Ever since Covid-19 became the center of attention in the United States, it has been the cause of great stress, grief and even confusion. Everywhere we turn it's “BREAKING NEWS” or “Coronavirus.” Lives have been changed since different states enforced stay-at-home policies, locking down states and closing non-essential businesses. Graduation ceremonies and commencements have been cancelled, the fate of returning to school cancelled in some states and up in the air in others. For most, we are living in a pandemic for the first times in our lives.
COVID-19, the CO standing for “corona’, the VI for ‘virus’ and the D for ‘disease’ and the 19 references the virus being discovered in 2019. It has also been referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus,” since this is the first time the world has experienced this new and devastating disease. When COVID-19 first surfaced it was said that it only affected older people. Now as more research is coming out, we are aware that this novel virus affects the elderly, babies and those who have compromised immune systems. The three most important orders from the CDC during this time are to socially-distance, or keep away from other people, stay indoors and to frequently wash your hands.
The outbreak of this virus has led to the closure of school districts all over the country, as well as the closure of universities and colleges, pushing non-essential workers indoors and college students back home.
Ava Healy, a senior at Boston Latin Academy, expressed that she is adjusting to the closure of school and transition from in-school learning to e-learning. “I feel like I’ve been adjusting pretty well. The beginning was really tough because I’m used to doing my work either at school or the library,” she said.
Nathalie Diaz, a freshman at Connecticut College, shared that her school did the best they could to help everyone. “They paid for a lot of the plane tickets and moving expenses for international students.” Her school also provided the option of a pass/fail or letter grade option for end of semester grades.
Will Ma-Coley, a nurse at Jamaica Plain VA Medical Center, admits that his work life since COVID-19 has become drastically different. “Things have changed a lot. So, now we have to wear masks all day when we are at work and we never used to do that before. And now we do a lot of cleaning, for me I really do a lot. So when I get to work before I do anything, I will wipe down the chairs, wipe down the counter, wipe down the keyboard, the computers, the telephone, the door handles—every little thing that I feel like people can touch. You don’t know who’s been there, and who’s touched what.”
“It’s literally working twice as hard and feeling half as productive.” Aine Ni Cheallaigh Cook, a history teacher at Boston Latin Academy stated.
“First of all I miss my students, so I’m a little sad… the most challenging part of this is not being able to give academic and emotional support in the minute that students need it,” Cook expressed about the transition from in-class learning to e-learning. “My particular concern is of the inequity of which my students live. And so I find myself thinking particularly about my students who are homeless, who struggle from food inequity. Who are undocummented, whose parents have lost their jobs, who cannot apply for the forgiveness of rent… and so they’re just kind of left in the wind.”
The city of Boston has made abundant efforts to help those in need during this time with businesses and organizations delivering fruits and vegetables to those who need it, or opening their doors to children and families who need a meal. The city is also making efforts to help Bostonians who are experiencing difficulty with paying their rent, through the Rental Relief Fund. Some other resources in Boston are the Brown Bag Resource, FoodSource Hotline, SNAP Benefits, all of which are food support for the Boston population.
“I think that everything I know about the American economy has revealed itself to me in the fact that, if schools are closed, kids can’t eat. It reminds me of the power and influence we have as schools…” Cook remarked on the impact of schools on children.
COVID-19’s effect on different groups of people has not been that dissimilar; teachers, students, parents and healthcare workers are all feeling the effects of these uncertain times. As people are being laid off from work and discussion around when to open up different states remains up in the air, there's only so much to hope for and to prioritize right now. “The only goal I have right now is to get a job to help my mom out. At any second she could get laid off and I don’t want my siblings to have to be hungry because she won’t be making money.” Diaz said.