THE NEW NORMAL – Life post COVID-19

Much of our news at the moment is the excellent trajectory of no newly reported COVID-19 cases and many who had tested positive reporting full recovery. In SA the State Government was considering three different models namely, elimination, suppression and control. They were planning on the suppression model but with our current trajectory our Premier is optimistic that elimination could be achieved.

If you are anything like me, you would hope that we can progress more quickly to lifting restrictions and getting back to normal. Is this possible? Going back to normal? As we begin thinking of life beyond COVID-19, I do not think we can go back to where we left off – in fact we will need to start with a “NEW NORMAL”. I will break my thinking down to three specific principles for the NEW NORMAL. First, this experience is a once in a lifetime experience, or is it? Up to now, yes it is. The magnitude of this pandemic and the effect on our world has been nothing short of catastrophic. It has affected every dimension of our human life, physically, social, mentally, economically and spiritually. In some places more so than in others. Yesterday I learnt that Adelaide was named as one of the safest places to be in the world in our time of COVID-19.

The first principle is that we lead our lives into the future with tremendous GRATITUDE. Above all, our lives are precious and if we treasure life for all it is, simplicity, in unity, in solidarity, as family, being present to each other and understanding that the dignity of every person is sacred and valued, then this must underpin our first step forward.

The second principle is one of RESILIENCE. We need to be resilient, and above all, build greater levels of resilience because the reality of uncertainty will be a feature of our future. Resilience means not having all our eggs in one basket, so to speak, so that if the basket is obsolete, we cannot function. As a school we have learnt our lesson. Face to face (F2F) teaching has been our bread and butter but if we cannot have access to F2F then you need to go with option B. As a school we will have several options into the future to ensure we are resilient and can respond and bounce back quickly.

The third principle (I am sure there could be several others) I propose is OPPORTUNITY. Whatever challenge we are presented with in the future we need to see as an opportunity. COVID-19, despite its effects, must be an opportunity for us as a society to reflect and ensure that we are even better prepared in the future. This is not just from a medical perspective but also from an economical and justice perspective. These unprecedented times have affected people differently and some are the poorer and other the richer. Either way it is incumbent on us to respond to the needs of our community, our nation and globally as a people.

The NEW NORMAL must have GRATITUDE, RESILIENCE and OPPORTUNITY as fundamental cornerstones. I realise that there could be many others but let us make this a starting point of our journey post-COVID-19. Our journey begins with gratitude, building our resilience to be prepared to make changes to what we have come to take for granted and seeking opportunity brought to us by the future.

Dr Paul Rijken is principal of Cardijn College, a Catholic secondary co-educational school (7-12) in the southern region of Adelaide with a total of 1120 students and 140 staff. Marcellin is a campus of Cardijn College. It provides students in Years 10 to 12 with SACE, training and apprenticeships. It has an enrolment of over 155 students and 30 staff. Paul has been the principal at Cardijn College since 2005. He has a Ph.D. from Curtin University in Science and Mathematics Education. He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educational Leaders.

1 comment on “THE NEW NORMAL – Life post COVID-19

  1. Christine Morgan

    Well written Paul. I think for many of us we are richer in that we value the simple things in life more now than ever.
    Hopefully we will not lose sight of this.

    Like

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