Living Through COVID-19
Living Through COVID-19
Samuel M. Waldrop
The COVID-19 pandemic is one that changed the world in nearly every way imaginable. It began to plague the world in March 2020, and has still not stopped here in October 2021. Many select items were consistently out of stock in grocery stores. Many restaurants closed to indoor dining and shifted to online ordering and take-out only, while some closed completely, thus going out of business. Schools, from elementary all the way up to postsecondary, closed to in-person learning and shifted to meeting virtually, the vast majority of students and teachers using Zoom for instruction. The large number of students and teachers suddenly utilizing Zoom led to the system crashing on multiple occasions, causing instruction to become asynchronous and causing students’ attendance to be counted through their completion of assignments. After a while, schools in select states began to reopen, giving students a choice to either remain virtual or attend school in person. The students who chose face-to-face instruction were required, however, to wear face masks the entire time they were on campus and not in their cars. This led a considerable number of students to purchase face shields that allowed them to breathe fresh air while preventing them from breathing on other people. Additionally, particularly at the very beginning of the pandemic, grocery stores required all of their customers to wear face masks while shopping inside the store, and also to maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. In an effort to ensure this physical distancing, the stores had arrows taped to the floor in each aisle that directed customers as to which way they were to walk down each aisle. People were also afraid to do so much as cough or sneeze in public, because if they did, they were guaranteed to get looks from people around them, causing it to become shameful to cough or sneeze. I was one of many front-line essential workers, as I worked in the retail industry during the pandemic, specifically for Publix Super Markets, Inc. I therefore saw firsthand the supply shortage that plagued stores, and I had many customers come to me telling me that they couldn’t find an item or items that they had been buying for 20 years, and they would ask me if the store would be getting any of those items any time soon. I always then asked those who oversaw deliveries, and they would almost always tell me that they had no idea when those items would be coming in next. That was a hard pill to swallow for both me and the customer, because they weren’t able to get something they needed, and I hate to see customers leave the store unsatisfied. I along with everyone prayed that supply would soon return to normal and that there would be no more large empty spaces on store shelves, and also that the pandemic itself would come to end soon, allowing everyday life to return to normal as well.
anonymous, “Living Through COVID-19,” Columbus State University Archives and Special Collections , accessed December 1, 2021, http://digitalarchives.columbusstate.edu/items/show/4087.