County board ignores impacts of COVID-19

To the editor:

It was brought to my attention that a member was forced to resign from the Shawano County Board this week when the board members refused to grant his request to extend the provision allowing members to attend meetings virtually during the pandemic.

One might not immediately appreciate the reason for my duress and lest this incident be swept under the carpet, let me provide some background: Based solely upon their ages, the former member and his wife are both considered “high risk” in our current pandemic situation, as is their disabled daughter.

The former member and his wife are their daughter’s sole caretakers, and in order to preserve their own health and therefore hers, they have been strictly adherent to the recommended precautions during this time, including attending all meetings virtually to avoid contact with individuals exposed to or carrying COVID-19.

The Shawano County Board has been disregarding the national guidelines, however. In addition to no longer allowing members to attend meetings virtually, they also have not been mandating that members mask during the meetings which are held in a small room where it is impossible to socially distance as recommended.

These proceedings are in stark contrast to the surrounding county boards, all which are taking responsible actions to protect their membership, including allowing virtual meeting attendance and holding their in-person meetings with proper social distancing practices in place while requiring members to mask at all times.

It is appalling that the Shawano County Board has such utter disregard for the well-being of its members and community at large. At best, this is a discriminatory act against a perfectly healthy member who was only trying to protect himself and therefore his family from the poor judgment of others. At worst, this is a reflection of the state of Shawano County, a community which historically was full of compassionate, kind individuals who pulled together when the going got tough.

As someone who grew up in Shawano and knows what the community is capable of when it works together, I ask each and every person reading this to take a good hard look in the mirror and re-evaluate your priorities. As a physician, I hope to God none of you or your family have to see the destruction COVID-19 is capable of wreaking upon those who laughed in the face of science.

Hannah Miller, Shawano