A 30-Day Challenge

I hope two things have transpired between the time I write this Monday, November 2 and you read it Wednesday, November 4.
1. We have a clear winner of the Presidential election and this long campaign season is truly over.
2. People who said COVID-19 would disappear after the election are realizing they’re wrong.
Maybe you don’t know anyone who has had the virus and suffered from its wide, unpredictable range of symptoms. Maybe you don’t know anyone who has died, who, no matter their underlying illnesses, could have spent more time with loved ones. Maybe you don’t know a nursing home patient who hasn’t felt the touch of a family member in months, anyone who feels isolated and depressed, or a student who’s suffering from lack of time in the classroom and with friends.
Even in the unlikely event all that’s true, I’m positive your life has been affected by COVID-19. Aren’t you ready for things to return to normal? What are you willing to do to help make that happen? Will you do those things for the next 30 days?
I am challenging you to do EVERYTHING you can between today and Friday, December 4 to help things return to normal for everyone.
1. Wear a mask over your nose and mouth in public, indoor spaces.
2. Social distance when you are or are not wearing a mask. They’re not foolproof.
3. Be vigilant about handwashing, touching your face and sanitizing surfaces that you and others touch.
4. If you are under quarantine, follow the rules exactly.
5. Stay home if you aren’t feeling well.
Like the vast majority of County Mayors (a.k.a. County Executives) across Tennessee, I am not issuing a mask mandate. As I said in July, I believe it would only divide us further, causing more people to adopt a “you can’t make me” attitude. Enforcement is a real issue, something our police and court system are not prepared to do. And without enforcement, aren’t we back to the issue of personal responsibility?
This county and those around us saw a spike in positive cases beginning around October 10, which was at the end of fall break. We also saw a spike at the end of spring break. The fact is that travel increases your chances of getting the virus. We hear reports of entire families getting COVID-19 after funerals and other gatherings, and of multiple cases in churches. These are all situations where we might not follow the guidelines as closely, when we might make exceptions because we’re among people we know.
Our school system is doing a great job preventing and tracking positive cases.  Several schools have not had any cases, and none more than 10. David Crockett and Summertown Elementary are closed because quarantine requirements (14 days when you come in contact with a person with COVID-19) has caused a lack of teachers and substitutes. LCHS is closed to stop possible spread from cases whose source couldn’t be determined.
Thanks to Director of Schools Michael Adkins and Director of Coordinated School Health Jenny Golden for following State Department of Health, Department of Education, and CDC guidelines to the letter. For updates from our school system and others, check out the Tennessee Department of Education’s website each Tuesday.
I know many of you want a mask mandate and just as many are adamantly opposed to it. I made this decision based on what I believe is right for our community.
When we consider all that’s at stake, mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing are very small sacrifices to make. Let’s get our kids back in school, businesses back to full capacity, families back together, and life back as usual as quickly as possible.
I challenge you to do your part.