In the middle of the Civil War — with the country split in two, with tens and tens of thousands of newly empty chairs at dining room tables across the nation, with industries struggling to thrive within a disturbed economy — President Abraham Lincoln signed a proclamation encouraging his fellow citizens to observe a day of Thanksgiving.
So here we are, Thanksgiving 2020, in a year that will be remembered for a pandemic that has claimed more than 245,000 lives and sent thousands of businesses into financial ruin; and for a period of civil, political, and emotional unrest not seen since the Civil Rights Era; and and for loss — the civic traditions that make our town fun, the birthday parties and gatherings that knit our social fabric tighter, and those who have contributed so much to our culture (thinking about people such as Jack Buckley, John Lewis, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Carl Reiner, Little Richard, Mary Pratt, Tomie dePaolo, Katherine Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Terry Jones, and Eddie Van Halen just to name a few. A few! There’s more! Good Lord! This list doesn’t even include Kenny Rogers or Regis Philbin!)
But it’s our duty and responsibility to give thanks. And Abington News will do just that later this week with the help of a few community members. Stay tuned.
However, as COVID-19 cases continue to spike nationally and in Massachusetts, public health officials are urging people to give second thought about whether they truly, essentially, really need to host or attend the traditional big family Thanksgiving Day gatherings this year. Social gatherings are known social spreaders, especially those that take place indoors. Even remaining six feet apart isn’t enough of a safety precaution, public health officials say, when multiple people are talking, laughing, celebrating in the same room. Not to mention the fact masks come off while eating.
Abington Health Agent Marty Golightly points to state guidelines when asked how people should approach the greatest of feast days: Small group gatherings, preferably with family members who see each other regularly; no more than 10 people inside a private residence; improve ventilation by opening doors and windows when possible; avoid buffet-style set-ups; consider bringing your own silverware and plates; and more.
Board of Health Chairman Chris Schultz suggested people review the list of seven questions proposed by the CDC when deciding whether to travel for Thanksgiving:
- Are you, someone in your household, or someone you will be visiting at increased risk for getting very sick from COVID-19?
- Are cases high or increasing in your community or your destination? Check CDC’s COVID Data Tracker for the latest number of cases.
- Are hospitals in your community or your destination overwhelmed with patients who have COVID-19?
- Does your home or destination have requirements or restrictions for travelers?
- During the 14 days before your travel, have you or those you are visiting had close contact with people they don’t live with?
- Do your plans include traveling by bus, train, or air which might make staying 6 feet apart difficult?
- Are you traveling with people who don’t live with you?
Living in a free society demands a certain amount of personal responsibility, particularly when the actions of one can have a significant impact on the lives of others. Choose wisely.
For the first time in more than a century, the traditional Abington/Whitman-Hanson game won’t be played Thanksgiving morning. This is probably for the best for Whitman/Hanson, who lost last year’s game 27-14.
The Abington Public Library is back open for in-person browsing after a problem with the HVAC system forced the library to temporarily close last week. According to Library Director Deborah Grimmett, the circulating and return air fans shut down — and that’s a problem when you’re trying to continuously introduce fresh air into an enclosed space. As of Monday morning, the problem has been fixed and the library is back open for browsing and borrowing.
It’s the traditional abbreviated wek for Abington’s students. The Green cohort attended today, the Wave cohort will attend Tuesday, and everyone will be home for a half day of remote learning Wednesday. The School committee will get an update on how everything is going at its scheduled meeting Tuesday night.
SPECIAL TOWN MEETING
If you haven’t had a chance to watch the 90-minute long Special Town Meeting from last week, here it is:
School Committee, 7 p.m., MS/HS Auditorium. Agenda includes an update from the social, emotional learning subcommittee, and a regular report from Superintendent Schafer.
Flu Clinic, 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Senior Center. For adults and children over 4. Free.