We are proud to be part of the Oak Park community. We come together to help residents in need, and to support our neighbors. However, it will “take a village” to maintain the compassionate community that is Oak Park and build a safe future for all our neighbors. 

We have made so much progress since March 2020, but our community is faltering. After nearly two years “in this together,” the pandemic continues to threaten our neighbors’ mental and physical health and requires ongoing vigilance and care.

So much has changed since our schools and offices closed abruptly in March 2020. We have gradually been able to resume our daily lives in so many ways, and will continue to do so. However, the path forward may not always be a straight line, and an equitable approach to recovery requires focusing on the needs of the most vulnerable among us. 

Vaccination alone is not enough. We are lucky to have layers of mitigation that we can use as needed to respond to the evolving pandemic. We should be diligent and pro-active about when to use them. When needed, our mitigation strategies keep our schools open and our community safe.

COVID has been unpredictable, and although cases are currently going down, there continues to be an extremely high rate of transmission. This presents an ongoing risk to many vulnerable members of our community, including young children and immune-compromised people; our friends and neighbors. We can and should continue to protect them.

Unfortunately, frustration can lead to distrust in our local government and health officials. We ask Oak Parkers to remain united in support of our most vulnerable community members by utilizing layered mitigation strategies, including universal masking. 

Now is the time to let our health experts lead. The Oak Park Health Department has the expertise and skills needed to safely lead our community through this next stage of the pandemic. 

Please join us so that Oak Park can continue to be a community we are proud to be a part of.

Shaina Helm, LCSW, CADC
Robin Kalish, MD, MPH
Maria Pyra, MPH, PhD

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