Question 15 of 20 for 2020 NRBOE Candidates: What Did Pandemic Teach You?

Written By: Robert Cox
  1. COVID-19 is scary, and with good reason, but many people have learned quite a bit about their own minor weaknesses or idiosyncrasies during the crisis. What is something the pandemic caused you to realize about yourself that in hindsight you took for granted and have now changed?

Adina Berrios Brooks: The pandemic has reminded me of the importance of remaining flexible, nimble and open. As important as it is to be prepared (and I am a planner), one does not always have full control of every situation. In my case that includes being flexible about my kids’ schedules and the division of familial responsibilities, and making optimal judgments using the information that is immediately at hand.

Katie Castellano Minaya: The pandemic has helped remind me that I need to just slow down and take moments through the day to just be. Not do anything. Calm my mind. Be present reading with my daughters. Play games with family, take bike rides, build a garden, spend time in nature. Being forced to be on technology so much for work/ school has also made me appreciate moments when I can completely disengage from tech. It brings me back to my childhood when we didn’t have any technology and used our imagination to play for hours upon hours. Also, I appreciate watching old 80s movies with my family since my daughter Camila’s class made this a Sunday afternoon tradition during the pandemic. Finally, I’ve found myself writing letters to family and friends as an additional way to communicate!

Barbara D’Alois: I love my family and it has been an incredible gift to spend more time with them. My daughter Katie, who I missed while she was away for her first semester at college, arrived home for spring break and never returned to school. My son Wyatt, had much more time to spend with family as, unfortunately, lacrosse season was cancelled. I have been teaching ‘remotely” which has saved me commuting time. That being said…there is such a thing as too much togetherness! We live in a small house and I think my husband is lucky to be able to go OUT of the house for work. As challenging as this has been, I consider it to be an opportunity to recalibrate our senses and find out the true sense of family, compassion, understanding and what it means to be New Ro Strong. They say the bad makes the good and there’s something to be learned in every human experience ( ok I didn’t write that, Lou Reed did) but so true.

Christopher Daniello:Did not answer.

Stephen A. DiDonato: Losing so many thousands of lives and living in an essential quarantine has been quite the experience. I’ve always valued my family and friends. And the thought of any of them falling ill or victim to Covid was heart wrenching.

It has given me and my family the opportunity to be more present with each other.

Sharon D. Footes: What I realized about myself and took for granted is how I spend my free time. I did not value time for myself and now I do.

Matthew T. Hirschman: Covid-19 is indeed very scary. One thing that I’ve taken for granted and hopefully changed is my level of being annoying to my wife. I’ve done more of the housework and I can honestly say I’d rather be at work doing construction!

Michael Leone: While I always thought my wife and I were splitting the responsibility of the children’s school work, I’ve learned I was in no way carrying my own weight in this department. This became crystal clear during a family dinner conservation where my kids said Mom was the teacher and I was more of the security guard. Now that my wife is required to return to work at least part-time, I have had to ramp up helping out with meals and school work. I am now the security guard and lunch lady….no stipend for these by the way!

Timothy McKnight: The pandemic has reassured me that the work I have been doing, working with students, working with our community, to bring together groups of people (community organizations, school administrators, households, government entities), promoting unity and to not work in silos, is now coming to fruition. It might have taken a pandemic to make our community work together, but it is now happening and it can only strengthen us and strengthen our city.

Mario A. Scarano:Did not answer.

Julia Taylor: I found out that I tend to be excessive when it comes to organization and scheduling. You can walk into my dining room and see humungous post-it notes! I had to make sure both of my daughters had daily routines before Distance Learning 2.0. My husband is also a teacher so it was very important for our family to keep a routine that didn’t drive us crazy.

Donald Vega: I have learned that health & family are truly the most important things you can have, as well as wifi.

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