Home life, work life both impacted

Contra Costa schools close and change daily life

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In mid-March, schools in Contra Costa County – including De Anza High School — started to close, shops were shuttered and restaurants shut down their seating areas and began doing only take-out. 

This was all due to the coronavirus sweeping the nation along with most of the world. The virus has changed almost everything around us and has given us a new normal. Instead of worrying about how much money I’ll have going to the movies, I have to worry about whether I remembered my mask for work and whether I have gloves that fit me so customers won’t be paranoid about my touching their food.

With school closed, I have been trying to work more to help out my mother with bills since she lost her second job because of business closures. 

     That is a bit difficult, though, because of online schooling. I work at Trader Joe’s, which, thankfully, is considered essential and stays open. But, that hasn’t stopped us workers from taking extra precautions. 

    Beginning a few weeks ago, we have been doing crowd control outside our store, allowing no more than 60 people at a time inside. This includes workers and customers. We also aren’t able to have as many people as before in the break room, and are told to stay out of the break room as much as possible. We must keep hand sanitizer on at all times and wear our masks throughout our shifts.

 It’s not just work life that is affected. It’s home life, too. We have no more school or daycare for the smaller children, so they have to stay home. This makes it extremely difficult to arrange work schedules or find time to sit down and have a Zoom call with teachers. 

I’ve had to watch my smaller brothers so my mother could go to work and pay bills that seem never ending. But it’s not just me that’s being affected, it’s also my close friends. 

   I interviewed my best friend, Keely Fry, and my boyfriend, Kenn Haynes, to gain an outside perspective on the virus. 

When asked what reactions occurred when they learned the news of school being suspended, I got mixed reactions. 

“I was pretty happy to not be attending school anymore, but it was nice to see friends,” Kenn said. “But, I am in independent study anyway, so it’s not a super big deal.”

Keely, though, said, “ It was a bit of a shock, but not a big surprise. I am sad about not seeing my friends, but at least my separation can help slow the spread.”

Along with their different views of school being suspended, it seems as though their views on family life and online schooling differ as well.

“With school being slow starting online learning and educational programs, it’s been difficult to just sit and wait to see what’s going to happen,” Kenn said, “especially with temptations such as sleep and generally slacking off.” 

Keely has also felt the temptations of procrastination. “But, my family and I have been closer than ever now. We see my baby brother full time now since there is no daycare.”

        Kenn has had a different experience with his family. “My family is doing OK — everyone is just a bit on edge. My mom has pretty bad anxiety, and having many people in the house doesn’t seem to help. She has taken medication for it in the past and now she has to take more, which is already kind of difficult to get to because of some pharmacies closing.”