The Citizen has covered the pandemic’s effects on Harrisonburg from many angles — how it has afflicted those who have had the virus, slammed local businesses, impacted city finances — even how it’s changed the way we interact. But we’ve mostly covered adults’ points of view and wanted to know how kids in the community have been affected. So we commissioned a student contributor to find out.
As a lesser-publicized consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, many colleges and universities stopped paying for certain on-campus work-study jobs when classes shifted online in March. For many of these students, the checks that were supposed to come until May abruptly ended two months early, creating a cash crunch for those students — and uncertainty about regaining those work-study positions in the fall.
Alternating students’ attendance days, more virtual learning and temperature checks at the door are hallmarks of the upcoming academic year that’s beginning to take shape for Harrisonburg city students.
The city, earlier this month, reopened its recycling center on Beery Road after a more than 11-week hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For some residents, it was a welcome return to help clear the backlog of cardboard, cans and plastic containers. Others have been seeking out the mobile recycling unit — which kept operating — each week to make sure they’re doing their part for the environment.
Back in the early days of COVID-19, neighbors Josie Showalter and Seán McCarthy were walking their dogs when the conversation shifted to the pandemic’s economic effects. Showalter, the manager of the Harrisonburg Farmers Market, told McCarthy, a JMU professor, about how customers were staying home — and away from the farmers market.
When Rodney Alderfer, president of the Bridgewater Retirement Community, found out he had tested positive for COVID-19 on June 2, he knew that he and the senior leadership team with whom he worked had to quarantine for two weeks to protect each other, as well as the community’s residents — who, because of their age, are among those most at risk.
The Harrisonburg Police Department added a provision to its use-of-force policy as part of changes in response to recent community feedback and racial justice efforts, Chief Eric English told the city council Tuesday.
JMU students created a podcast series. One parent is keeping an illustrated journal. The pandemic has inspired an 8-year-old to be his neighborhood’s reporter. And middle school students are crafting poetry to capture the moment. While the long-term effects of the current crisis are still unclear, these creators are curating a kind of time capsule for themselves, their friends and family and future generations who might inevitably ask, “Grandma, what was Coronavirus like?”