Families face many challenges during pandemic

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Eriana Ruiz

Jocelyn Gomez, Contributing Writer

An official proclamation was issued by Gov. Gregg Abbott on March 13 declaring a state of disaster in Texas because of COVID-19. With the extension of Abbott’s original order, Dallas County issued a shelter-in-place order. Residents were required to adapt to new ways of living day-to-day. Work, errands and education changed quickly.
Nonessential employees were required to work from home to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Residents juggled their daily lives and work schedules. Adapting to a new normal was more accessible to some while others continue to face challenges.
Amanda Burns, an English professor at Mountain View and North Lake colleges, said, “Working from home wasn’t much of a mental or physical challenge, but suddenly having to homeschool my second grader while teaching my college students was a huge challenge.”
North Texas school districts attempted to make the online learning process easier, providing students with access to devices that would enable them to continue their education from home. Burns said: “Grand Prairie ISD teachers are provided with MacBooks and iPads, and all students received iPads as well. So that transition was very easy.”
Dallas Independent School District also has helped several families.
Desiree M. Gutierrez, a Dallas College, student said, “They provided Chromebooks to middle schoolers.”
Gutierrez, a mother of three and an essential employee at a local company, said she took two semester-long classes. She also signed up for two short classes that were scheduled to start after spring break. However, those courses were moved online to prevent the spread of the virus among students, faculty and staff. “It was really taking a toll on my mental health due to the fact that I had planned a heavy load of school without anticipating having to come home and homeschool.”
North Lake student Natalie Martinez said: “COVID has been good to us. Everyone is working and my brother is still attending his football summer camp. My mom is on her summer vacation since she’s a teacher right now.”
Guiterrez’s family has faced different challenges but it has brought them closer. She said: “I will say they do miss a lot of social stuff but being home more has given us the opportunity to teach them a lot of life skills –cooking, cleaning and getting themselves ready – that they didn’t know before.”
While Abbott allowed businesses to reopen in phases, school districts are still weighing their options. According to DISD’s website, Superintendent Michael Hinojosa has shared district updates on district operations. Possible scenarios include re-opening Aug. 17 under normal conditions, opening with a blended model or continuing with remote learning.
Gutierrez said: “I’m hoping they do go back because I know my kids miss getting out the house. They learn better in a school atmosphere.”