Education is Essential
In just a few weeks our K-12, higher education and preschool systems are planning a restart of the highest priority of our society – educating our kids, our future. Do any of us doubt that our schools are an essential service? Whether we’ve been trying to home school our children these past months, struggling in the workplace to support employees who are juggling childcare demands, or we are a teacher sorting out the complexities of “Back to School,” we all have a stake in the evolving plans for this fall’s school reopening.
When COVID-19 forced broad-based business and school closures in March, the Chamber supported the recommendations of our health care professionals to stay home, stay safe and blunt the transmission of this virus while our hospital systems built up capacity to protect us. And we are working daily to provide the tools and access to support business needs to reopen safely. It’s critical that we do the same for our education system, for the safety of our kids, for our teachers, and our community.
As an association of businesses serving our economy and community, the Southwest Indiana Chamber has long supported public policies that enable our children to succeed. We know that an education system is the essential building block of our economy. Last week, regional education leaders briefed the Chamber Board on the array of plans they have in place to welcome students “back to the classroom,” some in person, some virtually. And just as our health care experts provided guidance in March, we are fortunate to have exceptional education professionals doing the same. They are taking action to welcome our kids back to very different classrooms with careful, science-based safety protocols that respect all stakeholders: our kids, teachers, scared parents, the colleges and businesses that will enroll or employ our children in the future. We will get back to school.
The most important actions won’t happen in the schools, but in our community. We must mobilize to manage the spread of COVID-19 outside of the classroom. Our education partners need public support – your support – our community does too. We’ve worked hard to get businesses reopened and people back to work. The safe reopening of local schools is up to all of us. Absolutely for the next few weeks; absolutely for as long as it takes to adjust our lives and institutions to functional success in this new normal. Keep a safe distance, mask up, stay home when you are sick, work remotely if you are able, avoid crowds; make the best possible decisions for your family and community. We can do this!
In September, the Chamber will hold our Annual Meeting. We will report on the successes of our region. Like our recent Lunch with the Governor Signature Event, you can count on the Annual Meeting being informative and executed with sound safety practices. We hope you can be with us, physically or virtually. And we hope to report that the 2020 version of “back to school” is off to a successful start.
President and CEO
Southwest Indiana Chamber