First, please take a moment to pay tribute to all who are no longer with us due to COVID-19. May we always keep them dear in our memory. Though you may not have lost someone directly, you likely know someone who lost a family member or close friend. Let us remember that as we go into our next chapters.
Every crisis provides an opportunity to learn. If nothing else, we learn how to avoid a repeat of the crisis in the future. It is unfortunate that learning comes with this cost. However, we must learn from what has occurred. Just what has COVID-19 taught us?
- Upon first learning of COVID-19, we essentially rejected the importance or danger of this virus. How did we not realize China shutting down cities and provinces was not serious? Nevertheless, the virus quickly traveled the Pacific and landed on our west coast, infecting Seattle first, and then rapidly traversing the heartland for the east coast, making New York City Ground Zero. Eventually, it was in our neighborhoods. We learned that we need to pay attention in this global society of ours. What happens half a world away can effect us.
- We learned to adapt. Throughout the last two years, we have masked, distanced, washed, cleaned doorknobs, avoided crowds, and wiped-down groceries. Our caution likely saved many lives. Our lesson was that simply in protecting ourselves, we were protecting others.
- Technology became less of a hurdle. Initially, I was running meetings and classes via conference phone line. It was horrible. Eventually we all became skilled (enough) to function in the virtual worlds of Zoom, TEAMS, FaceTime, et al. Today we are all much more adept than we were two years ago, making technology a valuable resource to our daily work and personal lives.
- Humans are pack animals and need to be with one another. Maybe not two years of being with one another in close quarters, but near one another just the same. We learned we need in-person contact for whatever purpose – instruction, presentations, celebrations, etc. We need our workplace alliances.
- Many of us learned how much we miss family and friends. Now is the time to close that gap, even if it is only through a phone call to genuinely ask how someone is doing.
There are many more lessons learned through the crisis of a pandemic. These are but a few that struck me today. At some point, the pandemic will be in our rearview mirror. Let’s keep the best of what we learned and let the rest go.