My school library is frozen in time. A living encapsulation of the anxiety and nervous energy that feverishly descended upon my school during the week of March 9th, 2020. The library, with its cheery Saint Patrick's Day decorations hanging from the ceiling, amidst a cart of books waiting to be shelved, pays homage to all that we have lost; a reminder of swift and bitter change. I spent Friday March 13th, the last day schools were open in New York, in a hyper anxious state, feeding off the giddy nervous energy emitted from my students and colleagues. Misinformation swirled. Rumors birthed out of fear crackled in the air with a reluctant forbearance that our lives were being altered by a force beyond our control. As the final bell rang that Friday at 2:43 p.m. I hastily grabbed what I thought I would need to work from home. Surely there was no need to take down the Saint Patrick's decorations, we would be back in a week. Besides, waiting in line to “stress shop” for toilet paper and meat proved to be a much more pressing issue than some silly green decorations. Today, with no end in sight, the library remains a time capsule, a reminder of the day before everything changed. The day before my elderly parents came to my house to wave goodbye as we sat safely on the steps, crying from over six feet away. A reminder of the last time my four-year-old son saw his friends in person and greeted the sunrise without fear. A reminder of the last time I was able to sit alongside a student to refine a research paper or banter about weekend plans and college decisions. A reminder that this is now our new normal, as we do our best to teach, parent, love and persevere amidst COVID-19 and its heavy veil of uncertainty.
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