They are families with toddlers, elementary schoolers, pre-teens, teenagers, and college-bound high school graduates. They come from various cultural backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses.
Some share a home with extended family, including aging parents for whom they provide loving care. Others take care of bustling households full-time, and still, others spend hours a day commuting back and forth to work in the DMV area.
For all their differences, there is one thing each of these families and so many more like them have in common: most have spent several weeks under a state-mandated order to stay at home in an effort to contain the spread of a virus that has claimed the lives of over 135,000 people around the country – dozens of which were once part of our own Loudoun community. And all agree that life as we once knew it has likely changed forever.
COVID-19 has interrupted life in a way no one expected, least of all in the idyllic communities of Loudoun County, where children on bikes are trailed by watchful parents, couples stroll along scenic pathways, and families gather to chat outside their homes in any given neighborhood. Staying at home has brought challenges for which so many of us were unprepared. Challenges that affected our daily, our work, and our school lives – a few of which were shared in conversations we had with several local families who most certainly echo the sentiments of households around the county.
Working from Home While Homeschooling
The day-to-day commuting grind for which the DMV area is infamously known has come to a screeching halt for most non-essential workers. Working from home has become the current norm for many, and doing so is especially challenging for parents, who added the title of schoolteacher to their roles in the home as they taught their school-age children through the end of the school year.
Mavesh, a technical writer who typically commutes to Bethesda,
splits her daily schedule between working and overseeing the distance learning of her two young sons, while also giving attention to a daycare-age daughter who misses playing with her friends.
“It’s distracting, trying to work and teach the children at the same time,” the busy mom and wife admits, “but my employer understands that getting my deliverables in on time also requires some flexibility to my schedule.”
“I’ve never teleworked in my life, so this has been a change,” says Kathy, a government contractor who is used to dropping her children off at daycare each weekday to go onsite to work. “There are lots of videoconferences and phone calls with children running around and dogs barking in the background. But I think everybody understands because we’re all in the same boat.”