Covid-19 or in other words the Coronavirus first was mentioned around the end of 2019. It did not have much effect on our day-to-day lives until March of 2020, which is when so many precautions came about for this deadly virus. On April 20, 2021, there have been 854,425 new cases reported worldwide according to Bloomberg, and I don’t see it going anywhere any time soon. When this virus interrupted our lives, it affected everything, especially the way our neighborhoods operated. There were implementations of sanitary products at our stores, businesses, and everywhere else you can think of and this reminded me of an article that talks about sanitary reform by Jon A. Peterson. Also, there was even a six-foot distance protocol put in place for anywhere in the public, mainly in operating businesses. Some stores closed due to the fear of the spread of the virus. One thing that affected neighborhoods and kids/teens in neighborhoods was the implementation of school closures.
I live in Gary, Indiana it is more of an urban populated city with more than 70,000+ people. We are on the northwest and even if you walk around the city and it looks like we have not been touched by the effects of Covid-19, we have like any other neighborhood. One thing I have noticed about my neighborhood and any other urban area is that we still move around like we have pre-covid, and because of that that can be a bad thing. Bad because that can lead to the high spread of the virus. So, as I said before there has been more implementation of closures and because of that, all the schools in the district closed. I’m pretty up to date with the students in the neighborhood because of social media and the thought of school closures was an amazing idea at first, but as times passed, I noticed that the students in my city started wanting to go back to school in person after a while.
Gary does not have many schools open anymore and it has been that way for years. So, the only schools that were open pre-covid were West Side Leadership Academy, 21st Century, Thea Bowman, Gary Middle College, the vast majority of Charter schools, and some other elementary/ middle schools. I would say that it is less than 20 schools open. The way that students are going to school now is by online learning and that takes place on this app called Zoom. Plenty of students do not like Zoom and it comes with a lot of disadvantages. Some are technological issues, the low efficiency of teaching online, personal problems at home that can interfere with zoom classes, even chores, etc. One thing that I picked up from people in the neighborhood is that they do not like isolation. This makes me think of the journal article called, “Thoughts about Public Space During Covid-19 Pandemic” which stated, “The isolation exposes how dependent we are on one another for our well-being and happiness and how interconnected our networks are in our local communities.” I would have to agree with that statement, this virus is forcing us to be independent, and for some people that can be an evolvement.
In Indiana, the Governor just ended the mask mandate at the beginning of April, and earlier than that he even allowed some schools to open and that is exactly what has been happening in Gary. Not all schools had opened their schools back up for in-person classes but some schools like Lighthouse Charter School have. They are allowing students to appear in person or on zoom it is more so the student and the family’s choice. I have been seeing more school buses with students on it riding around early in the morning and around the afternoon when classes usually get out. According to Governor Holcomb, he hopes that all schools in the state of Indiana are to be opened for the 2021-22 school year. We already see that happening for Indiana University Northwest in Gary that has been open for some students, but next school year all classes will be open for in-person classes and events, so many more students will be on campus starting in the fall. Since, schools are being to open slowly but limited the staff and students must take precautions to limit the spread of the virus by taking their temperature, wearing masks, using hand sanitizer more and washing their hands more, and lastly by keeping a 6ft distance away from their peers. This would be the only way to keep everyone safe if they begin to open schools back up fully.
My neighborhood has not really changed, but there is an effort to keep the spread of the virus low. One of the biggest things that have affected the kids and the teens in the neighborhood because of covid-19, is the schools being closed. This causes an uproot from in-person learning to online learning, which is not extremely popular from the comments that I have seen on social media. Although there is a chance that schools will be opening back up again, I am kind of conflicted on that decision and the outcome. When I think of this, I have to understand that we’re all in this together.
Low, S. and Smart, A. (2020), Thoughts about Public Space During Covid‐19 Pandemic. City & Society, 32:. https://doi.org/10.1111/ciso.12260
Patino, Marie. “Coronavirus Outbreak Maps Rooted in History.” Bloomberg CityLab. Coronavirus Outbreak Maps Rooted in History – Bloomberg
Peterson, Jon A. “The Impact of Sanitary Reform upon American Urban Planning, 1840-1890.” Journal of Social History, vol. 13, no. 1, 1979, pp. 83–103. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3786777. Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.
Sobande, Francesca. “‘We’re All in This Together’: Commodified Notions of Connection, Care and Community in Brand Responses to COVID-19.” European Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. 23, no. 6, Dec. 2020, pp. 1033–1037, doi:10.1177/1367549420932294.