Christmas break a little different

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By Dennis Richardson, Magic Valley Publishing

Traditionally, students and teachers alike count down the days until schools let out for the Christmas break. After all, there are friends to see, hunting or shopping to do and finally some relaxed days to wake up late and spend time with family.
But this is 2020, a year that started out full of optimism until that dirty virus knocked us for a loop. New terms entered our vocabulary: “social distancing,” “contact tracing,” “essential businesses (and workers),” “flattening the curve,” “lockdown,” “self-isolation,” “shelter-in-place,” and “quarantine.”
This year has been a little different from the outset. It was only in March that the real fear of a virus known by the code COVID-19 hit us hard. It gave schools no choice but to implement early spring breaks, closed businesses and the doors of many houses of worship. The virus hit us at a time one political party was working overtime to impeach our president. This has been a year of turmoil ever since. Festivals closed, graduations were affected and distance learning hit high gear. Adding to the virus concerns were rioting and looting.
I wonder if educators and students are looking forward to getting this half of the year behind them with a hope that 2021 will be better? Or do they long for more time together?
Graduations were much different, if they were allowed at all.
We wondered if football season would be. Much applause welcomed the fall football season. A quick as the delayed season opened dozens of high school games were cancelled or forfeited because of COVID-19. College seasons began late, and many schools saw schedules jumbled around to allow only conference games. Then some of those games were switched or delayed.
The NFL has seen more than its share of cases of the virus. In-person attendance at games plummeted.
Will 2021 be any different? We will have a new president who will bring lot of new staff members. Maybe the vaccine will be ready early. Maybe it will work.
Will we ever get back to “normal”? Maybe. Maybe not. God only knows.
If the vaccine works, our country can reopen. Assuming this to be the case our readers will want to open their community newspapers to read of updates on schedule changes, additions and deletions. That is one role of the hometown newspaper. We try to stay local and leave state and national to the large metro dailies.
We want our newspaper to be a community newspaper that subscribers can be proud to open up. Family and friends who have moved off can stay “in the loop” with either their print or online subscriptions.
We believe community newspapers are more important now than ever.
Social media is fast to post the rumors. We know our readers want a little more. Your local newspaper and its web presence are the source to confirm or debunk all rumors.
Remember: life is better with a (local) newspaper.
Dennis Richardson is the CEO of Magic Valley Publishing, Inc., which owns the Chester County Independent.

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The Chester County Independent is a weekly newspaper, published on Thursdays, serving Chester County, Tennessee.

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