As the nation grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic and the most effective way to cut down on the infection rate, another question hangs in the balance: What will life look like after the pandemic is over?
City councils being conducted remotely, hospitals revamping protocols for years to come, standardized testing being suspended in multiple states, college class closures and other societal changes will mean local governments will have to find ways to bring back a sense of normalcy to residents once the pandemic subsides.
For the Prosper Town Council, one of its initiatives will involve more communication about healthcare.
Public messaging about health initiatives will be an ongoing effort, Robyn Battle, town spokesperson, said.
While the town of Prosper already has a variety of health programs in place aimed at encouraging exercise, nutritious eating and basic health practices, that messaging has had to increase in frequency, Battle said.
“Whereas before we communicated on a routinely regular basis, the pandemic has compelled us to communicate daily, and sometimes several times a day,” she said. “Our communication program is multi-pronged, but always coordinated and synchronized. We will continue to make it a priority.”
That priority will be a constant, Battle said.
“These efforts will likely take an increased role once the current pandemic is behind us,” she said.
Battle said the town had received positive feedback from the increase in healthcare messaging.
“We continue to use social and traditional media in communicating with the community, and we will certainly continue to emphasize that principle,” she said. “We have conducted surveys on a variety of issues, including how and how often we communicate with residents, and on the whole, residents are generally pleased with our efforts.”
Adapting to managing facilities in a pandemic has been another hurdle, but one that has been feasible, Town Manager Harlan Jefferson said.
“The COVID-19 crisis is unique and unprecedented, and while we are closely following all of the recommendations put forth by the Collin and Denton county judges, the governor’s office and the CDC, we are still laser-focused on providing the basic services that our residents require of us,” he said.
Finding a way to deliver services uninterrupted even in times of emergency is a critical goal, Jefferson said.
“That is our mission, and one which we are accomplishing on a day-to-day basis, while still maintaining the health and safety of our employees,” he said.
“Our staff has been extremely creative in finding ways to modify our operations while still providing the services our residents need and expect. Once the pandemic subsides, we will get together as a team and talk about what changes, if any, are warranted.”
Prosper Mayor Ray Smith noted that residents would play a large role determining what those changes are.
“The town will always prioritize the needs and desires of its residents,” he said. “Everything we do on a town level is based on what’s best for Prosper and its residents. We will continue to do that for the foreseeable future.
“We will pick up where we left off once the pandemic’s restrictions are lifted,” Smith said, “and continue to move in a forward direction, always based on the needs and wishes of our residents.”