Our pandemic past: Inland Northwest leaders share their memories of when COVID-19 took over everyday life

The pandemic’s arrival in the middle of March 2020 ushered in a period of concern, uncertainty and furious planning.

The expectation at that moment, though, was that life would return to normal soon, said about a dozen Spokane residents reflecting on the moment they realized COVID-19 was here to stay.

Kimberly Messina, the president of Spokane Falls Community College, took a tour around her campus, snapping photos of workers wrapping up their jobs for the day as the campus approached a mandated break. At the time, she expected to be back in classrooms later that spring.

“We ran into this thinking it was a sprint,” Messina said, “and then

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