Community members adjust to life during and after COVID-19

As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the lives of many have drastically changed. With many schools and workplaces going from in-person to online and the prohibition of large gatherings, life before and after the Coronavirus pandemic are “very, very different.”


*Learning in the living room… Sitting in an online class, elementary school student Alivia Wilkins listens to read- aloud stories from her living room. Many students and parents alike are working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.*

To reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep people safe, many gathering spots shut down and have since adjusted their rules to fit a “new normal” in response to the pandemic over the past year.
At the beginning of the pandemic, it was very hard to adjust to the “rapidly changing environment,” according to business teacher Perry Engard.
“The most prominent thing for me was that I was more health-conscious,” Engard said. “I washed and sanitized my hands at least double the amount, and, of course, I always had to remember my mask.”
Some of the daily changes have been more drastic than excessive sanitation and mask wearing, like going from in-person schooling to online schooling, according to elementary student Alivia Wilkins.
“I started online school in February, and I like it a lot better,” Wilkins said. “It makes it more comfortable and safe to do it at home, plus I feel less scared and stressed.”
Like Wilkins, former Dock Mennonite Academy student Jacob Bechtel also transferred into an online academy.
“I love being online because I don’t have to worry about synchronous learning. My new online school is super flexible, and I love being able to just do things from home,” Bechtel said.
The asynchronous learning method is better for some students and their home circumstances.
“I live on a farm, and helping out is something really important to me. With learning from home, I can use my time evenly between working and doing school,” Bechtel said.
Many workplaces have also resorted to remaining at home.
Keystone Fire Protection employee Amy Ashe believes that the biggest and most difficult adjustment has been trying to work from home while balancing having her kids at home, as well.
“My daughter now does school from home, and I always find myself having to split time between helping her with school and doing my job from home too, and it was definitely hard to get used to,” Ashe said.
Along with Ashe, Engard has some experience with remote work.
“My wife actually does hair, and right now she’s doing it from home… I definitely never thought I’d have to wear a mask in my own house, but you do what you have to do,” Engard said.
Along with changing the locations of daily practices, there’s also a more “sentimental side” to this pandemic, Engard said.
“I love doing things on a whim, and I always loved to go out to big things, like sporting events…especially on a whim,” Engard said. “Since the pandemic, even now that things are getting a bit better, it’s still difficult to be able to do that.”
Wilkins misses the social aspects the most.
“I miss being able to go to birthday parties at fun places with all my friends, and I miss going to the big pools in the summer,” Wilkins said.
Junior Oisin Carolan misses being able to gather regularly.
“Whether it’s clubs or just seeing my friends a lot, it’s hard not being able to be around others as much,” Carolan said.
Though many things have changed, Carolan hopes that life will soon return to “at least kind of normal” with the help of continued safety precautions and the vaccine.