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What we have witnessed in this country with the COVID-19 virus has been unprecedented. Schools, churches and businesses have been shuttered. Americans have been asked to change almost all aspects of their lives to help prevent a spike in the virus. Remember the best of how Americans behaved following 9-11? That type of effort is needed again. It’s a matter of duty. That’s why we are counting on Iowans to lead the way.

We believe Iowans will respond to COVID-19 the way they respond whenever unexpected disasters fall, with grace, dignity and compassion. Yes, we know there’s nothing dignified, graceful or compassionate about hoarding supplies on a trip to the grocery store, but we believe people will change their habits, keeping others in mind as they do.

We agree with action taken at the state and federal levels to limit crowd size and to close places like bars, restaurants and gyms. Our concern is with the less fortunate in our communities and throughout our counties.

Adult day programs have also been ordered to close across Iowa. Those places directly improve the lives of the elderly and disabled who take advantage of the programs for food and socialization.

We encourage Iowans to check in on their neighbors who maybe can’t get to the grocery store or the doctor’s office very easily. And while social distancing is important, a phone call to a neighbor is an important way to check in on someone to see how they are doing.

If they require groceries, consider helping them by picking up their groceries. Even if one can’t drop them off inside their house, perhaps they can be left on a porch and the person can bring them in once you have left.

Consider making a casserole for someone who might need help cooking.

Social media has been helpful during the virus outbreak. We have seen it filled with posts volunteering to make sure children have things to eat. A fair percentage of children often eat breakfast and lunch at school. Posts show community members reaching out and volunteering to help provide food for those who need to eat.

Along with that, our area schools are working on ways to provide meals for students. We commend them for those efforts.

We have also seen our area teachers reach out online to provide tutoring assistance for students. As a matter of fact, the decision to close schools by Governor Kim Reynolds was less than 30 minutes old when the first posts from teachers offering assistance began showing up on social media. That dedication from Iowa teachers is not surprising in the least. We believe they are among the finest educators in the nation.

Most of our churches are shuttered until further notice. That doesn’t mean the faithful can’t pray together. While it may be unusual, perhaps a chatroom of friends and neighbors can worship together via computer. And while that’s not the fellowship often associated with people of faith, who says God can’t be present with an online gathering of worshipers?

When historians write of the response by Iowans to COVID-19, we believe Iowans will be judged by how they not only reacted to the disruption but how they helped their friends and neighbors, as well as how they responded to the least among us.

We will come out of this. Let’s make sure we come out of it stronger and more united as members of communities, as Iowans and as Americans.

— The “Our Opinion” column is the consensus of the editorial board. For information or comments, contact a member of the board: Beth Lutgen, Mary Ungs-Sogaard or Mike Putz