It’s hard to know what to do at times. Sometimes it’s as simple as what you should have for dinner or what socks to wear with those pants. Sometimes the choices are a little more difficult. We’re on the edge of this pandemic. In other countries, stories of overwhelming medical need are abounding.
In the United States, it depends on where you live how quickly, and how drastically, steps are being taken. Colleges closing or moving to online-only classes. Public schools shutting down, sending parents into a tailspin. What do you do with school-aged kids if you’re working? What do you do if your work closes? And for those of us who are in charge of workplaces, do you close? What do you cancel? When is too early? When is too late?
My impression is that this is like getting a hurricane warning. You know something big is coming your way. No one can tell you exactly how bad it’s going to be, but it could be awful. Or it could be just another storm to weather. Or it could be a little windy where you are and people down the road could be losing their homes. So you ask yourself, do I stay or do I go? Or you realize there’s nowhere for you to go, or no way to get out, so you have to hunker down. And just like the mandatory evacuations that help take pressure off of emergency services, we’re looking at “social distancing” and the cancellation of large group events in the hopes that these actions will slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
I’m a library director. I am responsible for my staff and to my community. We are a small staff. It wouldn’t take too many people being sick to make covering hours difficult. But what does my town need? We have ebooks, online databases, other electronic resources that you can access remotely. But that’s not a library. Where are the college kids getting online if their college closes the campus? For the last week we’ve had people conducting business from our library because they need the network. If stores remain open, do I remain open? Do I cancel our programs because it might gather too many people?
The frustrating thing is that no one is making those decisions for me. And I don’t have the information I need.