By Susan Lesh
I am feeling hopeful. I received my first Covid-19 vaccination at the beginning of January. As a speech pathologist, I’m a healthcare worker so I’m considered 1A. Although it was at an Urgent Care office and there were many sick people, the joy that I felt as I received it was palpable. My spirit was buoyed by the knowledge of my protection beginning its journey in my arm. I was grinning ear to ear as I thanked all the nurses in the office, practically blowing them kisses. One of the best parts of the day was when they scheduled me for my second shot. As you might have experienced by now, signing up for the first shot was not the easiest procedure. Even finding out what group you’re in can be a bit of a challenge. As we have seen, nothing during this pandemic has been easy. But, we are in early stages. Eventually, I have the belief that all people will receive the vaccine and then we will be in a much better place.
The consensus of the Re-Opening Task Force is that vaccine compliance is going to be the primary condition that will allow us to get back to in-person activities. While we were hoping that easily available, inexpensive, rapid testing might help to get us there, that has not happened. Testing results are not immediate and costs have increased for the possibility of at-home testing. Vaccines, thankfully, have been successful earlier than anticipated. With their advent, a subset of activities may soon be held in person at the building. If 100% of the people in the building are vaccinated, then small-group activities can be held in person with masking and physical-distancing protocols. These activities still carry some risk, however, so the Task Force will continue to discuss the impact of other variables.
Unfortunately, although several studies are underway, the vaccines are not available yet for children. Our Ethical Education Sunday School, challenged by the online-only presence, has begun to meet twice a month. Once a month they meet online for same-age classes and once a month they complete an activity or join for an in-person experience, using the Task Force safety guidelines. Thank you to Director of Ethical Education Samantha Stankiewicz, the chair of the Ethical Education Committee, Beth Stein, and all the teachers for their commitment to helping our families through these difficult times. As of this writing, our Administrative Director David Bland has also received his first vaccine shot. I wish you all an easy time in receiving the vaccine. I look forward to seeing my Ethical community in person.
Susan Lesh is president of the Ethical Culture Society of New Jersey.