The virus has shown just how much we are connected, how precious time together is

Published 3:41 pm Friday, March 27, 2020

Earlier this week, Alabama’s Gov. Kay Ivey announced the state was canceling the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. In Louisiana, the rate the COVID-19 virus is spreading through the state also makes the idea of canceling the school year in that state more and more likely.

In Mississippi, Gov. Tate Reeves has closed schools through April 17. It is the hope of many that the spread of the virus would have slowed enough to allow for schools — public and private — to resume, even for a few weeks to round out the school year.

Locally, the Vicksburg Warren School District has switched full speed to online learning, with students working assignments from home. Teachers are offering online coaching and counseling, students are checking of their assignments one-by-one and meals are being delivered like clockwork.

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But just like clockwork, time is ticking; time is ticking away for a senior class and their parents who are desperate for one or two more days in school and one crucial graduation ceremony. Unfortunately, with ongoing restrictions on gatherings and closures, that opportunity for a milestone may very well be lost.

While actions by the governor and local school officials have ensured teachers and staff will be kept whole when it comes to their earnings, there is a sense of professionalism by these teachers and administrators that is often above what they earn; teaching is what they do and doing it online is not the same. The interaction they have with children on a daily basis is part of their compensation and it is compensation that is at risk.

There are also those teachers — some who have spent more than 30 years doing the job they love — who had already planned on retiring this year, and will still do so. But instead of that one last hug from a student, that one last laugh with a colleague in a classroom, they will instead be left to Facebook posts and emails thanking them for their dedicated service.

Yes, there will be retirement parties and accolades down the road when restrictions are lifted, but they, in some way will have been cheated by this virus in ways other professionals would not have been.

Our lives — in a majority of ways — have been impacted by the spread and dangers of the COVID-19 virus. There are changes to our daily lives that may never return and then there are things that we know will be lost, period.

It is our hope the spread of this virus slows greatly and that there is a chance for those in our community to get the time and recognition they so richly deserve and have earned.

We have learned so much in these past few weeks, not just how connected we are as a community, but how precious the time with one another truly is.