Tracy Long is a physics teacher at Adams High School in Abilene, Texas.
His life changed when the coronavirus pandemic hit and schools closed. Not only did he have to move to teaching classes online, but his college-aged son and his son’s girlfriend came to live with Long after San Angelo State University closed. His son’s girlfriend is a Type 1 diabetic, which puts her at greater risk if she contracts COVID-19.
Long and his son are also at greater risk because they have asthma.
As a teacher, Long worries about the well-being of his students who are stuck at home while schools are closed. For some of them, school is a haven.
“I don’t know if they’re safe,” he said.
Other students have parents working on the front line as nurses, police officers and firefighters.
“I can hear the stress in their voice; they’re worried.”
But Long is trying to find ways to help. Nurses at Hendrick Hospital in Abilene don’t have enough personal protective equipment to use when caring for coronavirus patients, so he and his students built a robot – a motorized tray table that brings supplies to patients. A relative of one of Long’s students who was in the hospital because of COVID-19 saw the robot in action.
“She was amazed because she asked for an extra blanket and a robot drove in the blanket on a bedside table.”
Long said during this time of homeschooling, parents need to be kind to themselves because teaching can be difficult, even for professionals like him.
“It’s fine; you’re doing a great job as a parent homeschooling your kid,” he said. “We’re building patience and we’re building perseverance and we’re building durability, and nothing bad comes from these qualities.”
Web story by Caroline Covington.
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