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home : columns : dave fjeld
May 26, 2020

3/18/2020 4:00:00 PM
School made the right calls
The Windom Eagle band and choir arrived home, safe and sound, Sunday afternoon, after a long bus ride back from Florida - just five days after leaving Windom.
Admittedly, they spent as much time on the road, probably more, than they actually spent in Florida. That may cause some to question whether they should have gone in the first place, with COVID-19 concerns escalating
While some may disagree, I strongly support the school's decision to send students on the trip!
For the elderly and people with underlying health issues, coronavirus is definitely a concern. The measures that have been taken to protect those people should be applauded and followed to the letter. They are, without question, the most vulnerable.
High school students are not.
All indications are that some, maybe most, youth who contract the virus will experience mild symptoms or none at all. Moreover, youth have been found not to be candidates to carry the virus. That said, they still need to be cautious and follow the CDC guidelines for washing hands and maintaining the six-foot "social distancing."
How exposed were students to the coronavirus while in Florida? That remains to be seen, but when I checked on Friday, there were no presumptive cases of coronavirus in Orange County, Florida, where Disney World is located. And as of Tuesday noon, there were still just five.
Here's the thing: This was a once-in-a-lifetime trip for some, if not most, students. And, while we need to take necessary steps to prevent its spread, we also can't live in fear of what might happen.
There are students who will never get the opportunity to experience Disney World outside of this trip. This was their one chance and to deny them that privilege - which they have not only worked for, but earned - would have been wrong. Indeed, most of these students have wisely saved and fundraised for this chance to see one of the great family theme parks.
When they left last Wednesday, there were only mild rumblings that events may be postponed. It wasn't until they were in Florida that events started to be cancelled and venues closed.
Some may say, "They could have gone next year." Yes, but this year's seniors would not have had that opportunity and this year's eighth-graders likely would not have had enough to cover the trip.
The school did the right thing here.
And they did the right thing in bringing them home early.
Although Disney Springs would remain open, Disney announced Monday that it was closing its stores at Disney Springs. Whether other, non-Disney stores follow suit remains to be seen, In any case, there likely wouldn't have been much of an audience for the Windom groups.
Most importantly, students still got their opportunity to experience Disney World, if only briefly.
The precautions that have been taken regarding the coronavirus are unprecedented in our lifetime. All major sports leagues, major venues and even travel to a certain extent has been shut down.
Because of the drastic steps that are being taken to safeguard the public, hopefully, we'll never know for certain whether the steps taken were more than needed. But erring on the side of caution is a good thing.
For the sake of those students who may never get another chance like this, they got to experience a little bit of Disney. They also experienced one other thing that I always consider a Florida treat - palm trees.
Folks, don't live in fear of this virus. Yes, be cautious and smart, but don't over-react. The school didn't and students are thankful.

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