Townspeople are peeking out from under the pandemic blanket and seeing a changed landscape. Working, learning, shop- ping, socializing — heck, everyday life — looks and feels different than this time in 2019 when a strange new lethal virus broke out around the world.
Illness became rampant, particularly among the elderly, and lockdowns began. Schools, restaurants, shops and workplaces closed, forcing students and workers to stay home and communicate via the internet.
Things have changed. From town government to the schools to the local businesses, it’s been a challenging time. Town Manager Kerry LaFleur, who was appointed last June, must navigate new rules imposed, largely, by job applicants and employees who worked from home and don’t want to return to the old model, although town offices are open to the public. Students are adjusting to in-person learning again bringing great social benefits, but also requiring teachers to help them catch up. Superintendent Laurie Hunter said middle school students, in particular, missed almost two years of their three-year career at Sanborn or Peabody and the eighth grade MCAS scores reflect that.
Volunteerism in town government is one of Concord’s key assets, and that has continued in the face of the pandemic. The work gets done; committees meet, and decisions are made.Kerry LaFleur
But walking around the streets, the enthusiasm for community is heartening and very real. Several new shops and at least one eatery opened during the last three years showing the strength of the business community. Visitors are flocking to Concord in record numbers, as lines for lunch and dinner outside restaurants attest. The Visitor Center is adding tours, and shops are busy.
Volunteerism in town government is one of Concord’s key assets, and that has continued in the face of the pandemic. The work gets done; committees meet, and decisions are made. A list of committee openings appears elsewhere in this issue.
Hopefully new strains of the virus will not cripple the town in the same way, and flu season will be mild. But come what may, the enthusiasm on the local streets is unbowed.