I was just a lad when the first Star Wars films were released and I became a huge fan of the first three movies in the series.
I especially liked the Jedi Mind Trick that was used by Obi-Wan Kenobi and then later by Luke Skywalker to convince the bad guys of something which wasn't true.
I think of the Jedi Mind Trick when listening to some of our politicians talk about COVID-19. To them, this virus is fast disappearing from the landscape and will soon be nothing to worry about ever again.
We should pay no attention to the fact our cases are soaring and a data analysis by Johns Hopkins indicates one American is dying every 107 seconds from coronavirus. We should pay no attention to the fact just this week Europe has enacted more lockdowns in the face of a new COVID surge.
It's also important to emphasize that in America's 24-hour news cycle we're all tired of talking about COVID. We're tired of reading stories. We're tired of hearing news reports about all the people who are dying. We're tired of being asked to wear a mask and modify our lifestyle.
We're tired of all of it. I am tired of it all. For goodness sake, let's just get back to normal.
Unfortunately, that's not going to happen, even after the election, and I think the decision needs to be made by our School Board to retreat from our current schedule where all students attend classes Monday thru Thursday.
Our school system is serving as an incubator for COVID-19 and providing an easy avenue for the virus to be transmitted. Based on school system numbers, there's already 6% of the school population at home in either quarantine or isolation due to COVID exposure. I don't think I'm revealing any big spoiler when I say that number is only going to rise.
It's common for officials to say they want to be proactive instead of reactive. In simple terms, that means they want to address a problem before it gets out of control. Changing our school schedule is the perfect chance to do just that.
Let's look all around us. Coffee County High School has gone to all virtual learning. So has DeKalb County High School. Three high schools in Rutherford County are also learning remotely due to high COVID exposure.
At 6%, we're not that bad yet. It could be noted that we wouldn't close schools and learn remotely if 6% of students had the flu. However, we did close schools twice last school year when the absentee rate approached 10% so we're fast returning to familiar territory.
Yes, students learn better in school. And yes the socialization is vital. But I think at the very least we need to return to the hybrid model of going to school at half capacity in hopes this will keep our cases from exploding.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.