This is the second installment of a series of columns produced by the Putnam County COVID Defense Team explaining, from personal perspectives, the need to adhere to guidelines intended to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

By Renee Miller

2nd Grade teacher, SPPS

I think most people would agree that these last 8 months have been extremely challenging. Routines changed, the economy took a hit, and lives were lost. COVID-19 has made us all reevaluate things and give up some of the comforts and conveniences we enjoy. I’m one person who has been asked to do certain things differently, and even though it’s not always easy, I want to do it to help protect others.

I am a 2nd grade teacher at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School, and many things have changed in the realm of education. Certain activities and ways of doing things are now different, but I am amazed each day at how well everyone in the school system is adapting to these changes. The positivity I continue to see each day in the midst of all this uncertainty is inspiring. If young children can roll with the changes being asked of us, then adults can too.

As a mother of two daughters who have Cystic Fibrosis, a disease that affects the lungs, pancreas, and other organs of the body, I need to be cautious about germ prevention to help protect my family. I understand how challenging it can be to stay diligent in this endeavor, and that it’s not always convenient to do so. Since the coronavirus hit Ohio, we have all been asked to wear masks, social distance, and watch for signs of illness. Even though it isn’t what we want to do, I think it is necessary right now.

Sacrifices have been made by everyone. I think of everyone working in healthcare right now, businesses trying to adapt, people struggling with loneliness, and those who are losing their loved ones. I know a lot of people who are overwhelmed and doing everything they can to combat coronavirus. Parents have to juggle working to provide for their families with quarantining and keeping others safe. People want to continue going to work, but sometimes that isn’t possible when family members are needed to quarantine from exposure to others or have coronavirus themselves. All of us are being called to take precautions to help protect others, and I believe that it is necessary right now. To me, wearing a mask and taking other precautions to be safe shows respect for one another, and the minor inconveniences are worth it. It’s definitely a balancing act, keeping your family physically healthy while also staying mentally and spiritually healthy as well. Overall, I believe that we need to be strong in our faith, and choose faith over fear. Being cautious isn’t choosing fear, it’s choosing to help protect others, especially those who are most vulnerable to this disease. Please help prevent the spread of COVID- 19.

By Pastor Kenneth L. Pollitz

New Creation Lutheran Church

Even with the mandate of social distancing, it’s quite possible that many of us may feel as if an unquantifiable number of people are trying to invade our space. No, I’m not talking about the random folks we encounter who are breaching the invisible six-foot perimeter that we’re attempting to retain wherever we go. What I am speaking of, given this pervasive pandemic, is the multitude of entities and individuals who have exercised some measure of authority to present us with directives for how it is that we live our daily life and mitigate the spread.

Never before in my lifetime, have federal, state and local governments and all their collective subordinates seemed to care so much about how I behave at home, at play, and even at work. We’re now all taking a multitude of new cues from some relatively new sources.

Mandates, guidance, warnings, rules, and protocols are being hurled at us every day.

Ever-respectful of those who seek to lead us safely through this public health threat, as a pastor of a Christian church called to lead and shepherd people of faith, I choose to follow the lead and wisdom of those who are working tirelessly to steer this country, and especially this county, to ease the spread of this dreaded virus.

So, MY WHY, as pertains to mask wearing, physical distancing, and hand washing, is because it does, if you will, come from above. That said, more of MY WHY comes from an even higher power. Ultimately, I take my cue from someone who mandated me to love my neighbor as myself. I take another cue in the divine directive that “When you do it to one of the least of these, you do it unto Me.” Elsewhere, I am mandated to “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” If that’s not enough, I’ve also read the urging of a great apostle who instructs “So let us not grow weary in doing what is right.”

This is all part of MY WHY I wear them, I stand where I stand, and I wash as often as I do. I hope you join me, too!