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Article Published November 18, 2020

A Way to Co-Exist

By Julie K. DeSarbo

I’ve always considered my hometown to be a place where people extend themselves to be kind to each other, especially the elderly residents of our community. Since March, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have spent the majority of time away from my current home in New York City and back in Guilford.

One of the healthy outlets that I value tremendously is a morning walk at the outdoor track at Guilford High School (GHS), where I have encountered a small group of people, the majority being elderly individuals, who are finding sanity in the same routine. Every person who I’ve met there over the past eight months is responsibly masked, keeping a social distance, and thoughtful of their neighbors.

Without notice, over the past several weeks, there has been a daily effort by GHS physical education staff to physically approach and ask those who are walking at the track to leave the premises when classes (small groups of students doing activities with Frisbees) are outdoors. This new policy is totally unnecessary, unjustly exclusive, and is posted nowhere. While I understand that these educators are doing what has been asked of them, at a time of overwhelming strife and division in our world, one might ask, can we please find a way to co-exist?

If administrators are concerned about a small group of students and townspeople being at the track at the same time, the gorgeous, expansive outdoor facilities at GHS, made possible by the taxpayers of this community, certainly allow staff to hold physical education classes on numerous fields. Meanwhile, at a time when many consider gyms unsafe, the elderly members of the public would be able to walk on a smooth paved surface during daylight hours without the safety hazards of uneven roads/sidewalks, traffic, leaves and icy/slick surfaces.

Julie K. DeSarbo