This week, my home state of Missouri was added to the list of “red zone” states because of our COVID metrics. Restrictions were re-implemented in some parts of the state, including here in St. Louis, where cases are climbing at a disturbing rate.
Two weeks ago, local school districts released reopening plans, with the vast majority planning to open on a hybrid schedule while allowing parents to choose full time virtual learning if they do not want their students attending in person. Since then, quite a few districts have changed course and decided to start the school year with full time virtual learning instead. Our county executive and county health board have recommended that all districts follow suit. Some groups of parents are petitioning for more in person instruction, and many teachers are advocating for 100% virtual.
Four positive cases prompted the St. Louis Cardinals to postpone a scheduled double header with the Brewers, and there is a lot of speculation that the MLB will not be finishing the already truncated season.
St. Louis has a mask mandate, but the state of Missouri does not. There is still a lot of resistance to wearing masks.
Dr. Alex Garza, head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, has said that they are watching trends, and need two weeks to see how current mitigation efforts impact the situation. However, he added that, “We are running out of levers to pull, short of a complete shutdown.”
Meanwhile, many businesses and organizations have already started having employees return to work, while others (including my own) have been planning to bring people back within the next few weeks. My sister Amy recently began spending a few days a week in the office. My sister Audrey and her husband will continue to work from home for the foreseeable future, but their school district is planning to reopen for hybrid instruction. As of right now, I am scheduled to be back at my desk full time in a few weeks. One of my friends recently changed jobs so he could continue working from home, and several others have stated that they will resign and live off savings for a while rather than return to work. They’re lucky to have that option. Many do not.
I don’t envy those who have to make decisions in a time where every choice has serious consequences. I have opinions, but I don’t have answers. And, like so many others, I’m in a state of uncertainty, and wishing I knew what was going to happen. Meanwhile, I’m taking all possible precautions and trying to stay centered (and, happily, mostly succeeding…so far).
How are you doing? How are things where you live? Any thoughts on the current state of affairs?