Football is here!

It’s a little delayed and there have been some changes. But if this is what we have to do to get our favorite pastime rolling this year, we just gotta do it.

If it’s done like the school systems have said it’s going to be done, we’re not going to have as many people in the stands this year.

That’s a small price to pay to keep the season going.

There’s risk involved any year in any sport. This year’s different and carries its own risk but it doesn’t mean we can’t try to make the best of it. Yeah we’re going to hear some complaining (our other favorite pastime) and here’s a suggestion — if you don’t like it, stay at home this year.

The students who’ve worked so hard to make the season happen deserve your support. Cheering in the stands isn’t the only way to lend it.

People acting irresponsibly is what will bring this season to its knees. There’s a difficult season ahead and it’s pretty likely we’re going to see more games canceled, so the only way to mitigate that possibility is to follow the rules and ... well ... hope for the best.

Let’s be honest with ourselves. The chance that the remainder of the season will continue without interruption is about as good as getting a coronavirus vaccine on Nov. 1. It’s a great claim to make but it’s not likely.

So let’s keep hope (and the football season) alive this year by not only rooting for our teams to pull out a W but by paying attention to another three Ws — Wash your hands, Watch your distance and Wear a mask.

There’s more than one kind of virus

It’s almost a relief to talk about another kind of virus after reporting on the new coronavirus for months, but this one’s been a real pain for the county.

This week we saw a ransomware attack on county servers and the slow, painstaking process of fixing the damage of such an attack. It just takes one person clicking on the wrong link and boom, the whole system has been hijacked.

Every business and household is vulnerable.

It’s easy to forget how much we rely on the internet and technology until it’s gone. Schools this year have taken a crash course in online learning and over 3,000 students in this area are exclusively taking classes via computer.

By the way, you read that number right. As we continue working in this virtual environment, we’ve seen our internet connections become a matter of public health and public safety.

This most recent attack didn’t stop 911 from functioning but it did affect some of their computers. Let’s hope those security measures that kept us up and running hold true for any future attacks.

Last year our courts took a trip back in time and worked from paper dockets to keep functioning because of a ransomware attack. This year, court processes have been effectively crippled by the coronavirus.

Ah, there it is again.

Let’s talk about something else. Hmmmm ... politics or religion anyone?

Let’s talk about the internet

Virtual classes for students aren’t a thing of the future anymore. They’re here and will continue to be a part of nearly every school system’s arsenal even after the (cross our fingers and hope) demise of COVID-19.

But connectivity is still an issue.

At this point there are approximately 1.6 million Georgians without internet. According to 2014-2018 U.S. Census data, only 77% of Floyd County households have access to broadband internet subscriptions.

That leaves 23% of households without reliable high-speed internet. That puts a lot of children at a serious disadvantage.

While our Legislature has proposed measures to deal with the issue of providing rural communities with affordable broadband services, none have really taken hold.

As we (hopefully) shed some of the complications 2020 has placed upon us, we should focus on making sure rural areas have solid internet connectivity. The disadvantage it puts on children could turn out to be insurmountable going forward.

Thank you for reading.

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