Written Memories of the Pandemic
Living through the pandemic is stressful and challenging. I live with someone who is immune compromised and have to take extra precautions to avoid contact. Under new restrictions and in a short amount of time, we had to figure out a new way to get supplies. Curbside at local stores has been a great help and everyone is more than happy to try and help however they can.
I work as contract worker in the food industry and work has been put on hold for the foreseeable future. It’s nerve-racking not knowing when I will return to work, but I have also been able to focus on things that had always been side projects.
I have also had to distance myself and limit my screen time, especially reading the news. When I see others being cavalier and not taking the proper precautions, it’s infuriating. So, I have to take time away. I am extremely thankful for those are on the frontlines and are putting their own health and safety in jeopardy. I don’t know when this will be “over” but I know that I will continue to adjust.
"Living through the pandemic is stressful and challenging. I live with someone who is immune compromised and have to take extra precautions to avoid contact."
Washington Primary School Kindergarteners, Mrs. Desena’s Class
Eloise, age 6: “My name is Eloise and I’m in kindergarten. (Distance learning) felt like screen school because Mrs. Desena posted lots of lessons and activities on Seesaw (a computer program, not the thing you play with on the playground). I had fun doing distance learning because I could spend the day with my family and I could take breaks in between work and playing outside. I miss playing on the playground with my friends, including Mrs. Mercier. I didn’t have lunch in the cafeteria—I had it in the kitchen! I didn’t sit on the rug in my classroom to do morning meeting; I did it on Zoom in my kitchen!”
Isabella, age 5: “I feel confused when doing distance learning. I (like) being here, but I also miss my friends. The end.”
Logan, age 6: “It was hard to do all my different subjects at home. I feel good about distance learning but I missed my classroom and friends. School was different during the virus because we were still learning, but instead of being at school, we learned at home.”
Dawson, age 6: “I’m Dawson, Washington Primary, I’m kindergarten and I’m in kindergarten school at Washington. (I would rather be) at school because it isn’t teaching, the tablets are teaching. I miss Ms. Desena and the blocks.”
Eliza, age 6: “I missed my friends. I was sad we had to be on the computer.”
David, age 6: “It was easier because (during) distance learning I could do things on my own time. I felt a little nervous. I couldn’t be with my friends or teachers.”
Makayla, age 5: “Well my favorite thing was doing math. Math is the best thing in the class. It’s where we get to learn equations. It made me sad because I don’t get to be with all my friends and my teachers and don’t get to take a turn to write on the board, to write on the big screen board. But the good thing that I am happy about home schooling is that we can take a 15 minute break every time when I feel tired or hungry. The only time when I’m frustrated is kind of when I mess up, when I mess up the drawings. What did I miss most? Eating lunch with (friends) and playing with them and coloring and playing in the sandbox. I can take a 15 minute break when I’m hungry or sleepy! Harder equations and counting up to 100-that’s what I’m most looking forward to (in first grade). I can only do it with a grown up or with a person or a kid who knows how to count up to 100 in 60 seconds.
Andres, age 6: “(Being a kindergartner) is the best, but it was hard (to do distance learning). I didn’t get to see my teachers or friends in person.”
Kaelyn, age 5: “We didn’t like ‘social’ (distance) learning…we like to see our friends every day.”
Amelia, age 5: “I had to do distance learning from home and…but I missed being at school with my friends. I felt happy about distance learning but I missed being at school with my friends. It was different because I had do school at home and also schoolwork.”
Jamie, age 6: “I missed my teachers and friends. I could mute myself and not talk while I was eating. I liked distance learning because I could stay at home. I used my computer all the time when I was at home.”
“I feel confused when doing distance learning. I (like) being here, but I also miss my friends. The end.”
Booth Free School Kindergarteners, Mrs. Gregory’s Class
Micah, age 6: “Hi! My name is Micah. During the pandemic I was happy being home with my mom and dad. I was very, very, very, very sad because I missed my friends and my teacher. I loved spending time with my dog and going to school in my pajamas. I miss, I miss, I miss, I miss going to recess! Thank you Chris for your presence and good luck with your projects.”
Rudy, age 5: “I hate distance learning. I miss Mrs. Gregory and the whole class. I miss gym, art, and music. I miss recess and I can’t wait to go back to school.”
Patrick, age 5: “(Distance learning) was so good, it was great! I can’t even stop loving it, it was so good. School was on an iPad and we did stuff differently.”
Caiden, age 5: “I liked having more breaks. I missed the school bus. I miss Mason and Micah and Mrs. Gregory and the math and the (bus) announcements. (Distance learning) was very, very different when it first started. Bye, adios amigos!”
Madison, age 6: “I miss my friends and I miss my teachers and my school bus…the bus drivers…having my friends at the playground I miss…having lunch in the cafeteria…being able to talk to everyone and getting ready for school."
Mason, age 6: “It felt different because, like, I couldn’t really see my friends but in distance learning we had some Zooms. Zooms are like when you see people on screens, like on iPads or even sometimes phones.”
Ryan, age 5: “I like school at home because I work with my mom. We work on an iPad. I don’t see my friends. We meet on Zoom calls.”
Samantha, age 5: “I liked doing school on the iPad because it’s fun with music and videos of schoolwork. It was different because you were doing it on the iPad. I liked playing afternoons, after schoolwork. But it was harder on the iPad. I missed my friends and teacher.”
Cameron, age 6: “My favorite part about school was Field Day. My favorite part was being with Mommy and Daddy, my best friends. I liked distance learning because…I love distance learning because I love school, (but I was) alone and I missed my friends.”
“I hate distance learning. I miss Mrs. Gregory and the whole class. I miss gym, art, and music. I miss recess and I can’t wait to go back to school.”
My two favorite people! I wrote a little something. For some reason recording is too large to send so I summarized it!
Living during the pandemic has been challenging but has also given me the opportunity to stop and slow down. I never realized how much social interaction I have on a daily basis until this pandemic hit. Believe it or not I am an introvert but I am used to traveling for work and being out on the road at least 4 days a week. Working from home definitely is not easy and requires contestant self disciple and motivation but I am grateful to be able to work during this time.
I have been at home with my husband, dog, and family members since the virus hit headlines. It is an unprecedented situation and has left me feeling anxious and overwhelmed at times, but spending extra time with my husband has been wonderful. It has also given me the opportunity to support more local farms and small independent shops. The severity of this whole situation left a lot of people scrambling, but it also brought people together.
I do not know when this pandemic will end, but I think it is important to listen to guidelines given and to honor those who have been on the frontline during all of this.
"Living during the pandemic has been challenging but has also given me the opportunity to stop and slow down."
So, what’s it like to live through a pandemic? It’s…frightening.
I feel compelled to answer this through the lens of a child. I am a kindergarten teacher and mother to a 4 and ½ year old boy, so I have the gift and burden of seeing what social distancing means to children who are at an age where seeing friends and following school routines mean everything to them.
I said good-bye to my students—well only four of them showed up on our last day together—not knowing when I would see them again. I wanted desperately to exchange hugs and high fives, like we always used to do. But I waved instead and the halls were eerily quiet too soon. I looked around my classroom at what I could put away: the Lysoled counters for math and the Clorox wipes I am not supposed to use but there was a pandemic coming and I wanted to do what I could.
Now I am told Clorox wipes aren’t enough.
Fast forward to a week later, when it becomes clear that not only will school remain closed, but I will be teaching from home during that time. You know, with the four year old by my side. I do not know a lot about video conferencing and distance learning platforms, but I am certain that what the kids want is to see my face, so I prepare carefully crafted videos of read-alouds that also feature my son in his pajamas, when he cooperates. Often he doesn’t, because his momma is on the computer way too much.
Yes, cooperating is not his strong point these days. Young children have always been a finicky bunch, but he hasn’t seen his friends in over a month and I am hopeless at following the nuances of his airplane/butterfly game, which is turning into a hospital game.
We play a lot of hospital games now. We also do a lot of snuggling and tear-wiping because he is angry at the interruptions and I am the safe place where he lets go. I ask his teachers for mental health resources, but they don’t really know what to say other than offer some canned handouts about stress from the APA. I take him outside, we go for out-of-the-way field trips to random trails hoping to avoid others. But still, his misses all the people that make his village. I can’t replace them all.
So I look ahead to the future, try to plan lessons for well-being, both for my students and my son. I try to give rhythm and predictability while I grasp for some of my own. We’re planning on creating a car parade for a student’s birthday on Saturday. Bet he’ll remember this day like no other. I’m going to do my best to wave and cheer and try not to cry.
In spite of everything, I hope that these kids will look back on this time, grieve and grow, and remember how we connected nonetheless.