by Mayor Simison

We have been doing a great job as a community and region wearing masks, keeping our distance and washing our hands. The proof is in the numbers, safety measures are working and it continues to take all of us working together to make it happen.

Just as the health and safety of Meridian residents falls on all of us, so does the ability for our schools to open their doors to provide for the in-person education and well-being of our students that many would like to see in our community. This responsibility doesn’t solely rest on the shoulders of our school district, teachers, and parents. We are all in this together and are a community that helps one another. We need to stay motivated on what we can do to stay healthy so the school district can be focused on the emotional and physical well-being of our youth. By staying vigilant, we hope to get our students back to learning in person, in an environment with a support system to lean on when needed.  

As I sat down to write this message I reflected on what I have heard from many in the community on all sides of this issue. We are all struggling as difficult decisions are being made that impact our daily lives. I can relate, as my wife and I are concerned about the stability, normalcy, and educational needs of our kids.  But what can we do? What can we control? Like most things, it all starts at home. How we act, the things we do and say are being picked up by our kids. Doing things to limit the exposure of ourselves to COVID-19 – be it who we spend time with or how we spend time with others – is a great start. Take the simple precautions of wearing masks, staying physically distant, and washing hands. Don’t let your guard down. When you enjoy the company of friends or family, stay vigilant. These are simple steps each one of us can take every day to help the West Ada School District Trustees make the decision they want to make to get our schools open for our kids.

Speaking of our Trustees, it has been said by many that no one expected to have to deal with COVID-19 when they ran for office. I think they would agree. The community members who serve as Trustees want to be focused on educating our kids to ensure a bright future for Meridian. Rather, they have been tasked with the impossible position of balancing the varying viewpoints of our students, parents, teachers and more regarding if and when schools should be open, online or everything in between. There is no easy answer when it comes to making decisions that must balance education and health and safety. I ask the community to continue to be patient and understanding of the difficult position the board members are in to do just that. More importantly, don’t forget that they are our neighbors, and even through adversity or disagreements, should be treated with kindness.

One of my favorite things to do each fall is to spend a few Friday nights watching Mountain View football and early in the season before my fingers are too cold, I enjoy live tweeting the score.  I go to the games not because I have a kid on the field, but because of the great environment. I love the atmosphere with bands playing, students cheering, future Mavs running around, parents talking and laughing - it is where the community gathers. Last Friday night there was a game at Maverick stadium with Rocky Mountain. Normally I would not miss it, but this year I was watching the game from home, as were the parents of the players, students and other members of the community. This is not the new norm, but it is the current reality. It is how we all do our part so the kids can play outdoors and we can hopefully get them indoors into buildings soon.

This is exactly what I mean when I say we need to work together. We need to do our part, however big or small it is, to get kids back into school again. Take simple actions to slow the spread of COVID-19 and don’t let your guard down because the community is counting on us all.

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay kind.      

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