(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.