It's really hard to even think about what to write about right now, things are changing so dramatically and so quickly. A week ago when I sat down to write my weekly editorial we were being advised to not be in large groups and to stay home when possible, then before most of you even had a chance to sit down with the issue that came in your mail or you bought at the store, Idaho was facing a new reality. We were now one of the states with orders to close businesses and to stay home and work remotely. In a blink of an eye our world looked completely different.
On Monday morning I, along with many other parents in town, suddenly became teacher to my child (teaching assistants might be a better description) as the Mountain Home School District re-opened completely online. My son's teacher has been in close communication with us throughout the break and I felt at least somewhat prepared from her reassurances and I hope it was the same for the rest of you. I know these aren't ideal circumstances, but I know that our teachers and the rest of the school staff are doing everything they possibly can to make the best out of a really scary situation. All of this is new to them, as well, and I know this is not how they wanted to spend the year I hope out of all of this we all come to have a deeper appreciation for the schools that help shape and form our children as they act as their second homes throughout their childhoods.
Many of us are worried about our finances as this situation deepens, how are we going to pay our rent, put food on the table and if, god forbid, you get gravely ill from this virus manage to cover the medical bills that will come from an extended stay in the hospital. I really wish I had some type of answer, but all any of us can do right now is to closely watch what the government is doing to help keep our economy from completely collapsing and to use our voices when needed to let our elected officials know how we need to be represented.
As the May Primaries approach it looks like it will be done completely by Absentee Ballot, do no tlet this intimidate you into not using your voice in these important local elections. Requesting a mail in ballot is extremely easy, in fact, when I lived in a very busy polling precinct in Boise I chose to always vote that way. Make sure to exercise your most fundamental right by voting absentee and who knows you may never go back to in person voting again.
Most importantly in these crazy times, please remember what type of community it is we live in. Treat your neighbors or that elderly person or pregnant lady in the grocery store the way you would want your grandparent or wife to be treated. If you think you are scared as a relatively healthy young person, imagine how you would feel as them and trying to get your needed supplies. To those of you who are not comfortable to go out and get your necessities, please reach out to someone as so many people are willing to help right now.
Another dangerous situation that you may not have thought about is the possibility of an increase in domestic violence. Victims are now stuck at home with their abusers and unable to get the chance to communicate their needs. Please if you know anyone who you feel might be in danger during this period of isolation, find a way to reach out to them (with discretion to keep them as safe as possible). If you are in an unsafe environment and need help, just know that the Elmore County Domestic Violence Council are still manning the phones and doing everything they can to keep our community safe. You can reach them at 208-587-3300 24 hours a day.
I think it is safe to say that how this virus plays out in Elmore County is still very much unknown, but by keeping the lines of communication open to the vulnerable among us and being mindful of our actions and those of the people around us we can make sure we all get through these trying times as safely as possible.
Before I sign off for the week I would like to take the moment to join other editors and editorial boards throughout the state on urging Governor Brad Little to issue a moratorium on evictions. People who just two weeks ago were bringing home paychecks and covering family expenses are now being laid off at an alarming rate. Unemployment claims increased by nearly 1,300% last week and it is only going to continue to increase in the days ahead. Most people's rent and mortgage payments are due as of today and many of them don't know how they are going to cover that expense. Disallowing evictions is an unprecedented move, but these are unprecedented times. In recent days Governor Little has came out as saying that he has advised landlords to not evict, but today we need something stronger than advice. We need our government to take decisive action on this matter and keep people in their homes. Not only is losing the roof over your head devastating, but this will also cause these families to have to move into their family members homes, in with friends or neighbors, stay in hotels and even shelters. In this time of social distancing forcing families to move into more crowded circumstances is a disservice to them and to the rest of the community in our attempts to slow the spread of the virus. Please join me in urging our government to take action to protect those in need during these crazy days we are living in.
I'm wishing you all good health and peace of mind as we "come together" to make the most of an unprecedented time in world history.