The bright side of coronavirus

Local community members have found some good amid the global COVID-19 pandemic


Engin Akyurt on Unsplash

Though social distancing guidelines have created a lot of stress for students and their families, many in the community have been able to see the silver lining of these unprecedented circumstances.

Emma Snyder, Staff Writer

During this time of panic, fear, pain, and uncertainty that the entire world has been throw into, it can be hard to find the good in all of it. However, that good does exist. From slowing down to spending more time with family to helping others, many people in our community have been able to see the good that is shining through these trying times.

For many people, not being able to leave their homes has been a difficult adjustment. Especially for students many of whom have found not being with friends in and out of school to be one of the most difficult parts of quarantine. The same is true for Christopher Agaton, junior at MCHS.

“At times it’s gotten really difficult though because I’d rather be hanging with my friends,” said Agaton. “I start to miss them and I get upset because this whole thing is messing with all of us, not just me.”

Agaton has also found difficulty in his job at AldenTerrace of Mchenry, a retirement home and center for short-term rehabilitation and health care. Working in the Dementia unit, Agaton has experienced first hand the extra precautions that they are taking to keep the residents safe.

“I’ve seen what the virus can do to someone,” said Agaton. “But I do see people trying to make them better. We’re still helping the residents there because that’s their home and we care deeply for them, that’s just who we are as workers.”

Through all of these challenges, Agaton has managed to see the good things that are coming out of it. The quarantine has given him the opportunity to reconnect with old friends that he’s lost touch with. Agaton also sees the way people have begun to better appreciate the things they previously took for granted.

“People aren’t taking for granted stuff from their daily lives like school or going to the store,” said Agaton. “These are essential things we take for granted every day and we don’t realize it until now.”

Students aren’t the only ones finding the quarantine difficult. Jane McDonnell, 1st-grade teacher at Edgebrook Elementary School, has found being away from her students to be the most difficult part of the stay at home order.

“A friend asked me how my kids were doing and I responded by telling her about my students before I realized that she meant my own kids!” said McDonnell. “‘My kids’ are my kids! Teachers feel a huge loss during this disconnect.”

Despite being away from the classroom, teachers like McDonnell are working hard to find ways to stay in touch with their students through digital learning. Teachers are trying to continue to make the personal and emotional connections with students that occur during learning.

Through all of this, McDonnell has found good in the way people have come together and quickly adapted to all the recent changes. They are using their talents to help one another.

“We are becoming more patient with each other,” said McDonnell. “Our hearts are opening to what is truly important to survive during this time\; we are united.”

McDonnell isn’t the only one that has been able to see the good that has come from this difficult time. Local community member and certified local accountant (CPA), Marge Pizerak, has also experienced good despite the current difficulties, including not being able to see her six grandchildren.

For Pizerak, the quarantine hasn’t been too challenging. Working as a CPA means that at this time of year, it is normal for Pizerak to not have to leave her home except for trips to the post office.

“I don’t find this different or difficult,” said Pizerak. “I’m sure it will be different after April 15th. However, since we now have to do a no contact exchange of documents, I miss visiting with my clients.”

While the quarantine hasn’t affected Pizerak’s daily life, she has noticed a difference in the daily lives of the people around her. She’s seen the good in the concern that people have for the well being of others, and time that families are now spending together, taking a break from the craziness of their normal lives.

“My children are able to spend more time with their children,” said Pizerak. “They don’t realize it yet, but they will look back at this time and appreciate this opportunity.”

However, the quarantine and COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been easy for everyone. Workers on the frontline, especially health care professionals, have had to adapt to massive challenges. Tina Schwichow, nursing supervisor and emergency room nurse at Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital, has seen good amidst the difficulty and stress of being a nurse during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schwichow and all healthcare professionals and being faced with high levels of stress, continuously tending to patients with little to no downtime, and adapting to using their resources minimally due to the worldwide shortages.

“It’s also very difficult when visitors are not allowed in the hospital right now,” said Schwichow. “When you get these patients in and they’re alone, and they’re scared, and you are truly the only one that they have, and they put their entire trust in you.”

Despite all of the challenges the come with working at a hospital during a pandemic, Schwichow has seen good in the way people are coming together as a community and being more compassionate, more understanding.

“There was a huge group of people that actually went to the hospital last Sunday, and they all stood outside of the hospital and started praying,” said Schwichow. “They were all six feet apart. So it was the total social distancing, but they stayed there in the parking lot. And they just started praying, basically for all of us workers and the patients inside. It was very moving and very touching. It’s because it’s not a fun time. It’s not a fun time to be a nurse right now.”

While there is still much uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the near future, there is still good to be found through all of this. By working together and spreading positivity, the bright side of even the darkest situations can be found.