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Omaha Magazine

Greater Omaha Chamber: Pre-school-year Jitters

Sep 30, 2020 11:44AM ● By David Brown
David Brown, president and CEO, Greater Omaha Chamber

Even after all these years, the arrival of August still stirs up the jitters that came with knowing football and school were about to start in earnest. The football part was all about getting mentally ready for the physical trials I was about to experience. The school experience was always a bit about the unknown. 

Never could I have imagined the uncertainty that today’s students and athletes must be feeling.

Even with the jitters, both school and sports were dependable occurrences. Put them on the calendar.  Do the preseason workouts. Buy the appropriate supplies and clothes. Show up and deliver the goods.  Instead, there are no dependable occurrences—and there are as many scenarios as you can imagine about the start of school and sports.  

As parents, we ask, “Will my child be safe?  What if there is an outbreak?  What happens if they have to revert to remote learning? What about extracurricular activities?”

For employers, these scenarios are problematic. Some employers are able to be flexible, while others might require their employees to be onsite because of the nature of the work. If kids are suddenly home from school, that limits how much some of these employees can work.

So, instead of feeling the August jitters for traditional reasons, we are all feeling the jitters for today’s reasons.

What to do? As I have spoken with employers, they are all trying to be as innovative and as flexible as they can. They all value and respect their employees and the challenges the current environment has presented. They worry about their people; and, their people have demonstrated remarkable commitment by responding in ways none of us would have imagined. They have innovated. They have prospered. They have produced. Now, we expect, they will respond to the uncertainties of the school year amid COVID-19.  

Together, employers and their people will show the resilience that Omaha is famous for. And for that, we are all grateful. 

This column was printed in the October/November 2020 issue of B2B Magazine.