A New Normal by Kaili Spear

Social Distancing

911 What is your emergency! The corona virus, or scientifically known as COVID-19 is the emergency. Never in a million years would I have thought there would be something that could cripple the United States. A disease that would affect so many people so quickly would take over the end of my senior year in college and the lives of so many be affected by this crisis. I watch the news and follow social media, so I knew what was happening around the globe. My grandmother, aunt, uncle, and cousins are in Italy, so I have heard first-hand what is really happening. I have seen on Facetime how quarantine looks but I still was not prepared.

At first, Georgia and Tennessee gave suggestions about what to do in the city. There were no real mandated instructions. I honestly do not think that it really hit home for anybody what was going to happen. For me reality set in when the university told us that we were going to go to online school and be sent home from campus. I had to figure out how to get home, what to do with all my stuff, and make sure I was up on any updates for my schoolwork. My parents were not able to come and get me because they are all essential employees at their jobs. The logistics of this crisis were a nightmare. I did finally get it all together and made it home safely.

With my family trying to practice social distancing from the beginning my house was a little tense to say the least. We are all normally very busy people and now we were just in the house. We are trying to find fun ways to spend the time together which is easy sometimes and not so easy at other times. One night we had family game night with snacks and a game cube on the television. My dad was very happy about this because for once no one complained about mandatory family time. My two younger siblings are teenagers so in most cases they are glued to their phones. We had snacks and drinks and a good time. Day one of home quarantine was not so bad. 

A few days later we really got to enjoy ourselves. My parents have a motorcycle and took us to a town in Georgia where they hang out with other members of their group. We got to see some beautiful scenery going through Pine Mountain. I can say that over the last few days seeing so many people out walking and spending time with their families was encouraging. When we got to Warm Springs, we went to an area known as little Sturgis, Big Sturgis is one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the country and is held in South Dakota, so this place is a small replica of that area. I was able to take in some local antique shops and see some historic buildings. My family had a lot of laughs watching my dad try to teach my stepmom how to ride the motorcycle.

Fast forward to today, the Governor of Georgia has declared a shelter in place order and closed all K-12 schools for the rest of the school year. People are back in a panic running to the grocery stores and pharmacies buying up everything in sight. Teachers are scrambling because they must get enough online lessons ready to finish the year. The country is sitting by awaiting the next news briefing from the President or some medical expert. America is pulling together to support small business, healthcare workers, and teachers. The country is in crisis; however, just like every time before we will survive and come out stronger on the other side. 

March 25th – April 1st, 2020

On Friday, March 27th still social distancing. My step mom and dad took me and my siblings for a long ride, just to get out the house. It’s funny how a pandemic can bring a family together. Trust me this is not usually us.
On Sunday, March 29th my siblings and I went in search of somewhere to eat and enjoyed nature. We didn’t think my we would find a Mexican restaurant open. We had to carry-out of course.
On Tuesday, March 31st I Decided to venture on my own, went back to Warm Springs because I had to find scouting locations for another class and ended up getting a score of 5/10. What a waste of gas, still had fun though.

The Indoor Era

“Stay indoors!” is the best advice doctors are giving to the world for prevention of the rapid spread of the new deadly virus called Corona Virus. For some it’s easy staying indoors, but for others, it may seem impossible. 

I’m Kaili Spear and a senior at UTC. Public areas are shutting down, graduation is canceled, companies are closing, people are losing jobs, schools have shut down early, and people are dying rapidly across the world. My mind is all over the place. I made so many plans to travel. I had to cancel a business trip to New York last minute and even had to cancel plans to go visit family in Italy. The quarantine has forced myself and others to leave my college campus because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Now I am home in Columbus, Georgia, with my loved ones and faced with taking classes online. Everything is overwhelming, but this is the new reality now. My parents are stocking up on products such as toilet paper, water and non-perishable foods. I didn’t even get a chance to say my goodbyes to most of my friends. I’ve witnessed online incidents where people have fought and been stabbed over items like toilet paper. The virus is taking over the world, and I had to ask what precautions should be made? According to the World Health Organization, the key is to wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub, cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue or flexed elbow when you cough or sneeze, avoid close contact (1 meter or 3 feet) with people who are unwell, stay home and self-isolate from others in the household if you feel unwell and don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth if your hands are not clean. These are the steps most doctors are suggesting to the public, as the virus is sticking to surfaces and traveling through bodily fluids through near contact. The world is at risk. Some countries such as my home, Italy, have been trying to warn other countries that it is more severe than we thought. There is so much going on I would have to make a movie about it. I’m saddened, confused, and a little afraid. Im not afraid for my health, but for the health of my family and friends in Italy as the numbers of deaths increase daily. Unfortunately I’ve gotten news from my friend in Italy how her mom has the virus. I can’t even imagine my reaction if one of my family members get it. If you can’t tell already by the way I am writing, my mind is everywhere. “Remember. Stay positive” is what I keep telling myself and others as I freak out inside. But I guess I’ll use this time to heal, focus on my business, get closer with my siblings, and get creative in ways to make a difference. Praying everyone takes precautions and stays indoors. Take care.

March 25th, 2020

My siblings doing their online classes and spent some time catching up with my brother.
Went on a scavenger hunt for toilet paper for the first time at 4 different locations.
Unpacking from moving out of UTC college dorm March 23, 2020.

Meet the Storyteller

Kaili Spear is a senior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga who majors in Communications with a minor in Psychology. She has experience in movie sets and has been capturing moments with her camera since January 2018. Kaili is a creative director of film/photography. “When it comes to creating, I can create just about anything because creativity is unlimited.”

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