Worthwhile COVID innovations

Plenty of people are ready to say good riddance to everything remotely related to the COVID-19 pandemic, but a few of the developments and innovations that resulted from it are worth hanging onto.

When the illness arrived in the United States in early 2019, nearly everything ground to a halt. Elections were canceled and “non-essential” businesses and schools were closed. People were advised to stay at home as much as possible and to avoid close contact with others.

At that point, many of us turned to technology to keep things up and running.

Some of us were able to do our jobs via computers. Teachers and students met in virtual classes online. Even government bodies took their meetings online.

Much of that has fallen by the wayside now that we have vaccines and know how to better manage the coronavirus.But in some cases, those innovations actually improved things or cut costs.

That appears to be the case in Belmont County’s court system. While trials obviously still need to be held in person, many procedural matters can be handled via technology. Judges such as Frank Fregiato and Eric Costine see many benefits to holding status hearings and similar proceedings electronically.

Taking advantage of technology, the courts and local law enforcement can save on the time and expense of transporting inmates from the jail to the courthouse for an appearance that may last only a matter of minutes.

The criminal justice community is wise to continue making use of these tools. Perhaps the rest of us — in fields from education to medicine and even retail — should take a closer look at some of the changes that came out of the pandemic and decide which ones may still have a lot of value.


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