Life feels very surreal right now.
Two weeks ago, my husband and I were planning our trip to Canada to visit his family. A week ago, we were in Canada, visiting his family. The day after we arrived, the virus hit the province, and we were advised to return home immediately. We did. Our planned week of vacation turned into two days of actually seeing family, and four days of traveling back and forth. It was exhausting.
We were glad to be home, but still uncertain about what would happen, as the virus was now causing chaos in the US. We arrived home and decided to get groceries the next day, on our usual shopping day.
The stores were busy, but not chaotic. Purchases of certain items were being limited, but we were able to buy everything we needed without an issue. I was hopeful that perhaps the impact of the pandemic would be less where we are.
In my house, 3 of the 4 people in it either go to school, work at a school, or both. We are on Spring Break this week, but were waiting to hear whether we would be returning next week.
All of the universities in my state have sent the majority of students home from the dorms and will be doing online/remote classes for the rest of the school year. I thought, okay, with the exception of one class, all the university classes my two are taking are already online, so the impact would be minimal for us.
Yesterday, the governor closed all public schools in the state for the rest of the school year. While I’m grateful that I now know that, it leaves me with so many unanswered questions.
My oldest works full-time at a public school at an hourly position. She will now likely be without a paycheck for the next 4-5 months. Will she be able to get unemployment?
She is in a university program to get her teaching certificate. Part of the program is working in a school – what effects will the closure of the public schools have on her program? Will it delay her graduation date?
(Side note – most of the universities have also cancelled commencement ceremonies.)
My youngest is a senior in high school this year. We don’t know yet how he will do classes online – how do you do a weightlifting class online? How do you do a carpentry/woodworking class online? He is also taking a public speaking course – how do you do that online?
He is very active in sports and was planning to participate in track this year. Last year he went to state in two events and was hoping to compete again this year, with an eye to a possible track scholarship. That possibility is now gone.
Other school events have now disappeared as well – prom, recognition ceremonies, scholarship award ceremonies – we are not even sure if they will have a graduation ceremony. Our district is small, but still would certainly be over the current “no meetings of more than 10 people” recommendations.
(Side note – I just thought about whether I would be able to get a refund on the graduation regalia I’ve already purchased. Probably – but the company we purchased them from will likely either go bankrupt or be severely injured by this, as they supply most of the states and many states have canceled school.)
As for me, I work part-time in a preschool, which will now also be closed, because we follow the local school district. So, I am, in effect, unemployed from now until maybe August? I don’t think I will be eligible for unemployment, but we shall see.
I have family that also work with me, and they are in the same predicament. However, the loss of income will likely be much harder on them than on me. For now, my husband’s job is relatively secure, but that could change too. If we lose his income, I don’t know how we will survive. None of us have jobs that we can do remotely.
(Side note – our ISP limits our data to 1TB a month. Which sounds like a lot, but really isn’t, when you have people home all day long – gaming, watching YouTube, or working. So I’m hoping a change in that limit will be forthcoming, given that many people are hopefully going to begin working from home.)
So much going on, and so many unanswered questions. I find myself wishing that my grandmother were still around so I could ask her questions. She grew up during the Depression, and I know she would have so many helpful suggestions about what to do right now.
She isn’t, so I will wait, watch, and hope that things get better. In the meantime, I will try to keep myself and my children busy so that we don’t all get cabin fever. We are doing everything we can to keep ourselves healthy, and I hope that you are all able to do the same.
Light, love, and blessings to all of you.