I’ve been back and forth hundreds of times, just trying to put into words what we are up against, and what the entire planet is facing. Surreal, to say the least, as none of us, nor our parents or even grandparents have ever experienced. New uncharted territory of what life will now look like the next few months, at the very least, and likely longer. Terms like quarantine, shuttered boarders, distance learning, social distancing, and pandemic are now household, everyday vocabulary.
The Corona Virus ravaged China, making its way around the world to every continent except for Antarctica. Here, in the United States, the majority of cases are currently in Washington State and New York, and the number of confirmed cases grow minute by minute. It’s no secret how crowded New York City is, living on top of on another in towering high rises. I’m not going to go in the political, or start going on rants about government control or the there lack of, but the truth is that Siella and Gemma’s school was compromised with teacher potentially testing positive for COVID 19 (still waiting results in 3-5 days!) and the a lack of available tests- some balls have been dropped. If we don’t start taking this matter MUCH more seriously, we are days away from suffering dire conditions like that of our friends in Italy.
As of Thursday, my family and I have been social distancing, which is exponentially more difficult as a New Yorker! All of my work events last week were cancelled, and I chose not to attend a Broadway show earlier in the week, as large gatherings are culprit of the virus spreading. Broadway was eventually shut down just days later. As Jason was dealing with commercial shoots canceling and shutting down, I focused on getting my outstanding campaigns completed and shot, while simultaneously stocking up on canned and non perishable foods, hand sanitizers (the few I found), cleaning supplies, you name it. I decided to cancel mine and Ryder’s annual trip to Utah for his spring break, and couldn’t be more happy with my choice. I couldn’t bare the thought of being quarantined or locked down across the country, away from Jason and the girls. Skiing will happen again, next season.
At dismissal last Tuesday, Ryder’s school announced that they would be starting spring break early, rather than waiting the end of the week. With that, and plenty of other local private schools closing, Jason and I decided to keep the girls home from their public school. It was a difficult choice, but it was made with them, their peers, our family and plenty of others in mind. How can social distancing succeed, if schools remained open! I mean come on. State wide in New York, how can gatherings of over 500 people have been banned; but NYC Public School that carry double, triple or even quadruple that amount remain operational . Sure, I am aware that many students rely on the meals provided via school attendance, and the child care it provides working parents, but other municipalities have found solutions, and New York City needs to do the same. And its not just for our children. Teachers and faculty are at serious risk.
So now what do we do when confined to our apartment for the past few days. I mentioned a few new terms earlier, but I forgot to toss home schooling in there. For 2 to 3 hours per day, Jason and I have been home schooling the kids- weekends included. Fortunately, Ryder’s teachers sent home spring break assignments, and the girls’ have proactively shared assignments on a Google drive during our self opted absences. Siella’s bi-weekly tutor sessions uptown have been converted to video conference sessions on the tablet, and we’ve been trying to keep it fun- even my pop quizes! Don’t get me wrong, there’s been a few tears shed. Ryder’s continues to remind us that he is on spring break, he doesn’t have to do work. Unfortunately we are trying to get him accustomed to the new norm, not to mention that a little extra work can’t hurt.
I wish I could say its only going to be like this for two weeks or so, but we know thats not the case. This is merely the tip of the iceberg. Things are going to change soon, and unfortunately they will only get worse. I have so many friends overseas that I’ve been keeping in touch with, and unfortunately the US is on the same path. I’m doing my best remain calm, which works 60% of the time. I’m on a few group texts with friends and those are helping save my sanity. We’ve laughed, cried, and just given one another a shoulder, from a far, and I hope that continues.
While we are trying to stay informed, we try not to allow TV and cell phone news notifications consume our entire well-being. I’ve limited time watching the news as it’s only adds to the anxiety. We’ve made it a point to get outside daily, for a bike or scooter ride, or just a walk to enjoy the sun. I’m still food shopping daily, picking up little items here and there, to be prepared when and if the inevitable lockdown comes.
Through it all, we still need to laugh, we need to stay civil, and we need humanity. Maybe, go the extra mile, and check in on your elderly neighbor (from a distance of course). Make sure they have what they need, and that they are ok. And let’s cancel everything, and keep our distance, so we can stop the spread and mitigate this situation. Take social distancing seriously, try to stay positive, take this time and really use it wisely. To be continued……
***Update: Mayor De Blasio has FINALLY cancelled all NYC Public Schools, starting Monday March 15th until at least Monday April 20th!