Coronapocalypse Day 2

I’m counting yesterday as Day 1 because it was the first day that school was closed and work from home was mandatory at Liberty Mutual. Less than a week ago it was all different – travel outside of my normal office was restricted but people were still coming in, large gatherings were canceled but small in-person meetings were still OK, and work from home was optional but I could go into the office if I wanted to. School was still in session.

Everything changed on Friday with the announcement that Dover schools would close through March 27th. By Sunday the Governor had mandated closure across the state through April 3rd. We went into the office on Monday and were told midday that all Liberty Mutual offices throughout the country and Canada were closing and work from home was mandatory.

It’s inconvenient, but we are fortunate. We are fortunate to be able to work from home. We fortunate to be salaried and won’t suffer cut hours or reduced pay. We are fortunate to have a school system that has been communicating frequently for the past two weeks and supportive teachers that are working hard to find ways for our children to stay engaged through remote learning.

Official assignments will be provided on Friday, but we wanted to start getting the boys into a routine early since we’d all be spending the next 3 weeks together, or more. They spent Monday at GiGi’s enjoying family time and doing some reading, math, and geography while we went into the office.

Basic, but a start

Last night, Sally and I put together a basic schedule to help break up the day. We wanted to make sure that the boys had a mixture of school-type work, exercise, and free time. We (mostly Sally) put together a curriculum based on exercises in the third-grade workbooks she bought over the summer, learning activities recommended by Zach’s teacher, and a few other activities we had used in the past.

We got the boys up at around normal time and set up computers and workspaces for them to work – one in the dining room with Sally and one in the office with me. We expect a mixture of online and written materials when we get their final assignments, so we should be all set up.

Overall things went well today, though they were a bit hectic. Neither of our work schedules aligned well with the boys’ schedule we devised. We both had meetings for much of the day with few blocks in between to get the boys set up for their next activity. Interruptions really stress me out so juggling hourly activities plus some business continuity planning at work made me anxious. It was cold and rainy today which hampered outside exercise too.

Despite those minor issues, we got everything done. The boys did 6 worksheets worth of math and reading, watched several informative videos about animals and germs, read books, and played math and spelling games. It wasn’t always their favorite thing to do, but they did it and we buzzed around stealing a minute here and there to help them when needed. They did go outside in the morning even though it was raining. They didn’t really want to go, but I booted them out and they were troopers, coming back 30 minutes later a bit damp and cold.

Things are odd right now but I think this is the right thing to do. I’m looking forward to “flattening the curve”. This will certainly be something to remember for decades to come.

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