October 13, 2020
Take Care of Yourself and Each Other
I have two white boards that stand along both sides of my workstation. The whiteboard to the right contains my meeting agendas, meeting notes and follow up assignments. The one on the left is for things that are more ongoing in nature.
One of the items on that left hand white board is a list of numbers. The numbers are Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Friday release of the total number of positive COVID-19 cases since the onset of the pandemic. In their May 29 announcement, there was a total number of 9,711 people that had tested positive in Kansas. Last Friday, October 9, that total surpassed the 65,000 mark with 65,804 people having tested positive this year to date. In addition to breaking the 65,000 people barrier, we had the highest (according to my records) one week increase in COVID-19 positives. Between October 2 and October 9, 4,696 people tested positive for COVID-19.
I realize many people are tired of our COVID-19 challenges. Nevertheless, COVID-19 doesn’t care if we are tired of it. It is still here. COVID-19 has made its presence known in its various manifestations among the people we serve and our colleagues, volunteers, friends, and families. We must keep our guard up. We owe it to everyone, especially those with already compromised immunities.
Keeping our guard up is not that difficult. Meet via distance whenever possible. Wear masks when in the presence of others. Maintain physical distance. Wash and sanitize your hands frequently. Clean your work stations. We are not talking extreme inconveniences.
By the way, the amateur historian in me wonders what our more senior family and friends think when they hear how people are inconvenienced by these steps. During World War II, they had to put up with food, gas, and other material rationing for the war effort. Granted, it was a war, but our COVID-19 challenge is a war of another type. To build on that comparison, COVID-19 has already cost the United States 213,614 lives.1 This is more U.S. lives lost than those lost in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation New Dawn, Operation Iraqi Freedom,2 Desert Shield/Desert Storm, the Viet Nam War, and the Korean War combined.3
A reminder of our protocols:
• Whenever possible, meet via distance technology.
• All faculty, staff, students and visitors must wear masks, maintain six feet of social distancing, and wash/sanitize hands frequently when in KSU facilities (includes our K-State Research and Extension Centers) or when outside on KSU facilities and in the presence of other people.
• All agents, as Kansas State University personnel, are to wear masks, maintain six feet of social distance, and wash/sanitize hands frequently.
• We highly encourage local unit Extension Boards to adopt similar protocols for their non-Kansas State University personnel, volunteers, meetings, and educational activities.
• Local public health protocols must be followed at a minimum.
We may be tired and frustrated with our COVID-19 challenge, but we owe it to ourselves, our families, friends and the people we serve to remain vigilant. Additionally, each one of us plays an important role in our mission of helping people to improve their lives, livelihoods, and communities through the power of research-based Extension education programs. Your role is too important to lose to downtime associated with COVID-19. Please, keep up the good fight! Take care of yourself and each other.