Photo courtesy of Joanna Campbell.
The Covid pandemic has disrupted the world. A rise in cases over the past months put people in a panic that resulted in extra caution, new procedures, overwhelming anxiety, and overall a different life.
The first confirmed US coronavirus case was reported on January 21, 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since then the CDC reports there have been over 27,000,000 cases in the US and over 900,000 in Ohio alone.
Protocols and procedures are now put in place everywhere to keep people as safe as possible. “Using personal protective equipment, which includes Kn95 masks, gloves, and gowns while also monitoring symptoms and being extra cautious are just some of the ways we are helping our caregivers and clients stay safe,” said Megan Frech, human resource manager for an in-home care company.
Along with new protocols and procedures, many people’s work routines have changed. Megan Messner, Westerville South high school teacher, has had her whole routine changed. She used to see all her students five days a week; but as of February, she only saw half her students in person while the other half were learning virtually.
“The remote days have required a complete revamp of how we approach teaching. Personally, I’ve mixed live sessions with pre-recorded lectures, and I’ve moved a lot of quizzes online,” said Messner.
Frech has also had her routine changed. “Since March we have been working from home and have been on zoom meetings all day to communicate. Towards the beginning, we had to train caregivers virtually, but we have transitioned to smaller in-person groups,” she said.
Joanna Campbell, a nurse at Mount Carmel hospital, has had many challenges due to families not being able to come inside the hospital. “Trying to explain different levels of care in skilled nursing facilities and what they offer is harder. I have to spend a lot of time emailing lists to families and making follow-up calls to get their choices,” she said.
Along with the challenges work-related Campbell has faced, she also has the challenge of not being allowed in the assisted living facility her parents live in. “ I cannot visit their room and eat with them in their dining room or have movie nights, etc. It is very hard on families,” she said.
Feeling isolated, stressed, and even depressed are all things that came with the pandemic. According to Kaiser Family Foundation, “During the pandemic, about four in ten adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, a share that has been largely consistent, up from one in 10 adults who reported these symptoms from January to June 2019.”
Messner describes herself as a very extroverted person so having to be isolated from her friends and families was a hard thing for her. “I had a much harder time last spring when everything was shut down because I just didn’t know what to expect. I’m in a much better place now than I was then, though,” she said.
Campbell had increased anxiety towards the beginning of the pandemic due to working at a hospital. “My kids went to live in a camper for two weeks because I was so afraid I would make them sick. It was lonely living alone,” she said.
To help with the stress and strain the pandemic has caused many people are trying to keep themselves busy.
Messner has relied on Facetime to stay in contact with her friends/family and has leaned on her teacher friends more than ever. “My teacher friends and I are in a unique position to be able to understand what each other is going through during this year, so it’s been very helpful to be able to talk through things with people who truly understand the stressors this year has put on us as educators,” she said.
Campbell watches a lot of Netflix, walks on the treadmill, and declutters her home to relieve some stress. “It helps me feel like I am in control,” she said.
“Try to remain optimistic and enjoy any bit of sunshine I can get.” is the motto Frech is setting for herself during this unsettling time.
Although the pandemic has been a scary and hard time for everyone, many are lucky to feel the support to keep them going.
“ I feel very lucky to work at South. Our administration team has done a great job of providing us with the support we’ve asked for this year,” Messner said. She cherishes the close-knit group of people she can always reach out to.
The pandemic has had a negative impact on everyone, but Campbell believes eventually that everyone can go back to their way of living before the pandemic. “I hope everyone follows the rules, wears a mask, washes their hands, etc,” she said.
“This past year will be a lasting memory for anyone who lived through it. I think we will all walk away with more appreciation of the little things,” Frech said.