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Keep your guard up as COVID numbers fall

Mississippi’s COVID-19 numbers seem to be flattening or at least not climbing at as quick a daily pace as they had been in recent weeks and Gov. Tate Reeves has relaxed some restrictions on gatherings in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Still medical professionals and others have expressed concern about the rollback of some restrictions as schools, including colleges, are now back in session.

The concern is the numbers might begin to rise again as people begin to let their guards down. After all a spike did occur earlier this year after the initial shutdowns were relaxed.

As Natchez-Adams Schools went back into session last week things went rather smoothly after a few opening day hiccups with students and teachers trying to log in to the distance learning software.

Since opening day, the school district has adjusted plans and scaled back in person class days to only Mondays and Wednesdays after 80% of students chose to attend in-person classes.

The original plan was for the 20% of the district’s students attending hybrid classes — two-days a week in person and three days a week online only — and splitting the in person days to have half the students at each school attend in-person classes on Mondays and Wednesdays and the other half of each school’s students attending in-person classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

With only 20% of students opting for the hybrid schedule, however, school officials decided it was more efficient to have all of the students attend in-person classes on Mondays and Wednesdays only.

With the small number of in-person students, schools should have adequate space to socially distance while holding in-person classes two days per week only.

As we adjust to this new reality, hopefully, people have learned by now that it is up to each of us to protect ourselves during the COVID-19 era.

Not only are schools back in session but many restaurants are open, some churches are holding services, some football games are being played. We do not have to go to those events in person if we are vulnerable to COVID-19 because of our age or underlying health issues.

If we do go to such public events, it is up to us to keep our distance, wear a mask, wash our hands and not touch our faces.

We don’t necessarily need laws or executive orders to protect ourselves.

Clearly, some people are not worried about the prospect of getting COVID-19 as plenty of people are not following the protocols as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others.

Those people are only thinking of themselves, though. We must all do our part not only to protect ourselves from COVID-19 but also to prevent spreading it to others around us. As the city’s current public service campaign states, “Wear the mask, it is the simple ask.”

The life you save could be the life of a loved one or even your own.

It is one thing to gamble with your own life but we don’t have the right to gamble with the lives of people we might come into contact with and inadvertently spread the disease because we were not following protocols.

Keep your guard up.

Scott Hawkins it editor of The Natchez Democrat. Reach him at 601-445-3540 or scott.hawkins@natchezdemocrat.com.