World Turned Upside Down


Erika Solis

Lisa Cole, English teacher, admits her feelings of worry and annoyance after learning she tested positive for COVID-19.

Robert Viray-Edwards, ENN Staff

Ever since reopening public schools, one fear for staff members and students alike is attracting COVID-19. Surrounded by hundreds of different students and teachers during a pandemic increases your chances of retracting the virus. Though everybody mostly wears their mask, there are still precautions that still need to be taken to maintain safety. There are chances that even when wearing your mask, staying six feet away, and sanitizing yourself can’t even stop someone from retrieving the deadly virus. For two teachers, their worlds turned upside down as their COVID-19 tests came back positive.

During the months of January and February, English teacher, Lisa Cole, and US History teacher, Leigh-Ann Smith tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. In the middle of the year, their job was put on hold as both were required to quarantine for two weeks, leaving them unable to see their students in-person and possibly required to teach online. Acquiring such a disease can be scary for most, but for Smith, feelings of worry ultimately consumed her once she received news.

“When I first started having symptoms, my initial reaction was worry. My parents were visiting and my son was home from Grad School. I was worried that if I was positive, I had also made them sick. Luckily, they did not get ill,” said Smith.

Cole admitted that she was annoyed with the situation, mostly because the AP tests was drawing near.

“When I first found out I contracted COVID, I was mostly annoyed, because I wanted to be in class teaching, not sick at home. The AP test was coming. It was also during one of my favorite lessons I get to teach every year,” said Cole.

Experiencing the common symptoms that normal COVID-19 patients have, both Cole and Smith were unaware of where they might have contracted the disease. Both their friends and families were nervous and concerned for their well being. Not only were the people surrounding them concerned, but they had their own worries as well. Fear can be a common trait upon acquiring the disease, but for Cole acquiring the virus was inevitable after obtaining the symptoms.

“Because I had been traveling all throughout the COVID, and was teaching in-person, I thought I had escaped it, but I wasn’t surprised when I contracted it. It was just a matter of time. My biggest fear was whether my oxygen levels would stay normal. I bought an at-home device to test my oxygen levels so that I would know if I needed to go to the hospital at any point. I was fortunate that I did not,” said Cole.

Smith admittedly did not fear any severity associated with the virus, due to the fact that she maintained a healthy lifestyle.

“I had no major fear. I knew that I am in pretty good health and rarely get sick, so I guessed it would be similar to the flu. Which it was, just lasted longer,” said Smith.

With both teachers preferring to do their job in-person, having to quarantine and teach online was disappointing. Not only was the quarantine experience frustrating, but trying to get their class lessons across with a virus was a difficult task . For both teachers, COVID-19 was a major downside and disadvantage when it came to their usual teaching methods.

“There were some technical glitches when I was teaching at home. Not having the same equipment at home as I do at school. Mr. White really helped me a lot. I was just really tired, so would take breaks to lie on the couch while students were working. As my whole quarantine experience went, I did not do much, as I did not feel like doing much. My dogs were happy I was home, but I slept a lot,” said Smith.

Similar to her coworker, Cole progressively felt the wear-and-tear the virus brought upon her as the virus and quarantine process progressed.

“Teaching online with the COVID was very difficult. I became progressively sick, so while I tried at first, I gave up after two days of quarantine and took to my bed. With that said, I slept mostly during quarantine. I was fortunate in that when I was supposed to be back from quarantine we were hit with the week-long closure from the snowstorm, so I was able to recover fully by sleeping in every day for an extra week. Rest is the most crucial when you have the Covid, I found,” said Cole.

With the vaccine emerging and citizens around the world and country taking it, the question was whether or not Cole and Smith would get the vaccine after retrieving the virus. There are some who refuse to take the vaccine and there are some who are all for the vaccine and hoping for prevention. For Cole and Smith, both have gotten the chance to take the vaccine.

“I have received both shots of Moderna. I am 1000% for any vaccination that has been government-approved and scientifically proven as beneficial. This is not a ‘new’ drug as anti-Covid vaxxers like to claim. The immunization was actually first created 20 years ago when SARS came on the scene. Once billions of dollars were pumped into quickly manufacturing the vaccine, the rest is history. I personally trust the CDC who specializes in infectious diseases. According to research done by every country in the world, the vaccination is absolutely effective, and travel and gathering are 100% safe for those who are vaccinated. It’s a win-win, so I’m unclear on why people distrust it. I’m hoping colleges require it for incoming freshmen, just as they require the meningitis vaccination,” said Cole.

Smith also received her vaccination shots and compares it to the more common flu shot.

“I have already had both shots, so I’m fully vaccinated. It’s like the flu shot, it will help lessen symptoms and severity even if I do contract COVID again,” said Smith.

Despite contracting the virus that is spreading around the world, both Cole and Smith were able to bounce back. Though living with COVID-19 may have been a difficult experience for them, it also highlighted how strong both teachers are to be able to push through in this year of challenges.