My name is Stacy Turnbull, I am 12 years old and I live just outside Seattle, Washington. My life was totally normal until March of 2020 when this corona-virus thing started. I mean, I went to school everyday, my mom, who is a realtor, worked from home and my dad, who is a doctor, went to work at the hospital. I had friends over after school and on the weekends, we had family dinners and neighborhood BBQ’s. My older brother, Steve, even started his first job at the local diner down the street.
But then we started to hear about this new virus over in China, it seemed to be spreading like crazy and the doctors didn’t know how to stop it. I wasn’t worried about it, after all it was all the way over in China, how could it get to us here in the United States. It did not take long though before it was here in the US, that is when I became scared. Could I catch it? Could my family catch it? China had closed everything, was that going to happen here? What about school? What about my friends? Mom and Dad tried to reassure me that everything was going to be alright. They said our government and medical system was doing all they could to stop the spread of the virus and to find a treatment for it.
It did not take long before Dad was treating patients with the virus at the hospital. When my BFF Amy would come over, we would talk about how worried we were about our dads. Amy’s dad is a doctor too and works with my dad at the hospital. We were scared they would catch the virus from the patients they were treating and maybe even bring it home and give it to us. We were afraid to hug our dad’s when they came home from work, even knowing they had come home and gone straight to the bathroom to take a shower first.
Then came that day in March, I remember hearing the announcements on the television. All schools are closed, all businesses are closed except for essential ones like hospitals and grocery stores, everyone is to stay inside – you can only go out when it is necessary. I really did not understand what it all meant. I figured it would be like Christmas vacation or something, I’d be out of school for a week or two and then go back, no big deal.
The first big difference I noticed was when I asked Mom if Amy could come over and play. She said, “No, no one can come over and we can’t go to anyone’s house until the stay-at-home order is lifted.” No one can come over? We can’t go anywhere? But what about Grandma’s birthday party? Mom said we would have to wait until this was over to have Grandma’s party. She said I could talk to Amy on the phone, but she could not come over. Ok, so this is not like Christmas vacation and I don’t like it at all.
The next thing that happened was Steve lost his job because the diner couldn’t serve people inside anymore, they could not pay him anymore. Steve was really upset about loosing his job, he seemed to look forward to getting out of the house for a few hours every day. Now he just plays video games all day and Mom does not like that.
I had been out of school for two weeks when mom got a letter from the school, she got one from Steve’s school too. The letters said that we were going to start distance learning and that mom needed to go to our schools to pick up laptops for us to use at home. Mom explained that we would be doing our schoolwork on the laptops and that she and our teachers would be helping us. So, mom went and picked up the laptops and got the instructions from the school on what to do and how to get started. So, Monday morning we got up at 8:00 am, which is when school used to start, and mom had everything set up for us by 9:30 am and Steve and I started doing our lessons online.
It was kind of tough at first, the website would crash, or the pages would not load, but after the first week things were better, and we could do our work without any problems. I didn’t mind the new way of doing school, in fact I kind a like it. It is fun and takes less time than regular school. I only spend about five hours doing schoolwork now instead of six hours at school and then another two or three hours of homework.
Amy and I talk almost every night, and we are both still worried about our dads. Especially now that there are so many cases here and our dads are working longer hours, and no one seems to know how to stop this virus. We know that some of the nurses and other doctors have gotten sick, a couple of them are even in the hospital because they are really sick. I heard Dad tell Mom that one of the nurse’s families have all tested positive for the virus, so Amy and I are worried that we will catch the virus too.
But we didn’t want to be afraid, so we decided to come up with something that would help protect our families and keep us safe. We talked about all kinds of ideas, like spraying our dads down with Lysol when they came home but we knew that would not work when we realized you could not get Lysol at the store. But then we did come up with what we thought was a good plan.
We both had garages and an outside bathroom for the pool that was close to the garage. So, if we set up a table in the garage with disinfecting wipes, a trash can and bins – one empty for their cleaned keys and phones, one with clean towels and one for their shoes. When they came home, they would go into the garage, wipe down their phone and keys and put them into the bin. Then they would take off their shoes and put them into the shoe bin, next they would grab a towel then head to the bathroom, stopping at the washing machine to remove their clothes and put them into the machine. We would have clean clothes and shoes waiting for them in the bathroom, and after their showers they would come into the house. When we told our parents about our idea, they thought it was a wonderful idea and by the next day both garages were set up the way we wanted.
It has been two months since this all started, I miss hanging out with my friends and Mom and Dad said we will not be going back to regular school this year and that we may have a “new normal” for a while. I don’t know what all that means, I’m just glad that I’m no longer afraid to give my dad a hug when he comes home from work.