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  • Rick Jetter, Ph.D.

The COVID-19 Crisis through a Student’s Eyes


I recently spoke with Jack from Niagara Falls, NY. Jack is a 9th grader who has been out of school since March 16, 2020. He is not returning to his high school this year. He is looking forward to seeing his friends in the fall, however. Jack taught me a lot about how he sees the COVID-19 pandemic, not to say that how he sees this pandemic is the same as how other students see it. Many students are struggling financially and mentally. Some cannot find a good meal each day. Some have siblings who are really loud or needy. Some have to watch their brothers or sisters and some have to work for the family in order to purchase food or keep the electricity on.

But, Jack is doing OK. His mother and father are still working, but now from home. Jack's brother is around his age and is busy getting his school work done each day even though it is being remotely provided to him too. Jack will always remember the COVID-19 crisis in some disturbing ways and in some positive ways. Below, I listed what Jack reported to me when asked one simple question: “What will you always remember about the COVID-19 crisis?”

“I will always remember puzzles. I never really took the time to try a puzzle. I actually became obsessed with sitting at a table and trying to group similar colored puzzle pieces together before jamming in any old piece into a shapely outline that looked like it would fit. I will always remember puzzles.”

“I will always remember birthdays. My family and I went on some birthday parades for some of my cousins and aunts. It was funny. Honking horns and throwing bubble gum out the window was the new routine. I will always remember birthdays.”

“I will always remember my shaggy dog. We cut his hair because the pet store was closed. He looked so funny. I think we did the best job that we could. I will always remember my shaggy dog.”

“I will always remember popcorn. My family and I sat together and watched more movies than I ever saw in the first 14 years of my life. Rain Man was my favorite movie and my brother and I would share a big bowl of popcorn together. I will always remember popcorn.”

“I will always remember dandelions. For some reason, they blanketed my lawn more than ever or maybe I just never really looked at them for so long in years past. They are weeds, but I like them. I will always remember dandelions.”

“I will always remember small restaurants. We ordered food sometimes in order to help some small restaurants stay in business. We didn’t pick up anything from chain restaurants even though Texas Roadhouse is one of my favorites. I will remember Johnny’s Pizza and Gino’s Italian Restaurant. I hope they are still around after all of this is over. I will always remember small restaurants.”

“I will always remember praying in the morning. I think God is in control of everything and maybe he taught us all something about crisis. I thank him more than I ever did before even though a crisis had to teach me that. I will always remember praying in the morning.”

What will YOU always remember? Please share your thoughts so I can share them with Jack. He is thinking about starting a “Remember Project” in his city and not stopping even when he does return to school. We will keep track of his progress, for sure.

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Rick Jetter, Ph.D.

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Tonawanda, NY 14150

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