Opinion | Voice of The Southern

Voice of The Southern: Thumbs up to Carbondale Warming Center; thumbs down to COVID-19 escalation, cancellations
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Voice of The Southern

Voice of The Southern: Thumbs up to Carbondale Warming Center; thumbs down to COVID-19 escalation, cancellations

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Thumbs up to the Carbondale Warming Center, which has decided to stay open past its planned April 1 closure date so people can have a safe place to stay as COVID-19 spreads throughout the country. Last month, the warming center — typically only open overnight during the winter months — quickly transitioned into a 24/7 facility providing critical shelter to more than 30 people who are experiencing homelessness during a stay-at-home order. Thanks to a lifeline from the state and numerous “unbelievable” donations from Carbondale-area residents, the shelter plans to remain open until at least April 30, and is located at 608 E. College St. in an old dormitory building across from the former Carbondale police station. The center is still in need of donations, especially food and paper products. Hot catered meals, as well as prepared frozen meals, such as meat balls that can be reheated in a crockpot, are ideal. The center is also in need of paper plates and paper towels. Anyone interested in dropping off a donation is encouraged to call 618-319-2240.

Thumbs down to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Southern Illinois. We’d been warned for weeks that the increase was coming, so it’s not a very big surprise. And, we’d like to add that the increase is probably just going to continue — it’s the nature of the way things are right now. It is, however, another good time to remind everybody to stay inside and adhere to social distancing measures. Don’t leave home unless you have to. Don’t visit with friends. Don’t have large gatherings with family. If we all adhere to the rules set forth by health care professionals, then this will all be behind us much faster. But it can’t be done until we all follow the guidelines.

Thumbs down to all the cancellations because of the COVID-19 outbreak happening to our beloved events here in Southern Illinois, like HerrinFesta Italiana and the River to River Relay. The correct decisions are being made to cancel the events, but it still is rotten to think about. Who can imagine a summer without HerrinFesta? Or the relay. Or anything else that’s been canceled or will be soon. It’s hard to think about — not to mention how it’s going to be financially for some of the organizations. But, nonetheless, it’s the right decision, and the right thing to do right now. The majority of events will return next year, and we expect them to be packed with people. But, until then, let’s stay home.

Thumbs up to family and friends of Ruth Tindall, who made her 90th birthday quite special Wednesday with a birthday parade in Murphysboro. It’s difficult to celebrate a birthday when you have to be 6 feet away from everybody, so her family organized a drive-by parade to help her celebrate the milestone. It’s this kind of ingenuity that makes us believe that we’ll get through this, no matter how long it takes. It’s also great to see people getting creative to celebrate milestones and happy moments.

Thumbs up to SIU Carbondale for giving most students the flexibility to choose a pass/fail option for their spring semester classes rather than letter grades. The university did the same thing 50 years ago when campus was shut down three weeks early as days of protests against the Vietnam War and related events escalated. In a joint letter, Interim Chancellor John Dunn and Provost Meera Komarraju said the decision was “not easy to make” and presents numerous challenges related to accreditation requirements, grades required for prerequisite courses, GPAs to determine scholarship eligibility, and others. “However, we believe that this is the best decision for students given the challenges you are facing and the unique situation we are experiencing,” they wrote. Good for SIU officials making the right decision in a tough time for everybody, including students.

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