Pandemic Diary: March 25,2020

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Friends, there is despair. There is grief. I am trying so hard to find the joy, to find the silver linings, to put myself into a place of acceptance but it is so, so hard right now. I know I am not alone but the feelings of isolation, separation, and loneliness are real for so many of us as we try to find new ways to connect with each other while physically distant.

On Monday, March 23, distance learning began in our district. It’s been an interesting two days as the kids get used to this new way of doing school. I again have to express gratitude that they are teenagers and, with minimal assistance from me (mostly for getting set up with tech, etc.), they have been able to self-direct. I know for parents of younger kids, this is not the case and they have to be much more hands-on with their children’s learning. My heart goes out to them.

The teachers are amazing. I give them so much credit for what they have done over the last week and a half to pull this all together, even as they face a new and unfamiliar way of doing their job. Most of them are helping provide our kids with a sense of calmness, kindness, and understanding for the tremendous upheaval they are dealing with. Emails and messages on their class pages express how much they miss their students, and good wishes for the health and well-being for the kids and their families.

My daughter’s Algebra teacher hosted the first video call my daughter has participated in, and she left that call with a sense of relief and renewed spirit having connected with her teacher and classmates. Her teacher didn’t do any Algebra teaching, but allowed the kids to talk and share their experiences, good and bad, during quarantine. It was a real gift to her students, a welcome break from working in isolation.

Even though I typically work from home and am used to Zoom calls, things feel different. I am happier to see my colleagues’ faces on video, and of course every meeting begins with talk of how we are all doing.

However, in general, I find myself having difficulty focusing on my work. I seem to be productive in the mornings, distracted from mid to early afternoon, and then powering through daily tasks I am behind on from the late afternoon into the evening, and end up working beyond my usual hours. Dinner tends to start later and then suddenly it’s after 8pm. The days are weird. What day is it again?

In the midst of all these personal difficulties I know many others are struggling with, Trump has begun saying that we should get back to business as usual by Easter on April 12 to save our economy. It was even suggested by Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick that grandparents are willing and/or should be willing to sacrifice themselves to save the economy. I don’t even know what to say to this.

All of this is scary because doctors, scientists, public health and infectious disease experts are issuing dire warnings that if we come out of this physical distancing, the spread will be so much worse. Our economy can’t recover if so many people are sick.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, an immunologist and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, has been correcting Trump when he makes false or misleading comments during his daily press conferences. However, many folks are believing Trump’s claims over the factual corrections made by Dr. Fauci. I fear that, like so many others in Trump’s administration, Dr. Fauci will soon be “fired” for contradicting Trump. We need his voice of reason and his expertise right now.

So, as we continue in these uncertain times, I’ll go on trying to be hopeful. I’ll keep looking for ways to create happy moments for myself and my family. It’s the best any of us can do right now.

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay inside.

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