On a recent gorgeous spring afternoon,I took my daughter along in the car on the way to pick up an order at the bakery. Our windows were down. WNRN was playing a community connection ad that clearly hadn’t been revised post stay-at-home order, promoting an upcoming dance performance. The dogwoods were in bloom. For a few seconds, everything felt normal.
It’s an odd moment we’re in. While the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has been steadily creeping up in the Charlottesville area (as of April 6, there were 95 cases in our health district), we are still mostly in a stage of prevention and preparation. The pandemic has utterly changed the life of our community and devastated many people’s livelihoods. But the news reports from New York, where more than 600 people died in a single day and a field hospital has been set up in Central Park, still feel like dispatches from another planet.
Meanwhile, we are all trying to figure out how to live in this changed world. This week, we bring you stories about local efforts to grapple with the same issues that have come up in communities across the country and the world: How do our farmers get their food to customers? (p. 12). How do our public schools make sure kids with wildly different resources can equitably learn at home? How do we prevent our jails from becoming hotbeds for the virus?
Like so many other places, we are adapting on the fly, coming up with new solutions, and trying to make it work. We are hoping that the sacrifices we are making now will protect us. We are holding our breath.