New year, new challenges ahead in 2022

Published 12:08 pm Tuesday, December 28, 2021

When the clock struck midnight last New Year’s Eve, only the psychics among us could have imagined the chaos the COVID-19 virus would bring. Most of us are looking forward to a new year and change.
2021 started innocently enough, as most new years do. Even before 2021 got here, we’d all been hoping and waiting for the day when our lives would return to normal….and now 2022 is upon us, and we are still waiting for a return to normal. Or whatever “normal” will become in the wake of this pandemic.
The worldwide outbreak of the virus has definitely presented challenges for state and local health officials, who have been trying to balance the need for safety against people’s individual freedoms and the health of the economy.
Although the development and distribution of vaccines has given us hope that the outbreak will be contained soon, we’re not quite there yet. As a result, expect officials at all levels of government, including school districts and houses of worship, to continue to grapple with the most effective ways to reduce COVID-19’s spread.
We can only hope the past few months have been a learning experience for them and that they will be more nimble and efficient in dealing not only with this public health crisis, but any others that follow it.
The world didn’t stop when the virus hit, although it may have felt that way some days. And some of the issues that have been prominent this year are likely to remain so in 2022. We still must have school and do it safely. We still must build and repair roads, collect and pay taxes, deal with natural disasters, and make sure elections are fair and that everyone’s vote counts.
Locally, there is a primary election in May, and on the ballot will be several local offices — sheriff, county court clerk, circuit court clerk, trustee, and school board positions just to name a few. Also, several persons have announced their intentions to seek office, so the primary should be interesting.
The Carter County School Board has school consolidation on its mind, and plans are already in the works to enlarge and remodel Hunter Elementary School in anticipation of the closing of Unaka and Keenburg Elementary Schools.
Of course, those are just a few of the items likely to make the news in some form or fashion next year. It’s impossible to anticipate everything the next 12 months have in store for us, just as it was impossible to anticipate how this year was going to unfold.
As tough as it’s been, we’ve made it almost to the end of another year. And that feat alone is significant. As we move into the new year, let’s try to be safety conscious, considerate of our neighbors, and willing to pull together and make personal sacrifices for the greater good.
After all, 2022 is almost here. And whatever the year holds, we’ll be in it together.

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