Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Covid-19 - What We've Learned

Just as important as it is to look at what we know about the Covid-19 situation, it is also vital to look at what lessons we have learned from its impact.  A few lessons we can hope to take from this time and implement for our future coming out of this.  For if we come through this experience and everything looks exactly the same as it was before, then we have failed.

  • Teachers are vastly underpaid for what they do - They have had to completely overhaul their lesson plans for the year.  They have all had to move online with no notice.  I think all parents have come to realize how much teachers are doing.  How much we ask of them.  And yet there are still some that are going to be cutting their funding in the fall.
  • Online learning has a greater role to play going forward - While no one wants to go forward with online school forever, it is a tool that can be utilized in a much greater capacity.  I know Indiana uses it to make up snow days.  Perhaps southern states could use them for storm days.  Or perhaps lessons could be recorded for the benefit of those who are out on school activities, out sick, etc.  If not recorded lessons, perhaps a digital equivalent or digital alternative.  Having virtual prepared lessons for alternative education programs.  There is a place for this and it will increase going forward.
  • Those we paid the least are essential, and should be treated as such - During this time, we really depended on a lot of workers that earn minimum wage.  Perhaps it's really time to admit that they deserve a living wage.  That our $7.25 per hour minimum wage is far too low, especially given that it largely impacts services we depend on.  We also should be moving away from tipped based waitstaff to the raised minimum wage for waitstaff.
  • Broadband internet is a public utility and needs to be available as such - For work from home, for school from home, we've seen the great need for not just internet access, but high-speed internet access across this country.  This is the next great utility expansion and we should be doing all we can to achieve this.  Broadband internet access at this point literally makes the difference in access to the future for our younger populations.  Let's equip them all.
  • Work from Home should be more common going forward - With the adaptations we've had to make, and seeing the proof that people can be productive and about their jobs while working from home, work from home should likewise become a tool for most businesses that is used for much greater effect.  For sick days when you are contagious but don't really feel too bad, you could work from home to stop from spreading a cold, the flu, etc.  For days when you need to run an errand, go to a doctor's appointment closer to your house, etc.  For days when you need to watch your kid because they cannot be at school or at day care.  For days when you need a mental health break away from your coworkers.  Work from home should become a larger part of employee benefits in certain types of jobs.
  • Virtual Family Hangouts - Part of this is our move, but we've also been on more FaceTimes, more group FaceTimes, Google Hangouts, etc. with our family in this time.  And this has been true of others as well.  Because it has been difficult to physically see them at all, it has been important for us to at least see them virtually.  We need to keep that up when things get back to normal as well.
  • First hours for the elderly or at risk populations are good ideas - Grocery stores and big box stores offering early morning hours for older populations or for at risk populations to shop in a lower capacity, lower risk environment remain easy ways to care for the most at risk among us, even beyond the Covid-19 crisis.  It is a very small sacrifice that could be made to benefit those populations in a tangible way.  
  • Live-streaming or online recordings should be a practice of every church going forward - As most churches have adapted in some way to bringing worship online into live streaming and recorded formats, it should remain a tool available to them going forward.  The ability for members to view sermons and worship and remain connected when they must travel.  The opportunity for the home bound to participate in worship with their home church.  It's just another tool in the arsenal.  Even for the smallest church.  It doesn't have to be overproduced. A teenager with a stabilizer and an iPhone recording the service will suffice.  
  • Churches can be more active during the week - What I have been heartened by the most in this process, are the churches that have increased their workloads during this crisis.  That have added near daily communications with their members through daily devotionals whether written or video, through live stream prayer services, through virtual music services either mornings or evenings.  Through Zoom parties.  And so on and so on.  These can and should still continue.  It's another way to keep reaching out.  To keep people connected and to keep encouraging the saints.
  • Our Healthcare system must be overhauled - This process has revealed deep issues in our healthcare system.  States having to barter and trade, to literally out bid other states to get needed PPE.  States circumventing our federal government and working directly with other countries like South Korea to get needed tests.  The staggering amount of medical debt that Covid-19 survivors will be saddled with.  We can be proud in the way the emergency responders, the doctors, and the nurses have responded, but we can also acknowledge the need to create a better system around them.
  • We can have an impact on our environment - If there was any doubt that man has an impact on the environment and our ability to harm it or to improve it, it has been removed.  Look at all the pictures of locations across the globe where some sights have been visible for the first time thanks to the reduction of smog resulting from the stay at home orders.  Carbon monoxide is down 50% in New York, nitrogen dioxide down by 30% in China.  Stars are visible in Dehli.  Mount Kenya can be seen for 85 miles now. Venice canals are sparkling.  We've seen that changes can be made.  So it falls to us to see what changes can be sustained and how we can positively impact things in the future.  Greater work from home, less commuting can definitely help.
  • We all need to be outside more - We know the healthier you are, the less the virus affects you.  Being outside, getting more vitamin D, getting more exercise are all things that can help us be healthier.  All things we can use more of and things we've been doing as ways to keep from going stir crazy in quarantine.  It's something that should be kept going forward.  Plus, it's tougher for the virus to spread outdoors, so it is a good way to help curb the future spread.
I could go on for pages more, but this is a good start of things we should keep from this.  What's your list?  What would you like us to keep from this time?  What lessons should we learn?

No comments:

Post a Comment