McAlester News-Capital

McAlester News-Capital office

THUMBS UP to organizers for making public health and safety a priority amid the COVID-19 pandemic as we approach another important holiday — but we urge everyone to reflect on Monday.

Organizers said the Dr. Martin Luther King Commemorative Ceremony and the MLK Unity Banquet in McAlester were canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. But we encourage everyone to still take time to learn and reflect on Dr. King’s life-long call for a civil peace.

Rev. Anthony Washington, pastor at Mount Triumph Baptist Church in McAlester, cited concerns about the annual local events bringing masses of people in close contact with each other.

The annual events are normally held on the weekend prior to Martin Luther King Day, which is a federal holiday observed annually on the third Monday in January as a national day of service.

Although the local annual events were cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, we still urge everyone to observe the day by listening to your neighbors, learning to be more accepting of opposing views, and working toward understanding and acceptance.

•••

THUMBS UP to local school administrators and coaches for setting protocols to help prevent community spread of COVID-19 during the Pitt 8 Conference Tournament.

Administrations and coaches across Pitt 8 Conference schools met this week to implement a plan for local kids to play in the annual conference basketball tournament so more moments wouldn’t be stripped from them.

The tournament is set for Jan. 18-23 at Kiowa and Pittsburg with limited fan attendance. Each player will be allowed four tickets or passes for family members to attend games in which their school is playing. Officials agreed to sanitation protocols, alternating game days to limit attendance, temperature checks, mask requirements, splitting championship day to two venues, and more.

We applaud the administrators for setting protocols to help make the tournament more safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We urge everyone to follow the protocols so they don’t spread the virus and rob children of another memory — or worse.

We again urge everyone to remain vigilant against COVID-19 as our area and state face another surge. Stay safe, be kind.

• McAlester News-Capital Editorial Board

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