All Our Lives Changed in 2020

The year 2020 is a year to remember forever. My life changed. All our lives changed. We changed our routines. We washed our hands more frequently than usual. We wore face masks. We physically distanced ourselves from each other. All because of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

On March 11th I traveled from Waycross with my Leadership Waycross Class of 2020, coordinated by the local Chamber of Commerce, to visit the Georgia Capitol in Atlanta. I was nervous about the trip because the virus had already arrived in the state. On March 2nd two persons in Fulton County, father and son, had reportedly tested positive for the virus. When we got to the hotel, I made sure not to touch the elevator buttons with my bare hands. When we ate, I had my hand sanitizer with me. When we arrived at the Capitol, it was crowded with people but I made sure not to walk near them and not to touch anything that others may have touched. We were told that the Governor would be meeting and taking photos with us but he would not be shaking hands. That was fine with me. The Leadership Waycross activities had to be halted after this visit.

Probably about a week later, I was instructed to work from home. Fortunately, we college librarians were already embedded in some college classes. This meant I could communicate with some students on GeorgiaView, a learning management system, and help them access accurate information for their research needs using various databases available to them online. Working from home meant communicating with my coworkers using Microsoft Team. Working from home meant keeping records; records of how many professional development classes I attended and how many students I helped.

Returning to work in May during the pandemic required planning, preparing, and also placing signage all over the library. Part of the plan to keep staff and students safe involved rearranging furniture and removing some computers so that students could maintain physical distance of about 6 feet. I helped place signage around the library to remind students to wear their masks, sanitize hands, and maintain physical distance especially in the group study rooms. Up to 9 students could use the group rooms before COVID. During COVID no more than 3 persons were allowed in a room. Initially someone took my temperature every morning with a no contact forehead thermometer as I entered the building. Eventually staff and faculty received their own thermometer. On Mondays I had to complete a self-check health screen form and scan it to the Human Resources Department. My Kiwanis Club turned 100 on November 27, 2020. Activities to celebrate had to be postponed. Activities to serve the children in our community had to be canceled. We changed our meetings from Jerry J’s Country Café to meeting via Zoom. Club members love reading to children. We changed from in person reading at schools to linking with our public library and reading books to children using Facebook. All our lives changed.

This story is part of a Educators collection.