Coming together while COVID still has a hold

It has been fantastic to see our schools and area nonprofits and businesses back to holding open events, creating more face-to-face connection than has been the case for the past two-plus years of pandemic life. Isn’t it great to have school sports back full steam for all levels of competition? It’s such a valuable part of learning for elementary, middle and high school students. What is found on the soccer field or basketball court are skills that can benefit our children not only for their school careers, but also on into their adult lives. It’s the same for other extracurricular activities, like band or theater, which have been challenging during COVID.

Much is lost for children when the year they would have come out and taken part of any of these activities is a time of shut down. It’s next to impossible to make up for that time, when the initial willingness to try something new is denied. The confidence that would have been built can take on a downward slide from which it is extremely difficult to recover.

So it’s very tempting to just jump back in and let the viruses surrounding us have their way. However, going into the holidays and in their aftermath, there has been a rise in the COVID infection rate (see Debra Aleksinas’ story on Litchfield County’s positivity rate here.) The flu and RSV, as well as other infections, have run rampant this season, taking advantage of fewer people protecting themselves in public to affect their unchecked spread after a couple of years of better control with mask wearing.

How many people do you know who have tested positive after a couple of years of remaining unscathed? There are too many of us. It’s to our benefit that the vaccines and boosters have given most of us a layer of protection that was not part of our lives in 2020, yet COVID is still a devastating illness, depending on the severity of the case and the health of the person affected.

Keep thinking of protecting yourself and those around you with distance and masking, and whatever else you feel works, even as we all continue to try to enrich our lives and those of our families, friends and neighbors by reconnecting and gathering once again. The balance of maintaining our mental and physical health is not easily defined in these times, but it’s critical that we all try. And remember that outdoor or generally open, well-ventilated activities are among the safest still.

Be well but continue to do everything possible to enjoy life.


“We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.”

— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “I Have A Dream” speech in Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963

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In 2024, the Contemporary Visual Arts Scholarship was renamed the Warren Prindle Arts Scholarship. A longtime art educator and mentor to young artists at HVRHS, Prindle announced that he will be retiring from teaching at the end of the 2023-24 school year. Recently in 2022, Prindle helped establish the school’s new Kearcher-Monsell Gallery in the library and recruited a team of student interns to help curate and exhibit shows of both student and community-based professional artists. One of Kearcher-Monsell’s early exhibitions featured the work of Theda Galvin, who was later announced as the 2023 winner of the foundation’s $80,000 scholarship. Prindle has also championed the continuation of the annual Blue and Gold juried student art show, which invites the public to both view and purchase student work in multiple mediums, including painting, photography, and sculpture.

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