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Story Title: Groundhog Day Revisited

Contributor Name: Anonymous
Created: May 5, 2021 at 4:33 PM

Story: What are your experiences teaching & learning in the time of coronavirus?

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused many challenges in my life since March 2020. At first when the pandemic started, I really did not understand the scope of this disease.  What was the big deal? There was a virus that had emerged from Wuhan, China and it was making people very sick. That was all I knew. But then one day my mom told me and my younger twin brothers that we would not be going back to school. At first, I thought she was pulling our legs, but she explained the virus was spreading rapidly and people were dying.The news showed states shutting down, restricting travel and ordering people to stay home. Hospitals were overflowing with patients who were on ventilators; refrigeration trucks were now used as morgues and schools were closed. But what was going to happen to us, what about school? Nothing was the same, we did not leave the house and we did not see anyone, not even extended family. My parents only left the house to go to work and buy groceries. Eventually, we transitioned to virtual learning. Attending school through virtual learning was challenging; zoom links did not always work and our internet connection would drop while we were in the middle of class. I told myself it was just for a couple of months and therefore, I was ok with finishing my freshmen year of school through remote learning. But that is not what happened. 

My summer was boring. I had to take driver’s education online. It was not what I expected. Once I completed the requirements, I had to wait three months to get my driver’s permit at the DMV office because they only saw people by appointment. Therefore, after a very unpleasant experience with an unhappy DMV employee, I was able to get my driver’s permit.  But the funny thing about getting a driver’s permit; I had nowhere to go. I would not be driving to school because school was virtual. I was not prepared to do my entire sophomore year through remote learning. I guess like everyone else, I thought the pandemic would be over by late summer. But the pandemic did not end, it kept going and it got worse. Meanwhile, every day was the same for me: I got up, I logged in to take attendance, I zoomed my classes, I did some homework and played video games with my brothers. I never left the house. It was just like the movie Groundhog Day; I woke up in my room and did the same thing over and over each day, just like the character Phil Conners, who wakes up at the same bed and breakfast, day after day. But instead of developing my talents like Phil, such as playing the piano, I was spiraling into a dark hole. By December, the governor was tightening the restrictions due to the increasing infection rates and more people dying. Day to day travel was limited and a curfew was in place. There was no hope of leaving the house. The usual Christmas celebrations with family were postponed, there was no Christmas band concert and our first cruise ever to the Bahama’s was cancelled. I finished the semester, but my grades were impacted because of missing some assignments. During the winter break, I stayed in bed for three days. I was very depressed. I had not seen any of my friends or other family; I was worried about my grandparents in New York who were in a facility; and my parents were frontline responders and at high risk of exposure. I worried all the time. My mom had me see a doctor who changed my medication. Before the pandemic, I suffered from anxiety and sometimes I experienced anxiety attacks. But because of the isolation caused by the pandemic, my symptoms became significantly worse. Therefore, I struggled with crippling anxiety and depression until April, when the medication changes finally began to alleviate my symptoms.   

I turn sixteen in May and will be eligible to get the vaccine.  I want the vaccine so I can see my friends, see my other family members, and maybe be able to have some normalcy, such as a summer job like most sixteen-year-olds. I wish everyone would get vaccinated, but like all things, not everyone thinks the same way about what is best for everyone. But if everyone would do the right thing, we could end the pandemic. Therefore, I hope people will reconsider and get vaccinated, because the past year has not been living-it is just existing. 

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