We are now in the 17th month of this pandemic and in a time, we should be advancing in the progression of herd immunity, we are experiencing having mask mandates again along with major venues and employers requiring vaccines and routine testing for retained employees and ensuring new hires are vaccinated. These are signs that we aren’t out of the woods as of yet.
As you know I am all for the masking. However, there are some in the autism community that cannot maintain the senses of a mask on their face. In many schools, the decision to mask has been laid in the hands of the parents and if they do not get to make to decide, the decision is a one-size fits all across the school or board with a divided constituency. There have also been many districts not offering a remote option this year, although many in my state do run in-house online academies. Just as autism is a spectrum, some excel with online learning and some it becomes a horror story. Oftentimes, students with autism are more at risk with comorbid conditions among other issues such as the inability to speak, maintain their mask on their face, etc. it can be difficult to ensure that they are safe in the classroom. Furthermore, it is whether parents really can/or want to invest the time in having their child or adult with autism home around the clock as some prefer the time their children spend in school as a respite to recharge.
Vaccinations for the most part are helping. Besides the anxiety and fear of the jab that many autistic persons have, there is stigma because of what is in it and is of mixed opinion of its effectiveness. Everyone is entitled to make their decision and yes there have been these “breakthrough” cases of those who have been vaccinated, however the result of the vaccinated ending up in the hospital has been minimal. With employers mandating vaccination and testing if that is not wanted, they are only doing the liable part to ensure those who cannot or choose not to receive the vaccine have a less likely opportunity to contact the virus
As a result of the mandates, we are seeing people leave their jobs, as they have already been doing throughout the pandemic because they are overwhelmed or other factors. We are also seeing the need for those attending large events and venues in large cities such as New York require the Vaccine card or proof of a negative test. We are also seeing the same in residential camps having these requirements as well. All these extra steps can be a tough pill to swallow for some and have a false belief that our rights are being taken away. In my honest opinion, getting vaccinated or getting a test, whatever it may be is being a good neighbor or doing a civic duty as people of this great country. We are so fortunate for those that are in support roles in not only the vaccination and testing processes, but also those in supporting roles in these events as they require extra cleaning and have some additional risk.
There are so many things that we still cannot do because of the pandemic and we miss them. Everyone globally wishes for the world to return to a normal state of mind and there have been attempts to do so. However, when this is done it can only take one infected person to have several other infected with the virus. This virus has also drained many emotionally and mentally, including myself. When we seem to take one step forward, we seem to take two steps back. We all must do our part to ensure that everyone is cautious and safe as we continue to navigate this virus. I cannot affirm the end is in sight and we will probably experience waves in the winters. People have politicized this issue, but it still needs to be taken seriously because it can become really bad to the point where death is involved and it becomes hard on other parties other than one person. We as people must do part to protect others too to ensure that they are safe by staying home when sick and taking care of ourselves. It may seem hard to want to not leave the home and some employers sometimes don’t care, but you have to think of the others around you.