Iowa schools are facing tough choices as the number of cases of coronavirus in the state continues to skyrocket. For the first time during the pandemic, over 1,000 Iowans were hospitalized yesterday due to complications from COVID-19. The Des Moines Register reports that on October 25th the state reported 561 hospitalizations. Yesterday that number was 1,034, an increase of 84%.

I got an email from the Marion Independent School District over the weekend that said that students at the high school would be going back to the hybrid plan that they began the year with. Students separated into two groups, some going two days a week, the others three days. The other days students will stay home and do online learning. This plan will be in effect through December 4th. Will that be enough time? Will other buildings in the district follow suit? All unanswered questions at this point. Other school districts are doing the same thing. Others are petitioning the State Board of Education to go to online learning only.

The bottom line is that our behaviours need to change if we have any chance of getting this pandemic under control. Mask wearing should be done when out in public. All the time. I hate to say it, but limit time in enclosed spaces like shops and restaurants. I know it isn't fair to those businesses, but the virus spreads like crazy especially indoors. If we don't alter our behaviors the numbers will continue to rise. Imagine what things could look like in late December and early January.

Yesterday brought news from Pfizer that their vaccine could be up to 90% effective against the virus. It's great news, but don't let your guard down. The vaccine likely won't be widely available until sometime in the spring or summer of 2021. That leaves all of us with a lot of work to do.

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