Households in Pittsburgh discover silver lining for a full 12 months of social distancing – CBS Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A year after the pandemic, most people’s lives are changing dramatically. It was a different trip for everyone, but many families found some benefits along the way.
Closed shops, empty offices, and empty classrooms mean busy houses that now serve as an office, school, and cafeteria.
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Pittsburgh-based Mercedes Williams says it’s been tough for her family. Her husband works in a nursing home and her children have not been in class since March 13th. They attend the Pittsburgh Public Schools, which she also works at.
“It was just very difficult. It was very difficult, ”says Williams. “Working at home was one thing for me, but managing three different grade levels also took a toll.”
Williams says her 4-year-old daughter has a hard time sitting still for online school. Her new daughter is sad that she missed the fun parts of her freshman year like soccer games and dances. and her middle school-aged son has still not got out of a crisis, has missed friends and needs stimulation for personal learning.
“I don’t like being a headmaster, an arbitrator, an advisor, a social worker, or a food service worker,” she said. “I wouldn’t like to be any of that, but I feel like I’ve become more vulnerable and fragile over the past year and have a better understanding of what my kids are going through because I’m going through it too.”
Amber Phillips of the Hill District had her fourth baby, Gabriel, a few weeks after the pandemic started, and was fortunate that the pandemic meant she was given paid unemployment for her hairdressing job instead of unpaid maternity leave. Gabriel is like a mysterious baby, no one outside of the house has met him, but she prefers the parade of visitors.
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“This part is different,” said Phillips, “but I like the intimacy we have right now.”
Her 10-year-old son Gary says online school is difficult and he misses seeing friends, but Amber enjoys the unexpected time with him.
“It was nice to have a lot more time with your family because there really isn’t much else you can do,” she says.
Both families have support, which has enabled them to experience the benefits of quarantine.
“I think everything is better. We definitely have a closer relationship and I got to know my kids a lot better, ”said Williams. “To see how they learn, how they grow, I would definitely say this is the better time.”
Williams misses going to the movies, but instead has created themed nights and “Pandemic Picnics” every Friday, which she will continue to do after the pandemic ends. She cherishes every day, especially after so many people died from COVID and she got very sick herself.
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“It changes the way you look at life and how we understand it. I fought for three weeks [with COVID]and I’m so grateful and grateful to be here today to even speak to you, ”said Williams.