How COVID-19 is impacting Butler County residents

BY MOLLIE S. WATERS

The Greenville Standard

 

COVID-19 has made its way to Alabama, and it is making a huge impact in many ways.

Currently, the public and private K-12 schools are closed, the community college (LBWCC) is closed, so are most of the city-run buildings, including the public library, the court house, and city hall.

In addition, restrictions are being placed on businesses, especially restaurants, and most of them are now serving “take out” only.

More changes impact the entire state, such as restrictions on how many people can gather at a time for social functions. Even the beaches have been closed.

With so many changes, local citizens are really beginning to notice how COVID-19 is affecting their daily lives.

“As a substitute teacher, I am not getting any sub jobs, which is a loss of pay,” said Rebekah Dittmann. “With me out of work, it hurts our planning and our budgeting for a house and family planning.”

Anna Findley, who owns a photography business, said she has also felt the impact of COVID-19.

“All of my weddings and most appointments have been canceled and/or postponed!” said Findley. “Not the ideal situation for a small business!”

For expecting mother Amy Salter, she has been concerned about how COVID-19 may potentially impact her baby.

“My doctor has advised me to have as little contact with people as possible,” said Salter, “and if there’s something I need, then to see if my family members/husband can get everything. Needless to say, I’m just staying at home every day and not going anywhere!”

Sonja Newton, who works as a labor and delivery nurse, says her life has also changed dramatically in the past few weeks.

“I made a decision weeks ago to quarantine myself away from the world to limit my exposure to keep my patients and my family safe,” said Newton. “The hardest part was two weeks ago when I went to see my parents for the last time until this virus passes. All I wanted to do was to give my mom a big hug goodbye, but instead, I left her with a tiny fist bump.”

Other people who have been impacted include parents, who are now adjusting to teaching their children at home, and students, who have had to start learning through online formats.

“As a college student,” says University of Alabama Birmingham freshman Katie Harrell, “I am now taking all online classes at home, which isn’t the best study space for me. Due to that, my grades may be lower than what they could be with a regular semester.”

Harrell added that she is certainly not complaining because she understands these changes have been made to keep people safe.

Audra Weaver, who is a parent and a teacher, said the changes due to COVID-19 have dramatically impacted her life as well.

“Instead of being able to interact with my students in a classroom setting,” said Weaver, “I am having to spend several hours a day in front of my computer in order to produce educational videos to share with them on YouTube, Google Classroom, and our class Facebook group.

“Unfortunately, that also means less time spent with my own children. I’m trying to do it in a way that utilizes their nap time, but in some cases, like last night, it’s just not possible. Last night, it took me almost four hours, including their nap time, to produce my videos for my students’ lessons.”

Although these and other people have mentioned the numerous ways COVID-19 has impacted their daily lives, one thing that almost everyone has said without exception is that the plans are in place for a good reason, and everyone is trying to keep a positive attitude.

“Together, as a community,” said Sonja Newton, “Greenville will get through this. I am so blessed to live in an amazing town where ‘love thy neighbor’ is the everyday norm.”

 

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