It’s late August and we can now officially say the long “spring break” for our area schools and university is over. Students have headed back to school. But they have headed back to school with a great deal of uncertainty and a concern about how long it will last. Anxieties are high, and concerns about safety and population health are justified.
Not sure about you, but I feel strongly it’s in our collective best interest (economically, socially, and educationally) that students are able to return to the classroom and have a chance to stay there throughout the academic year. Both the university and school districts around the region have worked hard to create plans, policies and procedures all designed to mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19.
Personally, I’ve had the opportunity to work with both Northwest Missouri State and Maryville R-II Schools recently and understand (at least to some degree) the amount of work that has gone into their planning and preparation. These collective efforts will give students and teachers the best chance to remain in the classroom. However, their efforts alone are not enough. We all have a role to play.
Our schools’ ability to remain open in the middle of a global pandemic will have a lot to do with how our collective communities manage and deal with the outbreak. There is no doubt positive cases will continue to rise as students return to their respective classrooms. That should be neither a surprise nor a reason to panic. But we must acknowledge the increase in positive cases and actively take steps to reduce the spread.
In that vein, I’d like to share a few thoughts and reminders.
- Wearing masks, keeping a safe distance from others and regularly practicing good hand hygiene must become a normal part of how we live our lives for the foreseeable future. This is part of our “new normal” and remains the key to reducing the spread of the virus.
- If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or feel you need to be tested, we have set up a nurse call line for your convenience. Please call 660.562.5357 between 7am – 7pm Monday – Friday or between 8am and NOON Saturday and Sunday. A nurse will ask you a few questions and direct you accordingly. When appropriate, you may be set up with a virtual visit with a healthcare provider and instructed to visit our drive-through testing location.
- If you test positive for COVID-19 or are identified as someone who has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, the Nodaway County Health Department will contact you and provide you with detailed instructions and next steps. Please know the County Health department is actively monitoring each and every case and will be in contact with you if needed. If you are a Northwest student, you may instead be contacted by a member of the University staff as they are also assisting with contact tracing when needed.
- Mosaic Medical Center – Maryville remains a safe place to receive care. We are employing all the necessary precautions and our caregivers stand ready. Please don’t delay your care. It can be detrimental to your health.
Finally, please remember taking the proper precautions is not just about you. Your efforts help protect those around you as well. We are in this together. We are better together. And together we will get through this pandemic.