J. Oliver Choo is a graduating senior from Fox Chapel Area High School.

Black Fox Chapel students have spoken up about racism in our school district. Now students like me are no longer afraid to share our experiences.

Until a month ago, I was proud of graduating from Fox Chapel Area High School. I was grateful for the enthusiastic faculty as well as the friendships I had made. However, the recent controversy surrounding racism at Fox Chapel has compelled me to revisit my own experience with prejudice at the school – one that I have tried hard to forget. My ethnicity is half-Taiwanese and half-Korean. My heritage is known for its legendary empires, scientific innovation and excellent cuisine.

Cristie Bloom with her husband, Chris Gabuzda, and their four children ( Lillian, 9; Miles, 8; Eleanor, 6; Elias, 4). (Courtesy photo)

In search of another large, cautious Pittsburgh-area family to join our ‘quarantine pod’

The world as we know it changed when COVID-19 surfaced and brought with it new ideas about what it means to be safe. I trust in science and appreciate the need to minimize risk, but maximizing the opportunity for my family's happiness is also important. 

As we move forward into this new world where social distancing, masks and the constant smell of sanitizer are expected to continue without an end in sight, the future looks brighter with the thought of friends by our side. 

So, one night, in the middle of our latest Netflix binge, I asked my husband how he would feel about finding another family to quarantine with us. He stared at me blankly and laughed. "How would that even work? How would we know that another family would follow the same precautions that we're taking?

Our cities are burning, and so is the mental health of this African-American teen

“To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.” —James Baldwin, author and civil rights activist

This is the perfect quote to describe my reaction to the recent events involving Black men that have taken place during quarantine: a constant state of rage, sadness and hopelessness. Perhaps being able to go out and converse with my friends and peers would help me cope with these events, but unfortunately that wouldn’t help with my healing. 

(Courtesy photo)

With a newborn, 5-year old and new diploma, I am juggling it all amid the pandemic. Because is there even a choice?

It’s Feb. 28, the Friday before my due date and the last day with the students I have been learning along as a student-teacher. I have grown so attached to the students since I started two and a half months earlier. Even though it has been a process acclimating and learning the gears and grooves of everyday teaching at a charter school, I am thoroughly enjoying the uphill process. My timing is improving, lessons becoming smooth like jazz, and I even have some inside jokes with the students.

"When I saw the crisis so many of my fellow parents were thrown into, I wanted to offer peace and love to them," writes Leah Walker, who homeschools four children. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

Advice for reluctant homeschoolers from a single mom who schools four children: Give yourself some grace.

The thought of spreading or bringing home something that could be deadly is frightening. I worry about my family and friends. And I worry that my friends are under an unusual amount of stress from having to wear extra hats during a global pandemic and how that will affect them in the long run. I’ve been schooling my children at home for three years and worry often if I am enough for them.

What is lost: On (not) teaching during a pandemic

On the sixth day of social distancing, I sat on my couch and finished rereading “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” which my AP literature class is — or was — studying. Even after teaching the novel for years, I still don’t get the title. 

Near the end of the book, a hurricane whips and cracks against the cabin where Janie, Tea Cake and their friend Motor Boat are riding out the storm. Along with the people in the other cabins surrounding them, “[t]hey seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God.” 

For a book so invested in exploring the individual and her relationship to the community, this sudden turn to nature, catastrophe and God has always felt random to me. But perhaps that is the point. Because that is just how all life is — struck down by random turns of the divine. 

Just over a month ago, my life was dedicated to lesson plans, critical theory and equitable grading practices.

"In Pennsylvania and the United States at large, we need scalable contact tracing and testing to most appropriately place people in quarantine," writes retired physician Barbara W. Brandom. "If it’s not done, COVID-19 will spread here as social distancing guidelines are relaxed." (Courtesy photo)

As a career healthcare professional, I believe PA should follow the Hong Kong model of testing and contact tracing.

Now is the time that reliable and expansive public health efforts, which have shut down this pandemic in other parts of the world, must be implemented in the United States. We need easily accessible, widespread testing for SARS-CoV-2, so that people with positive test results and minimal or no symptoms go into quarantine and do not infect other people unknowingly.