What a year! Social media is marking a year ago this week as the last week of “normal,” before COVID-19 changed everything. A news outlet I follow asked, “What are your thoughts on the past year of the pandemic?” A majority of the responses were not positive. In many ways it was the worst of times.
We heard that we were all in the same boat, when the fact was that we were all experiencing the same storm; our boats varied significantly in their ability to weather it.
The lack of science literacy and support was appalling. For those who have forgotten grade school science, please reread the Scientific Method and the Peer Review process.
Some folks thought that economics were more important than science. Many condemned scientists because their guidance changed throughout the year. An alarming number of people decided that doing their own “research” meant finding someone on Facebook who agreed with their opinions, and then shouting down anyone who disagreed and calling them sheep.
Personal liberty was widely debated over the last 12 months. When does our freedom eclipse our neighbors’ safety? Some folks were revealed to be rather self-centered.
This is all just related to the pandemic; we don’t have space enough to touch on the politics and racial issues of the past year.
Fortunately, like A Tale of Two Cities, we’ve also seen some of the best of times.
Thanks to a system that fast-tracked the approval process — not the science behind it — we have not one but three safe, effective vaccines to combat and hopefully defeat this virus. We’ve recognized the irreplaceable value of our nation’s healthcare workers.
New developments in teleconferencing have contributed to energy conservation and given us an alternative to traveling several hours to attend a short meeting. We’ve developed innovative ways to celebrate major milestones in our lives, even when we can’t be together. Through the wonders of Zoom, my family shared Thanksgiving with relatives in South Carolina for the first time in more than 45 years.
At Danville Area Community College we made access a priority. Thanks to COVID-related grants we purchased technology that could be loaned to students on a long-term basis. While essential for the transition to online learning during the pandemic, this equipment loan program will continue for students in need when the world returns to normal.
Food insecurity in the college student population was a nationwide problem pre-COVID that grew exponentially during the pandemic, but the DACC Foundation kept their food pantry open to students even when we had limited campus access. Donations from college employees and Foundation friends remained steady throughout the crisis.
We’ve learned a great deal about ourselves and others during this world-wide crisis – some good, some truly awful – but we’re starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. Here’s hoping that when we reach this week in March next year we can look back on a much happier year.