This is an opinion piece.

With Friday-night football ramping up and classes resuming, it’s starting to feel like things are getting back to normal, at least here on Sand Mountain. 

If not completely normal, then a new, virtual normal almost like the original, real thing before the China virus interrupted our way of life. 

The term “new normal” has been used to the point of cliche to describe post-COVID-19 outbreak living. 

How quickly we adapted to increased personal space, face masks and disinfectant.  Many assume these new safety habits may hang around for months or years to come or perhaps become a permanent fixture in our daily lives.

Whether that’s a good thing or not depends on your perspective. 

A lot of businesses saw major losses during the shutdown while others thrived. Restaurants — the ones that could — put more effort into their takeout services and offered more outside seating. Retailers have begun selling more online just as many companies have converted to remote internet offices. 

With the exponential growth of new technology, it was only a matter of time for many of these changes to become commonplace. COVID-19 only sped up the process.

The same could be said for international relationships. The sleeping dragon that is China has been spreading its wings of influence more and more over the years to a point that demands action from freedom-loving nations, but it hasn’t been at the forefront of most people’s minds. 

The need for America to decouple our manufacturing reliance on the communist regime has never been more apparent, and thankfully more leaders are pushing toward that end.

Though the mass confusion and panic over COVID-19 has certainly been a negative, if, moving forward, people maintain a healthy distrust of experts and biased news media, we might come out ahead on that front, as well.

It’s hard to imagine virtual schooling, in its current iteration, could prove better than in-person teaching, but COVID-19 has forced school districts nationwide to examine and better their policies and procedures to increase safety and cut waste.

COVID-19 is still a present reality and will be for the indefinite future. More people will get infected and die from the disease. As sad as that is, we’ve got to move on. 

We need football and school because we need each other. While virtual technology has been a great tool to connect us during the shutdown, it can’t replace in-person commradery needed for a thriving community.

If we continue to adjust and adapt, life will virtually go back to normal sooner rather than later.            

Daniel Taylor is a news editor for The Reporter. His email is daniel.taylor@sandmountainreporter.com.

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