by Sarah Campos
According to memes and posts across the nation, 2020 was supposed to be everyone’s year. New Years’ resolutions were going to be followed, someone may just find ‘the one’ to spend the rest of their life with, and people were going to ‘finally get their life together’. Then COVID-19 struck and life as we know it has completely changed.
An infectious disease caused by an unknown virus; it has a strong similarity to the flu. It causes respiratory illness with symptoms of coughing, fever, and difficulty breathing. With no current vaccine available and infections rising by the hundreds, even thousands some days, many states are going on full lock-down.
Social distancing is the most effective preventive precaution Americans can practice, and it is highly recommended that people stay indoors and only leave home for essential reasons.
As we know, Norfolk State University has decided to switch to an online learning environment, as many schools have done nationwide. Many students and parents have been concerned and stressed out trying to transition while still passing their classes, especially the graduating seniors this semester. However, it is easy to gain tunnel vision when lives are flipped upside down, and it should be recognized that we are not the only students struggling to continue our education.
Although K-12 institutes were not built to be taught online traditionally, teachers and parents are doing everything in their power to make sure their children do not fall behind.
“Teachers are innovative and creative, and this challenge is no different. It’s making me stronger, more resilient and it’s forcing me to find new ways to teach my students. As a teacher who has 2 young children of my own at home that is where I face the greatest challenge. Balancing the education of my own kids with the almost constant focus on my class, teaching and also troubleshooting tech issues with families who are not used to online learning, has been tough,” said Candice Palacios, first-grade teacher at Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District.
It is amazing to see the creative ideas Mrs. Palacios has utilized to make sure both her class and her children Brayden, 6th grade, and Brielle, 4th grade, do not fall behind in their education. Mrs. Palacios and many other teachers are also making themselves available to help parents who are in need of assistance with understanding the material or may need more resources. They use the social media hashtag #weareallinthistogether to connect.
April Parker, a stay at home mom and home-school teacher has also been doing her absolute best to both protect and educate her children. Her oldest child AJ Boggiano, 8th grade, has a few underlying medical issues which, if he contracted this virus, ould very well kill him. Besides that, four out of five of the people in her household have asthma, which has caused crippling anxiety to Mrs. Parker. They have taken many precautions to ensure the safety of their household and that nothing potentially harmful enters the house.
As a home-school mom, they are very fortunate that not much has changed for their family as far as education is concerned. Unfortunately, extra-curricular activities have been affected like it has for most families, and AJ has faced his own challenges.
“AJ’s a little more frustrated for several reasons. Being older he has things he looks forward too. His surgery to fix his leg (which causes him pain) was supposed to happen April 2nd but was canceled due to COVID-19. His 8th grade promotion ceremony has been cancelled. The National Conference for Little People of America was cancelled. His summer camp for other kids with skeletal dysplasia was cancelled,” said Mrs. Parker.
While AJ is sad that he is missing these social events in the summer because they are the only times he gets to connect with peers who experience the same struggles he does, he has been keeping a positive attitude and relying on the love and support of this family.
There is no doubt that this pandemic will be one featured in our history books. However, let’s make it a history lesson of how America pulled together to help each other through these difficult times. Whether you fall into the at-risk category or are not fearful at all, whether you believe it’s truly dangerous or think it is no big deal, please stay at home. The only way for society to return back to normal is to stay at home, practice social distancing and conduct personal hygiene.
As Mrs. Palacios says to her class and children, “this is just a season, a snapshot, a moment in time that in the big picture of life we will move past”. Stay healthy, and above all stay happy, and we will all be able to visit each other again soon.