All of us have been forced to adapt as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve canceled nonessential meetings and events to limit large gatherings of people, moved our operations online, and adjusted our daily routines and interactions with others now that we’re observing social distancing.

We’ve learned some valuable lessons.

Social distancing has promoted and fostered civility. Before the pandemic, social media frequently was an outlet for news or entertainment and often bred contempt and disrespect. Now, as an important tool for maintaining relationships and communication, civility has improved. I personally enjoyed the lively debates on social media over the Netflix documentary “Tiger King” about a zoo in Oklahoma. My hope is that our civility on social media will continue.

We want to interact in person. In my column in January, I urged people to engage in more personal interactions instead of relying on social media. Now that we have been prohibited from being within 6 feet of one another because of social distancing, I think we all have grown to appreciate our in-person interactions, and we will seek out those opportunities more often once it is safe.

People are important. The healthcare workers, the teachers who instruct our children, and the people in hospitality and service industries who make us look good, facilitate our vacations, and give us great food are important and integral in our lives. This pandemic has taught us not to take them for granted. The lesson here is that we need to ensure that we are supporting them all the time, even when there isn’t a pandemic.

I wish the best for you and your families, and I look forward to seeing you all soon—even if it is just on social media for now.

Ursula Burgess

Ursula Burgess

Ursula K. Burgess, a shareholder at Rees Broome in Tysons Corner, Va., is CAI's 2020 president. She has been practicing community association law for 15 years after working as a criminal defense lawyer in Alexandria, Va., for nearly five years. Burgess has served on CAI's Maryland Legislative Action Committee, the Washington Metropolitan Chapter Board, and the Business Partners Council. She also was a panel chair on the Montgomery County (Md.) Commission on Common Ownership Communities from 2007 to 2016 and became a fellow in CAI's College of Community Association Lawyers in 2019.

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