A quick skim of the CDC’s latest COVID guidelines might give the impression that this fall could feel like the ones we had in the Before Times. Millions of Americans will work in person at offices, and schools and universities will be back in full swing. There will be few or no masking, testing, or vaccination mandates. Sniffles or viral exposures won’t be reason enough to keep employees or students at home. And requirements for “six feet” will be mostly relegated to the Tinder profiles of those seeking trysts with the tall.
Americans have been given the all-clear to dispense with many precautions that defined life over the past year-and-a-half. But just because we can do something doesn’t mean we will—or should. The collective trauma of the pandemic has created a new set of social norms, and many of us will be reluctant to abandon them, even as the threat of the virus recedes.
The “new normal” won’t look exactly like the old normal—it will be a hybrid version, with some people fully vaccinated and eager to return to life as it was before. In contrast, others remain cautious and continue to practice social distancing and other safety measures.
This soft closing of the pandemic is likely to create tension in workplaces and schools, as those who are ready to move on clash with those who aren’t. It will also present challenges for businesses and organisations that accommodate both groups.
The key to navigating this transition period will be flexibility and understanding. We need to respect each other’s comfort levels and give people the space to make their own choices. And we need to must remember that, even though the worst of the pandemic is over, the virus is still out there, and we all need to do our part to keep it under control.
The pandemic has changed us, and we’re not going back to the way things were. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves and our society over the past year-and-a-half, and if we can hold on to the lessons we’ve learned, we can emerge from this period stronger and better.
Schools have struggled to find the right mix of in-person and online learning.
Businesses have had to adapt to a more remote workforce.
Many people are still uncomfortable with the idea of returning to normal life.
There is a risk of tension between those who are ready to move on and those who aren’t
Flexibility and understanding will be key to navigating this transition period.
Remember that the virus is still out there, and we all must do our part to keep it under control.
What do you think the \”new normal\” will look like? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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