NewsEditorial Roundtable: After the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, what do you think the “new normal” will look like?By Shaw Media Illinois Editorial BoardMay 1, 2020CaptionJohn Rung, President and CEO In “The Fall of the Roman Empire,” author Peter Heather writes, “The immediate emotional reaction to any great event is rarely the best indicator of its real significance.” There are already more than enough people espousing unqualified opinions about all manner of virus-related topics. In that spirit, I prefer to be cautious with any far-reaching predictions about the impacts of COVID-19. With that disclaimer out of the way, it would not surprise me if nearly all people who experienced the pandemic make certain long-term modifications to their behavior. The permanent adoption of things that we probably should have been doing all along – like washing our hands frequently and avoiding people when we don’t feel well – is probably a given. Some employees and companies are learning there are certain advantages to working from home. When things do return to normal, I imagine telecommuting will be more commonplace than it was a few months ago. And, like it or not, there are probably a lot of Zoom calls in our future.CaptionJim Dunn, Editor, Bureau County Republican “Meet the new normal, same as the old normal,” to borrow some phraseology from The Who, Is what I was hoping for initially. The way the experts have talked in recent days, however, it looks like the “new normal” will still be filled with face masks and social distancing and gathering places that are off limits for some time to come. The “new normal” likely will see less in-person human interaction, particularly with strangers, such as at sporting events, movie theaters and restaurants. Even if some of those places reopen, people vulnerable to the virus might stay away for safety’s sake. And that’s too bad. This virus stinks. It’s claimed far too many lives. I hate it. I eagerly await the development of a vaccine to offer protection against it. And I hope, somewhere in the new normal, humankind reacts with greater intelligence against the next new virus, so “we don’t get fooled again.”CaptionTammie Sloup, Regional Editor Will our new normal be about lessons learned? Habits we can't break? A better level of comfort with technology (welcome to the world of Zoom and telemedicine)? We'll likely continue to see more masks in public, social distancing and limits on the number of people in public places. E-learning will be improved, but will never be a replacement for in-school instruction. How we shop, meet people and work will be altered as we adjust to a new normal. Rush hour will return, but perhaps with less congestion as businesses and workers have adjusted to commutes to the living room or home office. Above all, it will feel different, whether it's relief or impending dread of another outbreak, another lockdown, as we ease into new routines. I'm hopeful for a deeper appreciation of family, nonessential workers and a renewed sense of community. I'm continually inspired by the acts of kindness we regularly report in this newspaper.CaptionInger Koch, Lifestyle Editor My prediction for 2020's word of the year is "social distancing," and I think that will be a big part of our "new normal." People will think twice about going places where there are big crowds or even standing too close to someone at the grocery store. There will be a much bigger emphasis placed on hand washing, especially with young children. And we'll see a lot more people wearing masks, especially food servers, which, of course, is helpful when avoiding the spread of germs, but I find it a little sad when you can't see someone's smile. I think we'll see schools using e-learning to a greater extent – at the least as a supplemental tool. Snow days extending the school calendar will definitely be a thing of the past. I hope the kindness people have shown to others during this time and the newfound appreciation we have for our family and friends will remain as part of our "new normal.” After the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, what do you think the “new normal” will look like?