Lesson Learned (Aug. 20)


Algorithms for diagnosing and treating illness have become common practice in medicine these days. Since novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a new infection in the history of infectious disease, and since the spread is worldwide, our Upshur County Schools Board of Education is following best medical practice standards. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department (UBHD) has set up a framework to guide us. It has been a useful exercise in reasoning.

Lesson Learned during the coronavirus pandemic is that algorithms are simply fluid markers along the way in describing a new disease. Any number of models have been offered up by such highly esteemed universities as Harvard, Stanford and Oxford to explain the virus’s behavior. Just missing one fact has made some models differ widely from each other. This has given some of us bellyaches due to anxiety. Our Upshur County Schools BOE established a “framework” in a way that makes common sense.

How do I think and problem solve?

Learning the ways of analysis (though I did not spend seven years to become a fully trained psychoanalyst), I have enjoyed getting at TRUTH or CERTAINTY, considering the subconscious mind and the conscious mind. This opens a whole new level of reasoning, for probably 90% of our power to understand is subconscious. Let me just leave that there by saying “thinking outside the box” is very rewarding.

I am increasingly comfortable with Dr. Jeff Harvey’s way of dealing with disaster. He trains, drills and organizes us. We are much better organized for the mass training experiences he has orchestrated in recent years. I do declare that we are truly blessed having him join our BOE Administrative Staff. His skill set for fighting a virus is just the military model we need at a time as this for the safety of our students and staff. My father, Dr. Harold D. Almond, spent nine years in the Army-Air Corps during and after World War II. He loved Boy Scouts of America as do I. “Be Prepared,” the Boy Scouts Motto, summarizes best practices for fighting COVID-19. Jeff, thank you for stepping into a crucial role.

Our nearly 4,000 students and their parents, grandparents and care providers will handle the enrollment of students leading to the opening of classes in various ways. My observation is that we are going to protect the health and safety of our students first and foremost. That is who we are. For many students, this means staying close to home. Virtual School enrollment will swell in numbers. More home schooling will occur, as has been our 10-year trend. That makes smaller in-school class sizes with social distancing possible.

Lesson Learned: We are well positioned for the opening of school but with much yet to do.

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