Pandemic Reflections: Making Progress One Year Later

Pandemic Reflections: Making Progress One Year Later
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In the past year, our lives have changed in many ways because of COVID 19. March 12, 2020 was the last day of normal routines of school and work for many of us.  Today, one year later, life is still interrupted but with schools slowly opening their buildings and vaccines being rapidly distrubuted, we are feeling hopeful.

Schools have been closed down, most restaurants have been closed down and life has been very strange. We all have been wearing masks for about a year and we have tried to stay socially distant from each other.  Yet, with all of these precautions, since a year ago, more than 500,000 Americans have died from this virus. Finally there is some hope on the horizon. Three  vaccines have been discovered which will help stop the spread of COVID 19. In this article we will look at what vaccines are currently available and how long scientists think it will take for life to get back to normal.

There are three major companies that have been approved by the FDA to produce a vaccine for Covid-19 virus. These companies are Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson. The distribution of the vaccines has been a big problem because so many people wanted the vaccine. Top priority has been given to elderly people and frontline workers. So far, there have been about 92 million Americans vaccinated and President Biden’s goal is to have all adults vaccinated by May.  The vaccines have been found to be at least 90% effective. After getting vaccinated, you may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. The most common side effects are pain and swelling in the arm where you received the shot. In addition, you may have fever, chills, tiredness, and headache. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. The states are in charge of distributing the vaccines and it varies from county to county but they all rely on CDC’s recommendations.

This past year has been a very difficult year for many people.  Over 520,000 Americans have died and the economy has suffered. The good news is that several vaccines have been approved within this year and vaccines are being administered. It’s amazing that the scientists were able to develop a vaccine in such a short amount of time. There are still a lot of questions about the vaccine but we are feeling more hopeful now. Finally, we will share some student reflections about the changes this past year has brought about. March 12, 2021 is the one year anniversary of our regional school shut down. This is a year we will not forget.

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Below are some reflections from students.  They have considered the effects of the pandemic on their lives on three different levels; personal, societal, and governmental.


On a personal level we have considered what we have learned about ourselves. Students have seen growth in their own maturity and the ways that they appreciate others.  Our sense of normal life was shaken and we developed new routines from day to day.  We began to call it “the new normal”.  There were feelings of anxiety and loneliness that all of us faced.  We have become more flexible and forgiving with ourselves and others.  Some of us struggled to work and provide for our families even as businesses shut down and we struggled through the adjustment to learning “virtually” through online technology.  We had to find our new virtual voices of participation.

As we observed society around us we at first were shocked by how quiet things became.  The streets were empty in the Spring of 2020 as so much uncertainty and mixed messages about safety were circulating in the media. Families began to feel isolated because we could not visit relatives. Society became much more connected through online technology and social media.  While some businesses struggled others became much more profitable like Amazon, Uber eats, and grocery delivery.  We learned how to be creative and problem solve for the common good.  Unfortunately the gaps between the wealthy and the poor are more obvious but hopefully we are also now more aware. During this time of pandemic we faced civil unrest in a variety of ways.

When we reflect on the messages of leadership from local to national, it seemd as if the message was always changing and increasing our social divides.  In the midst of all of this, we had a very divisive Presidential election.  The Republican incubant was defeated by Democrat Joe Biden in November of 2020.  Politics became a confusing filter for citizens because the message about the pandemic was different from the Republicans compared to the Democrats.