Nearly all can agree that it is time to put 2020 in the rear-view mirror. But we can’t close the books on what we must do to make the new year as healthy and prosperous as possible.

While we will have a new calendar in place soon, COVID-19 is on its own schedule. With renewed coronavirus surges likely to continue in the months ahead, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA) are coming together to urge Hoosier organizations and individuals to redouble virus mitigation efforts.

The strategies to accomplish this imperative are not new. But they are the primary steps to benefit students, teachers, employees and businesses:

  • Wear a face covering when outside of the home to protect you and others.
  • Avoid public gatherings and follow social distancing guidelines.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Stay home if you are feeling ill.

It’s true that the Indiana Chamber and ISTA do not see eye-to-eye on every issue. But this is all about each and every person doing what is best for their own families, our people and our state. It is critical that we do so now.

It is all about people – today’s employees and our future workforce. Our workplaces and schools are inextricably tied in how we address this pandemic. The strains on the education system directly impact the workplace as well with parents/workers caught in a nearly impossible balancing act.

Our teachers and schools have done a tremendous job to provide safe and very different learning environments. But we can’t keep our teachers and students safe, as well as employees at all businesses, without vigilance in following these safety precautions.

We join state and local government leaders, as well as Indiana’s leading health care organizations, to emphasize the impacts of this pandemic beyond the critical health care factors.

The news about vaccines and antibody therapies is welcome, but neither will be an immediate solution. We must execute these important safeguards to protect our people and to open (or reopen) schools and businesses safely with the ability to remain that way.

Kevin Brinegar, Indiana Chamber of Commerce president, and Keith Gambill, Indiana State Teachers Association president

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