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As is almost always the case, scenes from the “Lego Movie,” are easily adaptable to real life.

COVID (as Shaq character) to teachers, staff and students this fall: “Y’all ready for this?”

COVID (as Shaq character) seeing response of teachers, staff and students this fall: “Oh no! They were ready for this.”

That’s probably the best-case scenario as the days on the calendar flips by into mid-August and schools make the finishing touches on the coming school year.

While it is temping to think the COVID-19 beast has been slain, that is not the true. Schools, locally and across the nation, are deciding how to best address public health issues associated with COVID.

There are a variety of approaches on the personal and school district level. On the personal level, teachers, staff and all students over the age of 12 can decide whether to get vaccinated. Shots are free. Documented evidence to date shows the shots safe and effective. That option is out there.

As we are seeing, when vaccination levels remain low as they are in Kittitas County, that does not effectively stop the spread of the disease.

So we have a situation of schools in a community where less than half the population eligible to get vaccinated, is vaccinated, plus the under age 12 students who cannot yet get vaccinated. That puts school districts and the state in the position of deciding how to manage the public health aspect.

Everyone is fed up with COVID and all the restrictions it entailed. There was no sweeter moment than earlier this summer when mask requirement in public spaces was lifted.

But being fed up with COVID does not mean COVID is done with us. According to the Kittitas County Community Impact Dashboard, as of Monday at 4:55 p.m., there were 56 active COVID cases in county, including 42 cases reported over the weekend.

Over the past two weeks, there has been an additional death caused by COVID, bringing the total number to 38. There have been eight COVID deaths this year.

You could try to make to make the case that these numbers are not statistically significant, that people get sick and die of other diseases as well. But the fact is there is a vaccine-preventable virus that people are opting to not get the vaccine to prevent. The virus is causing illness and deaths. People may have different views on whether it is sickening and killing enough people to be of concern, but it is sickening and killing people.

In the middle of this scenario are the public schools. Students attending K-12 public schools in this state will be required to wear masks to start the fall. This is not a decision being made by your local school board, but by the state.

People can definitely express their views on this at a school board meeting, but keep in mind the men and women sitting in the meeting room (or their living room if it’s virtual) are not the ones who made the call in his particular situation.

Whatever happens, hopefully, we can dial our focus back into making this the best school year possible for every student. Last year was difficult. There are boys and girls with ground to make up. This year cannot be titled COVID Feud Part II. It has to be Best School Possible.

Individual adults bear responsibility for their own actions, but as a collective we are responsible for the schools. Schools are not a battle ground. They are classrooms where we hope to prepare our children as best as possible for the world that awaits.

Let’s hope we’re ready for this.

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