Like many families, Wendy and John Sternitzky are coping with the outbreak of COVID-19 in a variety of ways. They're following the government guidelines, enjoying being outside when they can and finding new ways to keep themselves and their kids entertained.
Wendy homeschools the couple's four kids full time and John is a contractor for the Air Force. Usually, he's traveling for work but right now, he's enjoying some time at home.
On a sunny afternoon, the day before a large snowstorm, the Centennial family was savoring some playground time at Cougar Run Park in Highlands Ranch.
How has homeschool for the kids been affected by COVID-19?
JOHN, 39: On Friday's we do a combined co-op with other kids in the area and that was canceled.
WENDY, 37: The kids are disappointed.
What else has changed for your family?
JOHN: I'm working from home now. I was directed on Friday that everyone had to do mandatory telework and now that's the case for the foreseeable future. As far as other impacts, our two oldest kids were signed up for community theater and so play practice has been canceled. They haven't canceled the play ("Alice in Wonderland") in April yet, but rehearsals have been brought online. The other night they did a Zoom meeting to go over the play parts.
How is your family holding up?
JOHN: I travel a lot for work and I had traveled a week ago on Sunday. So I was a little bit nervous and then our kids, over the past month or so, have had runny noses and colds and stuff. And I wasn't sure if my sore throat was due to coronavirus or was it not? But we never came down with a fever and my travel is now postponed. So we're just going to hunker down and listen to what the leaders say.
WENDY: I am an extrovert, so this could get really long. But I actually did talk to three people today, face-to-face... I'm trying to be creative and it's kind of fun on Facebook, all these families who have kids who go to school, they're having to figure out what to do and so they're asking for ideas. It's kind of fun to share some things. Like when we were folding laundry, we looked at tags and we're going to map where our clothes are from... The fact that everybody is in the same boat feels different, because we're all doing it together. So there's a lot of brainstorming together.
What's the biggest effect on your daily life so far?
WENDY: I've just been thinking a lot about meal planning… I'm just hoping all the panic-buying will calm down.
What part of this has you the most worried?
JOHN: My worry is more on the overall local economy. I don't think there's going to be such a mass shortage that people go hungry, but I worry about the... secondary effects of what happens when people stop pumping money into the local economy.
WENDY: It's the unknown. How long until we can emerge to normalcy? And then how do we know when we go back out that it's not going to spike again? We're just trying to follow what we're asked to do to keep people safe. We're not so worried about ourselves.
Are there any silver linings to this situation for your family?
JOHN: I get to be home with the family and eat all meals with them. I'm still working during the day so it's not like I can play with them but I eat three meals a day, I'm not stuck in traffic, I'm not stuck in the office late. The government isn't very good about teleworking like other industries are so I think that this is probably a good force for the government to see that you can telework and it can be a productive thing.
WENDY: Our 1-year-old thinks this is the best. When he wakes up he's like “Where's daddy?” and he's right there.
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