Thanks for people with foresight on COVID-19

Editorial

Posted 4/2/20

Things could have been much worse in Kalona and Wellman if not for the foresight of Mid-Prairie Superintendent Mark Schneider.

Schneider pushed the school board to cancel the school’s fine …

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Thanks for people with foresight on COVID-19

Editorial

Posted

Things could have been much worse in Kalona and Wellman if not for the foresight of Mid-Prairie Superintendent Mark Schneider.

Schneider pushed the school board to cancel the school’s fine arts trip to New York City scheduled for third week in March.

The superintendent pushed the decision at the March 9 school board meeting, and his recommendation was approved on a 4-1 vote. Schneider agonized over the decision. Students take this trip once every four years. Seniors had been looking forward to this – and raising money to go – since they were freshmen.

“Take any weather decision I’ve had to make, and this is a thousand times worse and a thousand times more complex,” Schneider said.

Turns out it was a brilliant decision.

The Mid-Prairie students would have been in the city right as the coronavirus was spreading rampantly but before many people were testing positive. When Schneider made his decision there were 25 COVID-19 cases in New York City. Two weeks later there were 20,000.

Chances are some students would have returned with infections. Those infections would have multiplied with each person the infected students came in contact with.

Kalona and Wellman could have become one of the nation’s hotspots.

Gov. Kim Reynolds, too, deserves credit for implement strict social distancing requirements in Iowa before the disease took hold in the state. Those measures included closing schools from March 16 until April 10.

There is no doubt that the school closures will be extended at least through the end of April if not longer.

Reynolds ordered many businesses to close or operate with limited contact with the public.

When you look at infections in Iowa compared with other states, the infection rate has been slower. That slower rate has provided cities and counties time to put in place procedures and systems for dealing with the disease.

Kalona City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh is another person who jumped into action and took steps to make sure his city was providing support for residents and businesses.

The city is paying for all households in the city to get the newspaper for two weeks. This gives residents information on what the city is doing and how they can stay safe while still supporting local businesses.

Olivia Kahler at the Kalona Public Library launched a program for children where residents put teddy bears and other stuffed animals in their windows, and children wander the neighborhoods on “bear hunts” to spot them.

It’s not just children who are peering in windows, looking for the bears. We have seen adults slowly driving down city streets looking for stuffed animals.

In a time when so many people are stressed dealing with isolation, those fluffy animals bring joy into our lives. Thanks to everybody who has made Kalona a happier place by simply putting a stuffed animal in their window.

Finally, we are reminded of something our moms used to say: “You can’t fix stupid.”

This example comes from Kentucky. One of the recent COVID-19 cases there was a 20-something who tested positive after attending a “coronavirus party.” Talk about tempting fate. The governor was apoplectic with rage.

“This is the part where I, the person that tells everybody to be calm, have to remain calm myself because anyone who goes to something like this may think that they are indestructible, but it’s someone else’s loved one that they are going to hurt,” Gov. Andy Beshear said.

Please stay safe and remember that we are all in this together.

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