“Out of an abundance of caution…”
Variations of that phrase were used over and over as more and more schools were closed and events were cancelled due to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus since last week.
In the Rivertowns, the closings included the Hastings School District on March 5-6 and Mercy College from March 11-15. Mercy also announced that online instruction would be offered March 16-22. Following that decision, Mercy learned that an adjunct faculty member had tested positive for COVID-19, according to the college’s president, Tim Hall. That faculty member had last been on the Dobbs Ferry campus on March 6.
The cancellations ranged from concerts, to events at libraries, to all field trips, overnight trips, assemblies, and performances at Hastings public schools for the remainder of March and all of April.
Cancelled events were deleted from the calendars in this issue of Enterprise, up until it was printed on March 11. Readers planning to attend events still listed should check on their status before showing up.
Hour after hour COVID-19 caused change in the Rivertowns. Elsewhere in Westchester, the change was on a larger scale.
In New Rochelle, the epicenter of COVID-19 cases in Westchester, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered a 1-mile containment area around a synagogue attended by the first Westchester resident with a confirmed case of the virus. Schools, houses of worship, and other facilities that host large gatherings were closed from March 12-25, and the National Guard was called in to help clean that area and to deliver food.
The flow of information about COVID-19 felt, at times, like the flow of water from a fire hose. There were so many updates from so many sources. On top of that, updates shared on social media spurred comments and debates.
To filter such information, it helps to tune out opinions as well as reports from questionable sources. Through websites, and email blasts, and social media it’s possible to obtain first-hand information from government and school officials as well as public and private institutions. Press releases are no longer reserved for the press.
To keep up with this fluid situation, follow first-hand sources and established media outlets. Every Rivertowns school district has a section on its website for COVID-19 updates. Every village website allows residents to sign up for email blasts. Cuomo’s office posts press releases online. On a federal scale, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also an excellent source of info.
First-hand information is essential, especially against a virus without a vaccine.