It finally happened. After weeks of small steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Governor Ralph Northam issued a stay-at-home order for Virginia, effective until June 10th. It is the culmination of all the steps being taken by the state to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and it assured us of a marathon fight against the virus that would last for multiple months.
At READ, we are in the third week of alternating schedules: two people work from home, and two work from the office each day. The wave of work-related craziness that accompanied the viral outbreak has passed. We are no longer frantically working to change schedules, update classes, or move events. Now we face a few long months trying to prepare for the eventual end of the outbreak.
Working from home three days a week can be nice, but when you are home every hour for 5 straight days you can go a little stir crazy. I like coming to the office because it gives me a reason to get out of the house! I find that the first day of the week working from home isn’t so bad, but the next two seem to drag on forever. Still, I am grateful to have a job and the flexibility to protect my health while still working during this time.
For READ, things that were once everyday activities have gone by the wayside. We are not registering students or training volunteers. We are not holding classes (although our classes are still meeting over the phone!) and many tutor pairs have suspended their interactions for the time being. Despite being stuck, READ staff has an opportunity to work on longterm projects that we wouldn’t have otherwise— developing curriculum and new programs, cleaning up databases, and more.
We don’t know what the next few weeks will hold, but I remain optimistic. READ is continuing to provide services to students, and we know that coming out of this crisis there will be more students who need to be served. The economic contraction that has taken place means that many people are losing their jobs, and those who are low literate will need to improve their skills to help them secure employment again. READ will be here, ready to support them.
-Jake from READ