Back to school, 2020 style

By: 
Patrick Fisher, The New Prague Times

In an about a week students at New Prague Area Schools will be going back to school, although it will be different from past years. Instead of one big day where school faculty, from teachers to principals, are out greeting young students or where middle school and high school students are trying to find their lockers, it will be two days. While those scenes may play out still there will be changes in the way of masks and social distancing. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the 2020- 2021 school year will be one that is going to be vastly different.

The last time the United States has had a similar situation was the flu pandemic of 1918. Many school districts decided to close, others such as New York or Chicago decided to remain open as it was believed the schools were more sanitary places for students than their housing situations.

Of course things have changed much in the century between the two pandemics. We’ve learned more about diseases and what causes them. In a discussion with a friend, they noted in the early 1900s medical science was still in its infancy. Doctors were just starting to understand germs and microbes and how they transmit from people. It was just in the late 1800s that a few doctors were proposing the cleansing of equipment and having clean environments to operate in and to wear masks when doing surgery. Those pioneering doctors were scorned and ridiculed by those in established medicine. Of course when the doctors with different ideas had more of their patients living, then the establishment took notice.

By this time everyone has realized that 2020 has been unlike past years. With the year more than half over we’re still trying to figure out what to do and what are the better ideas. It’s a year that we will have to continue to roll with the punches.

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