Jenny Mathews, contributing writer

The Last year has done nothing if not teach us all to learn to keep our knees soft in anticipation of change. While most of us have a growing list of pandemic-driven adjustments we can’t wait to bid farewell to, some adjustments have proven to have happy silver linings. After surveying Cache Valley families, here are the most common changes that may stick around as we look ahead.

More family time

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, local families may have been forced to occupy the same space for more time than ever before, but many won’t have to be forced to do so in the future. It seems the benefits of spending more time together have encouraged many Cache Valley families to plan to prioritize these precious hours over some activities COVID forced them to limit or give up altogether. Now that a variety of meetings, performances, lessons, etc., can be done virtually, parents will be taking advantage of these options and relishing in the extra hours of whatever it is that they have found they enjoy doing together. Whether that family time will be spent enjoying the outdoors, cooking and eating more meals together, taking on house projects, developing new skills and talents, “what matters most” over what matters less seems to be the new approach.

Flexibility in Education

What we may not have anticipated at this time last year was how much our schools and educators would have to adjust so that despite shutdowns, closures, restrictions, and quarantines, children could still have access to a quality education and healthy meals. Thankfully, in this hardship, generous hearts and creative minds delivered excellent strategies, resources, and alternatives that have proven successful. With in-person AND online learning capabilities working together, disruptions due to the virus have not had the catastrophic outcomes of last spring. School lunch pick-up options for quarantined families have helped nourish hundreds of valley children.

Employment Flexibility

So many employers found creative and resourceful ways to keep their employees working remotely without sacrificing productivity, and Cache Valley families have not minded one bit. Working from home is not without its challenges, but has let employers and employees create a work environment free of risk and trimmed of waste. Families have their hard-working parents around more for lots of that quality family time!

Best Health Practices

We were not strangers to washing our hands or using a sanitizer before, but now that we know what perils these practices can avoid, most of us plan to make sure these healthy habits stick! Immune-boosting implements such as the use of daily vitamin supplements and the practice of disinfecting surfaces are now a big, permanent part of many of our lives as well.

Saving Money on _____

A common response to my question was, “I have saved so much money on …” fill in the blank! Whether these savings came as a result of canceling a gym membership, buying less gasoline, clothing, or sports equipment, or cutting back on lesson fees and eating out, saving money was an enormous blessing to many tight family budget. Plans for continuing to creatively spend less aren’t going away anytime soon.