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Locals share their experiences of Coulee life during COVID

 

Last updated 1/6/2021 at 8:37am



Local people are handling issues presented by the COVID-19 pandemic in different ways, with many optimistic about 2021, but many not.

With an online survey focused on Coulee life during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Star asked questions related to how work, raising kids, and life in general have been affected.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents (61%) said they plan to get the vaccine.

Forty-eight percent (28) said they plan to get it as soon as they can. Only eight (14%) said they plan to get it after others try it first. Thirteen people (22%) said they don’t plan to get it, and 10 (17%) were unsure.

Working from home

Out of 59 respondents, 14 said they are working from home, with 12 saying they like it and two saying they don’t. 

They shared their thoughts on the topic:

“You pick your battles and release old expectations,” one respondent said.

“I am loving the home-work balance,” another said. “I go into the office when I need to but otherwise am teleworking.”

Difficulty focusing is one issue mentioned by a couple of respondents, with one noting a loud neighborhood as being an issue. 

Two other respondents mentioned setting up a specific space for working from home.

“Set up a space for an office with privacy and there have been no concerns,” one person wrote. “However, we don’t have children so that might be why!”

And indeed that might be why, with balancing working and parenting being a common issue, and trouble finding childcare making things harder for some. 

“Working and helping kids with school is a challenge,” one respondent said. “When there is a conflict between the two, which is often, work necessarily wins out. It doesn’t matter if the kids are caught up on assignments if we can’t keep the heat on. … We just defer school until the work is done. The kids are behind in school, but they’re fed.” 

“The experience has been both good and challenging,” one respondent said. “Dedicating space in our house to act as an office space was time consuming. Add that to doing the same for school workspace means our house is temporarily both office and school. Desks were installed and Internet upgraded. School zoom meeting times often clash, bogging down the broadband. Sometimes band practice doesn’t mesh with quiet listening for math. For work, more zoom meetings on older equipment sometimes means we are dropped from meetings.”

Raising kids

With 17 respondents having school-age children, the conflict between the parents work schedules and children’s education is a common theme in responses. 

“I’m at work 10 hrs a day, so by the time I get home, I have to start dinner, and I’m a single mother,” one respondent said. 

“I have the kids do their schoolwork and supplemental work while I’m on the clock working,” another said. “They have their job (school), I have mine. They make pretty good co-workers and are self sufficient enough to where it works for us. Their supplementals include the websites their school provides like Zearn, ABC Mouse/Adventure Academy, SHARP kids activities, and Rosetta Stone- with breaks in between to play. Giving them enough work to last thru the end of my work day has worked wonders and kept them used to a full day of learning, so it isn’t a rude awakening when school goes back to normal.” 

“Our family works full-time and I will not send my child to school,” another response reads. “I also attend college full-time and I find it difficult to provide adequate time to help my child with their school work because it’s one on one help they need and the teacher doesn’t contact parents or anything. I’m glad daycare let my older child go with my other child. It’s expensive but there is nothing else I can do at this time.” 

“We are lucky to still have child care,” a parent said. “Our daycare is situated in a way that keeps our child in a core group of school aged children. They practice social distancing. We make sure our child completes online school work before going to daycare. There they participate in class zoom meetings and other activities. While they are at daycare I complete work from home. Unfortunately, given the fact that we are staying home most of the time we have run out of new ideas to keep the kids busy. They probably get more screen time than is recommended. However, our older kids have taken up new hobbies. One is learning about electrical engineering and the other is learning a new computer programming language.

“Coulee Kids Daycare has been amazing this pandemic,” another respondent said about the daycare center in Coulee Dam. “They have stayed open the whole time and implemented precautions right away (masks, sanitizing, temperature checks etc).” 

“Online school has been a miss,” they continued. “It’s unfortunate my elementary aged children are missing a whole year’s worth of learning. We try to supplement what we can but it’s been a challenge with two full time parents who do not have the luxury of working from home.”

Distance learning and keeping kids busy is a common topic parents weighed in on, with some parents liking it more than others. 

“She is self motivated as far as school work goes, I am lucky,” one parent wrote about their daughter. “I have allowed her a brother, sister and one friend to hang out with, they are usually outside. We bought a pool for the summer (were told the chlorine kills the virus). Set up backyard to allow small family group to visit outside with distancing. Try to keep life as normal as possible, with limits.”

“We’ve had to buy extra computer equipment (headsets, microphone, extra screen), but it’s worked well,” one parent said. “Given our child is a [high school] senior, we’ve sought outdoor entertainment (hikes, fishing, boating, etc.) to fill the gaps.” 

“Thankfully my kids are a bit older so I don’t have to sit with them while they do school,” one person wrote. “No real problems.”

“My child’s structure is destroyed,” another said. “It is impossible to keep a focus on school. The fear of missing out is constant. Feeling bored and lonely is a constant. Life on screen is not good for our children, their parents are struggling as well which creates stress on the family.” 

 

Other pandemic

effects on life

Many people are sharing the experience of missing travelling, eating at restaurants, missing friends and family, as well as missing common interactions like saying hi at the post office. 

One respondent said, “I’ve learned to take whatever safety precautions possible at all times and to treasure those you love every day and spend time with extended family more when the pandemic is over and can be together again.”

“It’s made me cherish my family a lot more,” another wrote. “It’s made me more uneasy to be around others because I don’t know who they have been around.”

Others also noted an awkward feeling while out in public. 

“When I go to the grocery store or even a walk, I feel like people are afraid of each other and the neighborly feel isn’t there,” one respondent said. “I get it, the virus is bad and people have to be careful. I just hope that this doesn’t change our culture to be permanently anti-social.”

Grandparents not seeing their grandkids, and kids missing their friends is another thing on peoples’ minds.

“We are usually a family that is doing everything each weekend,” one person wrote. “This has definitely slowed us down which isn’t a bad thing but the kids are only little once and I feel like they are being cheated out of a lot of experiences they would be enjoying and learning from otherwise.” 

Some people describe themselves as “homebodies” and say they are getting things done during the pandemic.

“We have taken the time to complete needed tasks at our home (like replacing our old fence),” one person said.

“I’ve learned that socially distancing is normal for me,” another said. “ I have had time to get more projects done at home.”

Others noted patience, self sufficiency, and other values as things they have learned during the pandemic. 

One person’s life was more affected by COVID than others.

“I had COVID and was very sick, out of work for six weeks,” that person said. “How much more can it affect your life besides death?” 

 

Politics 

Some political responses were inevitable with the topic of the pandemic. 

“I have learned that if everyone isn’t on the same page this thing could go on and on,” one person lamented. “Too bad we couldn’t have all been working together to beat this, but I guess we no longer work together.”

Similarly, another person said, “I have learned that there are way more selfish people out there than I knew. I think if there had been more working together, this pandemic wouldn’t have gotten to the point it is now!”

“A whole lot of hypocritical people,” another said. “They point out others but don’t comply themselves. They rely on facebook over common sense. Constant blame and political devision.”

“The governor is a moron,” another said. 

“People still look to the ‘God of government’ over the true God,” one person said. “The ‘God of government’ gives them an illusion of security, safety and control while they fall into captivity by unscrupulous men and spheres of influence. What I have observed is the ease at which a society can fall lockstep into taking on the ‘mask of the beast’ and to allow government to run every little aspect of their lives.”

 

The vaccine and 2021

Those taking the survey were asked “with vaccines now being given out, are you optimistic about the coming year, 2021?”

 

Out of the 59 answers, 34 said they were optimistic, and 25 said they were not. 

One person said they are “cautiously optimistic,” because “too many people will not get the vaccine, and way too many still not wearing masks.”

“I’m optimistic but I have little faith in people,” another said. “I am very disappointed in those who won’t get the vaccination.”

Multiple people hope that the vaccination helps lead to businesses reopening, and getting life back to “the new normal.” 

Some are less optimistic, with one noting the “new mutated strain” of COVID and saying that progress has not been made “in social distancing and the positive test numbers. Feels like this is just what life will be from now on.”

“Vaccines have nothing to do about 2021,” another person wrote. “In 1955, when I got the first polio vaccine during 1st. grade, it had nothing to do with how 1956 went. My only thoughts on 2021 is that, as with all flu’s, it could lessen.”

“About 40% of Americans have proven willing to believe utter nonsense instead of verifiable truth,” another wrote, “so a lot of them will probably not be vaccinated in case of microchips in the vaccine or some other whacko propaganda.” 

Most respondents seem to believe in the validity of the vaccine, but some are skeptical.

Many are still expecting social restrictions and closed businesses to continue through 2021.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents (61%) said they plan to get the vaccine.

Forty-eight percent (28) said they plan to get it as soon as they can. Only eight (14%) said they plan to get it after others try it first. Thirteen people (22%) said they don’t plan to get it, and 10 (17%) were unsure.

 

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