One of the biggest concerns during the Covid-19 pandemic was when or if society would ever return back to normalcy. As the pandemic has continued for over a full calendar year, we are finally starting to see the world come back to pre-pandemic standards. At PMHS, some Covid-19 restrictions have reverted, recently ditching the desk barrier requirement, for example, and having students return to full in-person teaching, (unless they have chosen do full virtual learning).
Although PMHS is still requiring masks, the New York State Department of Health has stated that it is no longer necessary for people to wear masks outdoors, and for the next school year our district, and many school districts in the country, are doing their best to return to the status quo. Throughout the pandemic, everyone just wanted to return to normal, with the pandemic has taking an emotional toll on many. However, with vaccinations being distributed at a rapid pace, COVID infection numbers going down, and COVID deaths plummeting this is a fair time to begin to transition back to the way things were pre-March 2020. Not only in Pelham, but all over the country drastic changes are taking place. Las Vegas opened back up to pre-pandemic standards, the majority of states in the country have gotten rid of the statewide mask mandates. Professional sporting leagues such as the MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL all have fans back in attendance. All 32 NFL teams have announced that next season they will have 100% capacity at their stadiums.
It is important, however, to remember that the “normal” that existed prior to March 2020 led us to become complacent about things like hygiene, health care, and taking care of those who do not have the benefit or privilege of insurance. Prior to March 2020, we didn’t realize how tenuous jobs were; conversely post-March 2020 we began to realize that there are different ways of achieving goals, communicating, and educating. So, while things are slowly going to go back to normal, it will be a new normal. And if we aren’t careful about being complacent, we may find ourselves beneath masks and behind dividers all over again. We cannot allow ourselves to take things for granted.