EDITORIAL: Individual decisions impact wider community in era of COVID-19

It is shaping up to be a back-to-school like no other. Normally at this time of year, we deliver a sermon about the importance of talking to teens about bush parties, tainted drugs and consent.

But with new cases of COVID-19 growing by the day and schools reopening this week, anxiety is at a whole new level.

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Which is why we were gobsmacked to learn last week about a party with upwards of 300 teens and 20-somethings in a rented British Properties mansion being broken up by police.

Unlike the early days of the pandemic, no one at this party can claim to be ignorant of the risks or the rules in place. For weeks, Dr. Bonnie Henry has warned that indoor parties are the major culprit in the virus’s recent spread into record territory. The single (so far) fine of $230 is so paltry, given the context, it makes a mockery of our enforcement of these lifesaving rules against large gatherings.

Culturally, we tend to look at “senior year” as a time when our kids begin transitioning from adolescents into independent members of society in their own right – when teenage invincibility graduates to teenage responsibility.

But, if the pandemic has taught us no other lesson, it is just how much individual decisions can impact the wider community.

Our young people must know the very real need to socialize must be balanced with the mandate to social distance.

This year, as our students return to class, let’s remind them they are already important members of society and we are counting on them every bit as much as they are counting on us.

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