COVID-19 is many things – among other things, it’s a thief.

This year, it stole the limelight from a large group of Register of Deeds workers.

On Monday morning, Dec. 7, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners held a swearing-in ceremony – something the board does every two years on the first Monday in December. In the past, along with new commissioners and other elected officials being sworn in, there has always been a moment in the ceremony when a mass of staff from the Guilford County Register of Deeds Office has come in for a giant swearing-in that packs the front of the Guilford County commissioners regular meeting room in the Old Guilford County Court House in downtown Greensboro.

However, this year, due to the pandemic, only Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen was there representing the office. He was there with his son.

Thigpen, who won handily on Nov. 3 to keep the job he’s held since 2004, said he was saddened by the fact that the workers did not get their moment in the spotlight.

“I think it’s important that the commissioners see them and that they get the recognition,” Thigpen said.

Thigpen, who was sworn in by Guilford County District Court Judge Marc Tyrey, said that the county’s deeds workers work hard and do important work, and it’s always nice, he added, for them to be honored publicly in the mass swearing-in. He said that, if not for COVID-19, there were 22 staff members who would have been front and center at the swearing-in.   Thigpen said that, instead, this year the workers would be sworn in individually in private ceremonies.