"We are living in historic times," one of my fellow teachers said to me yesterday. "You should write about it."
I wanted this month's slices to be dedicated to the idea of teaching and the stories that live inside a school. When March 1 arrived, I did not think March 13 we would be in this place of a global pandemic. I did not imagine so many schools would be closing, although mine currently remains open.
I cannot focus. I keep looking at my phone for news and it gets worse every time. I am not typically an anxious person yet I feel very anxious now.
It feels like regular, real life has stopped. I have report cards to finish and assessments to grade to be able to work on the report cards, but I feel paralyzed My daughter's birthday is Sunday and she has a friends' party and a family party this weekend. I am wondering if people will cancel. They are small gatherings in our home but I know everyone is feeling panicked. I did not grocery shop for emergencies and now I am worried the stores are empty. I never thought in the United States of America I would need to worry about food supply.
In a meeting yesterday, we were told social media has made more of this than it is. That it's really just like the precautions we would take for the flu. But I don't believe that. You look at China and Italy and you see how this virus is far more deadly and very contagious. Containment seems key.
Everything is on hold. Everything is either cancelled, postponed or suspended. Sports, activities, parties, camping trips- everything we had planned is now paused for an indefinite amount of time.
I am concerned that people who should be tested are not getting tested. I am concerned that there is a lack of tests. I am worried that we don't have a true sense of who is infected. I am worried someone I love will get sick. I am anxious there won't be enough hospital beds or personnel to care for the sick. I am worried about the students who will need to stay home and not have the connections they need each day in school. I am worried about the inconsistency that all of this brings to learning, which is now secondary to survival.
It feels like life and death in a way I only ever experienced on 9/11, but this is very different.
We are living in historic times. I am writing about it.
Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski