The New Norm

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COVID-19 is the virus that brought the world to pieces. Everyone was affected from losing loved ones, students being sent home and the vast changes in work environments. People have been facing tremendous amounts of change for their everyday lives for months now, but is this our new normal? 

If so, how do we prepare for the upcoming? The opportunity arose to interview two women to give us a glimpse of how COVID-19 has affected them personally, financially and with their work.

Rachael McFarland, a St. Francis Hospital nurse, exclusively worked with COVID-19 patients for about 2 months.

McFarland, 23, described her hospital as very well prepared-they had all of PPE, masks, gowns, goggles and hair nets they needed to make sure all staff and patients were safe.

“In the beginning it was really scary, I thought it was going to be a lot worse than it actually was,” McFarland said. “We are required to wear surgical masks at all times and if we went into a COVID patient’s room, we had to wear a N-95 mask, googles, a hair net, 2 set of gloves and a gown.” 

McFarland stated that her floor is no longer a COVID floor and that they are back to post-surgical care. They have to test their patients twice before going into surgery

When I proceeded to ask her what the hardest aspect of her workday was, she explained that making sure current patients aren’t getting infected in the process. 

“Especially with Indiana being such a conservative state, a lot of people have been anti-mask, but I actually haven’t had a single patient against it,” McFarland included. “On top of all the extra safety requirements hospitals and I have to follow we aren’t even receiving hazard pay.”

During the outburst of this virus all students were sent home to do their education via online. Thus, creating a major dilemma with high schools, universities and secondary schooling. 

Megan Mrozinski, a Cosmetology Educator at Empire Beauty School, had to face this head on. She describes her experience as anxiety provoking and frustrating. 

Mrozinski, 20, had to work around various major obstacles to successfully teach her students via zoom. 

“Before we were even allowed to have class through zoom, everything was put on hold. “They left us in the dark for about three months, which included students and educators to be sent home and not knowing when we would return,” Mrozinski said. “If it wasn’t for support from my family, I very well could have ended up homeless.”

Mrozinski went on to talk about how she felt that her students were losing hope. She stressed that for a long time no one knew when people were going to be allowed back. After a lot of waiting for teachers and students to be allowed back to school. They still endured lots of difficulties going back to in class instruction. 

“One struggle of coming back was for some modules such as hairstyling and haircutting, they learn best when they do it on each other [and] with social distancing involved this isn’t allowed anymore creating a huge interference with trying to teach my students,” Mrozinski said. “It is a struggle to maintain social distancing because it is physically impossible for students to grasp a technique when they have to stand six feet away when I am demonstrating a new skill.”

Overall, it appears to be an ongoing struggle with trying to resume in person teaching with safety precautions involved. With time people will adapt to this new style of learning.

“I think it is very terrifying to see how quickly this industry was put on pause and that makes me curious to see what else can be put on pause or if the world will continue to open back up to normal,” Mrozinski said.

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