One of the most fulfilling aspects of belonging to a community is the discovery that even while we are physically distanced, we remain bound by the memories of our shared experience — long before this stay-at-home business began.

For all our best laid plans, growing uncertainties surrounding this new reality wiped out nearly every scheduled community event from spring well into fall. 

Casualties of the pandemic include the growing list of community traditions that nurture our spirits and help make us who we are. The KP Livable Community Fair, held each spring at the Key Peninsula Civic Center in Vaughn, was forced to cancel. The same for the annual Opening Day of the 2020 boating season at the Longbranch Marina and the Longbranch Memorial Day Dance, which typically fills the historic clubhouse to capacity year after year. The KPCS Annual Logging Show is canceled. The Two Waters Art Walk: canceled. Organizers of the KP Farm Tour and the Fiber Art Show slated for the first weekend in October fell victim to the pandemic as well. 

The Peninsula High School Class of 2020 carries on despite the challenges that arrived, seemingly out of nowhere, with the first major pandemic to strike our nation in more than 100 years. The early school closure meant the loss of competition in spring sports and the last few heady months normally reserved for last minute cram sessions and senior prom. The commencement exercises will be the first of their kind and we trust that all will still be filled with the tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment that only comes from achieving something big.

Our wish for you is that the Class of 2020 feel as confident in the community you call home as our community feels about you, and that wherever your path in life leads, you will remember that you come from a special place and that the genuine can-do KP spirit will always be with you. 

Memorial Day 2020 was snuffed out by the coronavirus we neither see, hear, smell, taste or feel until it’s too late. Yes, most people will recover, but because the SARS-Cov-2 is so new, the long term-health consequences for survivors of COVID-19 are entirely unknown. 

We go to press this Memorial Day, a day of tradition deeply rooted in the worst conflict our nation has ever faced: To be at war with ourselves. 

It rained tears.

In a pandemic, dedicated career public health officials are far and away the best people to deliver timely, accurate and essential public health information directly to the public. Their message is based on science devoid of politics and entirely devoted to public health. Our highest priority is to respond by following their guidance.

The danger of political polarization in times of crisis is that it stymies real action when cooperation and unity are needed. 

We must dig deep to find our courage and strength of character to move forward together for the common good.   

Research scientists, doctors and public health officials have learned much about this coronavirus in a short period of time. The race toward a vaccine is well into its second phase of human trials. If this vaccine proves safe and effective, it could head into production and distribution, poised to become the fastest vaccine ever developed.

Meanwhile we wait. Public health officials caution it could be over a year before vaccinations are widely available. How can we protect ourselves until then and keep our economy running in the process?  

Researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the University of Pennsylvania determined in May that small droplets generated by human speech can linger in the air for over eight minutes. The experiment, published in the peer-reviewed Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences National Journal, used highly sensitive laser light to reveal how thousands of oral droplets per second are emitted when we speak.

While the experiment was not specifically geared to transmission of the novel coronavirus, it showed those tiny droplets have a longer hang time in the air than previously thought. 

We must remain clear headed as we focus on what we as a community can accomplish together. The Key Peninsula currently has the lowest numbers of infections in all of Pierce County.

The only way we can bolster and restore our local economy is by ensuring everyone feels safe enough to be in public places.