Earlier this week, our board of directors had to make the difficult decision to keep the Seed closed a bit longer. We were hoping to offer a three-week summer program, to provide much-needed childcare, as well as test our projected adaptations we plan to implement in August. Before finalizing the summer opening date, we determined that we’d check in to see what the status was with COVID-19 in Arizona. Unlike in previous months, the number of cases is skyrocketing. The Arizona Department of Health Services tweeted: “URGENT: Another record day for #COVID-19 with 2,519 new positive cases in Arizona. Everyone must wear a mask and maintain physical distancing. We all have a role to play in slowing the spread. Please do your part. #MaskUpArizona.” Although we really wanted to re-open the Seed, it seemed too risky and too soon for our students and staff.
I can’t help but think things would have been different if masks had been more than a suggestion with businesses re-opening. I saw a news clip about a group of sixteen friends who went to a bar in Florida soon after re-opening. Within days, all sixteen, plus several employees of the business, tested positive and became ill. None wore masks, and one woman said they didn’t know anyone who had the virus, so they didn’t think they’d come down with it. The three women interviewed admitted it was a huge mistake. Fortunately, they were all young, and recovered relatively quickly. What they didn’t think about was all the people with whom they may have come in contact who aren’t so healthy or youthful.
This stage of the pandemic seems like a huge opportunity for all of us to shift our thinking beyond ourselves. It’s a time to think about others who could be seriously harmed by the virus, who might not have the resources or quality of health to even survive it. I have never been a person who likes to be told what I can or can’t do. I believe in human rights and independence. I also diligently practice empathy and compassion, and look for ways to apply these qualities in my daily life.
Wearing a mask is one way we can each make a small difference in preventing the spread of COVID-19. All the fun cloth masks I’ve made for myself and others won’t guarantee that the virus won’t spread, but at least they are barriers to slow down the spread. Before you leave your house, make sure you have a mask. Even if you don’t care about protecting yourself, think about everyone else.
When my daughter was at the pediatrician with our baby great-granddaughter this week, they had a sign posted that read: “We wear our masks for you. Please wear yours for us.” If we could all adopt that approach I believe we could slowly turn this situation around, and be able to open the Seed again soon. Each time I put on my mask I hold that intention—for the Seed to be filled with happy children, and for our planet to begin to heal.