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Viewpoint: Focus on ‘physical distancing,’ not ‘social distancing’

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Michele Sciavoni Guest Columnist

By Michele Schiavoni

For many, this was the first week of working remotely for more than a day. As one of my colleagues mentioned, if there were ever a convenient time to be isolated – it’s now. The near endless opportunities to stay connected from texting to Zoom meetings allow us to stay in touch despite being sequestered.

It’s true that there are more ways to be connected today than ever. Connectivity is exceedingly helpful at times such as this, but it is no replacement for a sense of community and fellowship we experience when we are proximate.

We shouldn’t be talking about social distancing but rather physical distancing – the two concepts are radically different. If anything, we need to be creative to ensure we remain social during this unusual time of separation and sequestration.

Our humanity is fueled by engaging with others. As we move forward into another week of virtual living, let’s remember to be creative to establish ways to maintain a sense of community and fellowship. Offer to run an errand for someone in your neighborhood who can’t drive. Don’t take more than you need from a grocery shelf. Foster a shelter dog or cat. Order lots of takeout. Write a check to a charity. Thank a health care worker. Perhaps most important, be kind.

All of us will process this new “temporary” normal differently. Let’s be mindful that for some this is frightening, for others exhausting as they balance work and home schooling and for others threatening as they worry about how to make a rent or mortgage payment.

Americans are known for their volunteer spirit. Whether it’s Katrina or 9-11, we engage. This pandemic is a different kind of disaster and a first for us but I’m confident we can weather this if we channel our kindness, generosity of spirit and creativity that I think help define what it means to human.

Michele Schiavoni is director of external relations and marketing for the Delaware Prosperity Partnership.

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