If I hear or read in an abundance of caution again, it will be too soon. Every single communication about COVID-19, including one I wrote, uses this language. It is the omnipresent phrase of the day. Out of an abundance of caution used to be a phrase that only serious scientifics used as a way of depicting the risk while not appearing to overreact, because it implies proactiveness and restraint, instead of panic. It is also slightly poetic – an oxymoron, if you will — abundance meaning plenty and caution signalling limits.
I have decided not to use this phrase in the next few weeks during Kent School’s closure. Instead, I will adopt in an abundance of kindness, are you with me? In an abundance of kindness we should observe social distancing so as not to spread, or unwittingly catch, the contagion. In an abundance of kindness we should isolate ourselves with family members. Oh, and while we are isolating with loved ones, perhaps we can slow down a bit and enjoy this spring gift of time. I realize this is slightly unrealistic for people who are not able to stay home from work, but we could all benefit from a slight slow down.
At Kent School, we will meet tomorrow as a faculty group to plan for distance learning. (We will keep a safe distance apart and not hug each other.) A work in progress, we started to think about our plan two weeks ago. I am inspired by my colleagues all of the time, but especially in this unprecedented time of worry and fear. In an abundance of kindness, Kent School faculty are busy creating lessons, projects and fun activities to complete at home to maintain a connection to our students and their families, to foster student learning, and to help parents.
I hope we are back in school on March 30, but there is no telling how this pandemic will progress in the next two weeks, as each day brings news of its evolution. I am mindful of how this crisis is affecting all of us. My cousin just reported that after several days of delays and cancellations, his college-aged daughter is finally home from Europe, in isolation in her bedroom, after having to cut short her semester abroad. So much disruption, nervousness, and stress.
I am grateful my three children are keeping their humor and managing well, although I bet none of them have a few extra rolls of toilet paper or food in their freezers. That is definitely another story.
In an abundance of kindness, let’s breathe. Let’s go outside and watch spring blossom before our eyes. Let’s read. Let’s organize our junk drawer. Let’s connect with loved ones and friends in responsible ways. Let’s stay healthy and strong.
And, for me, it turned out to be the perfect time to get a puppy!