Physical Distancing...Please!

I want to make a plea for physical distancing throughout our community. Throughout this message, I’ll use the term “physical distancing” versus “social distancing.” We need to stay away from each other physically, but we still need to connect socially, right?

At this time, it may appear that Lake County, Illinois is not a hotbed of COVID-19 activity. The problem is that we just don’t know. We do not have widespread testing, so we don’t have a clear view of the extent of the infection in our vicinity. In addition, because of the lack of testing and the fact that coronavirus carriers may not always show symptoms, we won’t know for another two to three weeks if we are spreading the infection today.

Yet, looking at what's happening in New York City, Italy, and elsewhere, we see how serious the COVID-19 situation can get. Of course, we are a very different community than New York or Milan, but one of the lessons emerging from all of this is that physical distancing is absolutely crucial to slowing the spread of this virus. Students, as hard as it may seem, I am pleading for you to take it seriously.

Unfortunately, it’s had to be a very different Spring Break for all of us. The Governor’s stay-at-home order goes through April 7, but I would be very surprised if that date wasn’t extended. Here’s the thing: We can't be hanging out in groups, we can't be playing sports together, and we can't be over at each other's houses. I'm imploring anyone who reads this to PLEASE adhere to the stay-at-home order, and follow physical distancing guidelines.

Parents, if you are keeping your child at home and have been accused of being the “WORST PARENT IN THE WORLD,” you’re not. (Know that, I too, have known the pain of being the Worst Parent in the World).

Students, if you are being required to stay home and believe you are being raised by the “WORST PARENT IN THE WORLD,” you’re not. Actually, your parents are doing the right thing and making sure your family is doing its part to keep us all safe. You should thank them.

Students, this is not a joke, it’s not a hoax, and we need you to stay physically separated. Those at most risk are older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions. I suspect most of us know and love someone who might be in one of those categories, and we want to make sure our actions protect those people as much as possible. However, keep in mind anyone can get this disease. Recent cases have shown that this virus is impacting people of all ages; teenagers are not immune.

In addition, we all want to come back to school as soon as possible. In order for that to happen, we have to “flatten the curve.” By that, I mean slowing the rate of infection in our community, and the only way we know how to do that is to maintain physical distance. There is no vaccine, and there is no cure yet. We simply must keep the virus from spreading and that is our individual responsibility.

I’ve added a link to an editorial from the Daily Herald titled, “The numbers make it clear -- social distancing protects people and saves lives“