculty out due to the virus. The resurgence of cases across the county has to be directly related to the return of students to school campuses. North Lamar, who played locally recently, today cancelled football and volleyball games.
Data shows that there has been an uptick in cases at universities across the country. Places like the University of Texas reported 449 cases a few days ago, and Texas Tech reported 851. A sampling of 29 universities across the country resulted in a total of 25,941 cases. The upside to those numbers is the cases have proven to be mild, with no hospitalizations needed out of those 25,000 plus cases.
With all of that said, are the schools at fault? Do we place blame on the school districts and universities for having school at all? Should we have gone to total virtual learning. Should we be having school with no sports, no band, and no extra-curricular activities at all this school year?
My mind wants to lean to a yes on those questions, but I believe one thing that keeps me from going there.
I believe we need some sense of normalcy.
I know all that school districts have done to combat this virus. I know what our teachers are having to deal with on a daily basis, because I have asked. One teacher told me this week, “my personal time has become my work time.” Our teachers and school staffs are doing everything humanly possible to combat the virus, and still educate their students. School districts have gone to great time and expense to battle COVID-19.
But here is the rub for me.
Teachers, school districts, coaches and whoever else may be involved can do everything in their power to stop their students from getting a virus, but their safeguards and controls are lost as soon as the student leaves the campus. You can limit the number of fans in a stadium or gymnasium, but you cannot limit what the kids, and parents, do when the game is over.
I know for a fact that there were parties all over the place after the big game last week in DeKalb. You can’t mandate people social distancing, wearing masks, and adhering to common sense guidelines when they are on their own time.
Now, let me say this.
You can say all you want about wearing a mask. You can question the validity of the virus itself and you can scoff at any of the thousands of opinions on whether masks are important. You can argue politics til you are blue in the face.
The fact is, if you don’t want to wear a mask, wash your hands, or social distance, don’t be surprised when things like football games get cancelled. Another fact is, too many took this crap lightly. Myself included. It took people that I care about getting sick, and a fear for my children and grandchildren to make me see. And ya, I don’t like wearing a mask. But instead of flaunting my dislike and ignoring the facts, I just don’t go anywhere. If it is a place that necessitates the wearing of a mask, I just don’t go. That’s why we have things like Walmart grocery pickup and call-in orders at local eateries.
As a community, we needed football, volleyball and band. It was a return to something normal. Seeing bands out on the practice field gave me hope. Watching games being played online, gave me hope. And, I believe in my gut that we were reaching a point where we all needed some kind of hope that normalcy would return. Not the “new normal” but normal.
I could be wrong. There are many that will likely say I am wrong. But that is why this is called an opinion piece, it is my opinion, and I have a medium for sharing it.
Don’t blame our schools. They are doing everything they can.
Wear your masks, social distance, wash your hands, and don’t feed into the multitude of opinions that want to make this time in our lives the end of the world. As they say, this too shall pass.
And it will, if we all do our part.