Model Citizens Magazine

Getting Back To Normal by Model Citizen Robert Zabbia

As I write this, some college students are getting back to school while others are getting ready for another round of remote learning.  Some are already being sent home because of early spikes in COVID19 from off campus parties. Parents of younger children are having teleconferences with the school districts to see how the school year will start, and what plans they have for the start of school in a few weeks. Athletes are waiting to hear from the Governor to see if their fall season will be stolen from them the way that their spring season was. So far “low risk” sports will start to play in September, and “higher risk” sports will be able to practice.  Some states already cancelled football for the fall. 

Every parent needs to determine for themselves what is right for them. Many have health situations in their homes that make it too high a risk to send their children to school to potentially bring it home. My parents live in Florida, and they want to come and visit this fall, but both are higher risk, so if Danny & Jessie go back to school, they don’t want to take the chance.

Many teachers too are at a higher risk, and need to be careful, and make some tough choices. The school districts are doing very difficult work weighing the importance of socialization and education versus social distancing and keeping their students and faculty safe.  There is so much unknown about this virus still, and every precaution needs to be taken. I applaud the districts for their attempts to take all of this into account, and let students make the choice to stay home, and have others do a hybrid schedule. 

The sports world has been hurt tremendously.  We see the challenges of the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA. Student athletes are still not allowed to visit campuses and meet with the coaches face to face until September 30th.  The coaches weren’t allowed to come see them play in person at the few tournaments that happened this August. Everything is being done via film and highlights.  Players who would have already picked a school, have no idea of where they will end up.  Some sports are easier to keep social distance rules during competition, like my daughter’s equestrian team, but the coaches still aren’t allowed to come. 

Getting back to work has been a challenge for many of us.  Some have gotten used to the working from home, my wife prefers it and not dealing with the commute into NYC.  The violence that has taken over the city has changed the way many commuters look at the long trek into work. Now it is a matter of safety more than convenience. Many companies are looking at how productive many of their employees are and may save money on office space and shifting to remote working. 

My team came back once we hit stage four of the reopening. I still have a few who are working from home due to childcare issues, but working with customers and their insurance needs isn’t really a great business to have a team working remotely. Working together and communication are really necessary when having to help people with something as complicated as insurance.  Tropical Storm Isaias threw everyone a curveball and removed the ability to work remotely for thousands. It has made many companies second guess the shift to working remote. 

Unfortunately, being a Presidential election year has made this as much about politics as it has made it about public health. The debate about lock downs and masks have become a Red versus Blue issue and science is being ignored by both sides. In NY, political decisions are giving certain groups waivers, and others are being fined and shut down.  How can the MTV awards go on, but not the September 11th lights?  If it wasn’t for a huge outcry, and private groups stepping up, the memorial wouldn’t go on?  But they still can’t get together and read off the names at the World Trade Center. But celebrities from out of state can get together at Radio City and celebrate each other for silly awards that really don’t mean anything? 

Some say that the lockdowns were done to kill the economy, so Trump couldn’t win. I have lost too many friends and family to this virus to agree with that. We knew so little about it early on, that social distancing was necessary to “flatten the curve.”  But now the curve is flat. We know how to stay safe.  Wear a mask in public. I’m a freedom loving Patriot, but is wearing a mask really that bad?  Shutting down businesses to me is what is really taking away our freedom. 

There have been mistakes made on both sides. I think a countrywide mandate for masks is going to far. But I also think Florida and Texas learned that opening up too quickly was also a mistake.  Follow the science many will say.  Sci-ence noun the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of structures and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. 

It is difficult to follow something that there is no consensus on.  It is basically like saying follow the best guess of some experts. Just like the news, history and economic theory, there is no such thing as “settled science.” So please, the best guess right now is to wear a mask in public, wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, and most of all be nice to each other. The name calling for politics or yelling at people who don’t wear a mask is getting out of control. We have an opportunity to come together and beat this thing.  And most of all, our children who had their spring and summer stolen from them need to get back to normal. 

My daughter Jessica is a great example of what resiliency looks like.  Jess is an accomplished equestrian and had to come over many obstacles through her journey. As with many sports, the competitions, and even practice were put on hold.  On top of that, she had many setbacks.

Horses are magnificent animals and are just like elite athletes. They need daily workouts to stay in shape, and need attention paid to them to avoid injury.  Jessica went to the barn every day to train her horses, and still is a straight A student. Like the horse, the rider needs to stay in shape to be able to jump and control the horse.  Falling is a major danger, and Jess had a few run ins, even ending up in an ambulance after a bad fall. She had to overcome constant headaches and pain from tightness in her neck from one of these injuries. Yet she continued to compete.

We adopted Cody for her to compete with. Cody is a beautiful horse, and is young, so she could train him and compete at a higher level. Jessica was jumping three and a half feet with him. He started to act a little funny, and refused to jump at a show.  It turns out he has a ligament injury and required surgery. So before COVID even hit, Jessica lost her Spring competition. He is on the mend, and we hope to get him back soon.  But as you can see here, she got back up on another horse, this one is Papucho, and she has come in 2nd place with him in a few shows already. So no matter what you have come across, realize that there are teenagers like my Jessica, who lost their Junior year of High School, Spring, and Summer, overcome all types of obstacles, yet they still smile.   

Leave a Reply