As Dorothy said in the “merry old land of OZ,” which was as different from Kansas as it could be, she was in a new world. We are in that new world too. School and Testing and Vaccines, OH MY.
I saw a cartoon recently with Alice in Wonderland sitting with Dorothy. In talking about the crazy worlds they were living in, Alice says to Dorothy, “I’ve had tea with a Mad Hatter, escaped The Queen of Hearts, and fell down a Rabbit Hole” Dorothy replies, “Yeah, well I stole the shoes off of a dead woman that I killed with my house.” They look at each other with the “is this really happening” expression. We’ve all given and received this look in the last six months…that have felt like a decade.
In-person? Hybrid? Remote? Homeschool?
With over one hundred colleges and universities in the Metro Boston area and over two hundred and fifty in New England, we are an epicenter of the “in-person or remote” debate.
Many large and small schools have already had to rethink their original plans as the actions of a few end up causing problems for many. Likewise, primary, middle, and high school education looks different from town to town with varying degrees of comfort with the available learning options.
What will the Fall and Winter bring? Will the use of masks help the FLU to be less of a factor? Are we making headway in managing the “common cold” and the spread of other airborne illnesses? Are the facemask and super hygiene our new normal? Will we be better off for it? Will there ever be a “hybrid?”
The race to a vaccine.
And so, the beat goes on with the Pharmaceutical Power Brokers advancing, testing, withdrawing, and resuming tests. Heads swirl. There are now eight major players linking arms with powerful and prestigious universities and medical centers who have recommitted to science and state that they refuse to be pressured by anyone to advance a product that is not entirely safe and ready for use.
Alarmingly, polls show that even with an approved vaccine, there may only be 40 percent of adult Americans willing to get the COVID-19 vaccine once it is publicly available. Will it become a mandated part of public health? Are we going back to emulate the eradication efforts of polio and smallpox? Will there be any choice of vaccine, or will we “get what we get?” How much information and literature will be available for us as we make an important and informed decision for our health and that of our families? Will large urban medical centers, like those in Boston, require staff to become immunized against COVID as they do for influenza? No shot, no work?
Yes, more questions than answers.
But in a time where there can be pandemonium inside of the pandemic, it’s essential to ask the right ones. We can manage the Lions, Tigers, and Bears by knowing which ones are a threat, separating fact from fiction, and creating a boundary that allows us to manage our consumption of rumors, news, hype, and political posturing from any position. Stay grounded in what’s real. Truth…has been a bit of a shapeshifter since early March. We have been taught, urged, challenged, and redirected about how our common enemy, COVID-19, lives, breathes, and has being.
So many things we cannot know, cannot do, and cannot protect ourselves from. But we can stay grounded in what is reasonable, sound, researched, and vetted. We refrain from a diet of toxicity. We explore “extreme self-care,” which may end up being the silver lining. We realign and reembrace what we deem essential priorities.
The beautiful imagery of the Wizard of Oz, in the perceived lack of ability of each of the four travelers to OZ, is that they each possessed precisely what they were looking for. What are we looking for? Time? Health? Security? Answers?
Maybe we’re building resiliency, discernment, communication, and empowerment. With no lack of information, perhaps we put it in our Vitamix centrifuge and let what is precious float to the top, and let the other stuff go. We continue to develop our “downtime” and play the game of Hearts, get out the teapot, and realize that we do have a heart, a brain, the nerve, and connection. We can’t go over the rainbow right now, so maybe we focus for a while more on being home and being okay. After all, there’s no place like home.