Answering questions is the Scientist Super Power!
I trust science. I always have. And our current situation is a perfect example of science in action.
Science is not a body of facts. It is a learning process. A process that is designed to provide empirical answers to questions. A process that, by design, requires great attention to detail, an open mind to ideas and results of testing, and a willingness to accept and review data you were not expecting to encounter. All of that has been happening with the coronavirus science TODAY. And since we are just in the beginnings of the process, the information will probably change tomorrow.
We do not have all the facts on this virus. No one can tell us exactly how to avoid it, treat it, cure it. We don’t know how bad the death toll, the injury toll, the psychological toll, or what the economic impact will be. Its all a big scientific experiment. But I trust the science. I try to listen to the science.
But, what will it look like as move forward? After we begin to return to work and play, while the science will continue to provide evolving information and reactions to that information . . . what will it look like at home and at work for the Everyday Joe?
We all know that the way we recover economically from this crisis will add definition to every generation. Will the Baby Boomers try to return to part-time work after the blows to their investment plans for retirement? Will they change their behaviors regarding dinners in restaurants and casino activity? What impact will those decisions have on the local economy?
Will the Millennials become hoarders of toilet paper, Ramen Noodles, and canned goods as they prepare for the next crisis? Because they just know this is only the beginning. Will they change the way they work to do more at home and communicate “at a distance?’ Will the Gen Z young people do anything different at all because they are still in their formative years so this is part of forming who they are and who they will be? They have already been communicating at a distance from basements across the country.
Will any of us recognize the need to become more self-sufficient?
Here, in the Great Lakes Bay Region we have almost everything we need. We have agricultural resources. We have manufacturing resources. We have outstanding healthcare and educational institutions. We can very nearly self-sustain. What we will need is to convince our population to access our own resources first.
The GLBR is strategically placed between the densely populated counties to our south and the remote counties to our north west. Will we have a lot of ability to be self-sufficient and share with those remote counties as they look to the GLBR for goods and services? Can the GLBR, and will the GLBR, step up quickly to become the provider of those goods and services, therefore, returning to economic strength?
Will we speak about careers as “essential or non-essential” in addition to high demand, high pay? Interestingly, as I am helping my grandchildren with their home school work, I have seen a couple of writing prompts related to “career choice versus what should be paid” and “what jobs will be needed most when we return to work.” Already, teachers recognize that it will be important to talk to our kids about their career choices as a reflection of the crisis.
Will all career education include courses in “how to effectively work at home.” Zoom meetings have provided a small level of ability to keep people working. It is not producing products to sell but services are being provided. Two of my relatives have had virtual appointments with physicians. Interviews are taking place to provided information to the public and television and social media has been quite amazing in their abilities to continue large scale communications and provided resources to families. Educators are consulting via Zoom on how to implement and maintain distance learning. This last one has been, and will show over the next year, to be hugely disappointing.
There should be a big push to prepare K12 educators, students and families for online distance learning. I think one of the reasons schools were not ready was because of fears about job security for educators. If the public learns that educational materials are available online what do they need the schools for? If there is one thing this crisis has taught families, it is that they need those teachers! Providing quality ways to connect teachers with students will be a top priority. It also continues to highlight those IT careers. Better communication formats need to be developed that are accessible to all families. Students and teachers need to use these formats and become adept at their use before the crisis forces them into 24/7 use. This will also eliminate the need to make up snow days. There will be no such thing as a non-working school day if home can be a classroom. A lot of opportunity in education will come out of this crisis as we return to full-force preparation of youth for an unknown that is more unknown than ever.