Local Commentary

Not the Time For Letting Up

In the midst of a lengthy briefing to the Falls Church School Board Tuesday night on options for the reopening of F.C. schools in late August under a range of scenarios for in-person or a combination of in-person and online education, some eyewitness accounts of School Board members witnessing students around town not practicing social distancing or masking practices drew an aroused and impassioned appeal from Superintendent Peter Noonan to the Falls Church community.

Noonan turned away from the briefing to speak directly to the F.C. community through the broadcast lens carrying the live work session on the Schools’ YouTube channel. “When groups of kids are roaming the streets of F.C. or at parties and are not social distancing (staying six feet apart — ed.) or wearing masks it puts the entire school system in a place where lots of people wind up in a risky position,” Noonan said. “I’m appealing to the community to work with us.”

School Board chair Greg Anderson echoed Noonan’s comments. “Behaviors over the summer will impact our ability to have school in the fall,” he said.
Indeed, there have been a lot of commentaries about the fatigue of keeping up the rigors of stemming the Covid-19 coronavirus’ spread impacting all of us, and in some places in the U.S. there has been an early opening of businesses and recreational areas, like beaches, all over the country.

Unfortunately, the virus does not respect impatience. It does not respect the absurd situation in the U.S. where to wear a mask or to not wear a mask has come to constitute a political statement.

It does not recognize that its somewhat lessened ability to trigger a life threatening illness in some segments of the population (like in a younger and healthier demographic) doesn’t preclude its subsequent spread to more vulnerable populations, like uncles, grandmothers and best friends.

Clearly, leaders of this community, like their counterparts all around them, remain sharply focused on the ongoing lethal and highly-contagious nature of this one-in-a-lifetime contagion that continues to swirl around us in our midst. Much of the focus of Tuesday’s F.C. School Board meeting centered on attempting to develop plans to engage in the inherently risky plans to reopen the schools in less than two months now. They’re deeply concerned about how they can open the schools this fall without triggering a resurgence of the virus’ spread.

But it is troubling that for all the anxiety and sleepless nights that our governmental and school leaders are experiencing, for too much of the rest of the population there is little more than a desire to get this all over with.

Not everyone, by far, but by too many. It is simply not smart to act out this impatience with a disdain for social distancing and masking.

So please, Falls Church, heed Dr. Noonan’s appeal. The future of so much remains at stake.