[From the Introduction]
For the students, faculty, and staff at Bronx Community College, March 2020 was a sucker punch to the gut.
Our vibrant campus, a beautiful haven filled with vitality and life, became a kind of petri dish—ground zero for the COVID 19 virus to make landfall.
Not only were many students and staff sickened in those early days, but the City University system was forced to close, then transition to remote learning in the space of a single week.
It was a challenge, to say the least: for faculty who needed to quickly learn the tools to make it possible, and even more so for the students, who—cut off from socialization and in person learning—had to adjust to this new reality.
Stranded in their homes, some students were forced to continue working frontline jobs, while others lost jobs and income, facing financial devastation. Students were confronted with their own illness as well as that of family members.
Online learning was fraught in those early days. As a community, we improvised our way forward, without the proper technology and knowhow to do it.
But two years on, our students have proven their resilience. In time, we adapted to remote learning, to new ways of doing things, of coping. 2020 was harder, and in 2021, the challenges continued. But, somehow, we got through.
These student books provide a glimpse into the minds of the talented BCC Digital Design students who persevered, strived, and thrived.
Puppeteer Andy Gaukel had carved out a comfortable niche for himself in the Early Childhood Center at Bronx Community College. Then Covid-19 hit, and he had to find new ways of connecting with the college’s smallest students. In this oral history, he explains how he learned new skills to teach online while maintaining his rapport with his pre-schoolers and engaging their parents in a way that he hadn’t before the pandemic.
I will be submitting a fiction diary that consists of a collection of poetry. These poems are chosen with azazel in mind. He worships misfortune and only loves one woman. Who later passes away due to the coronavirus. The corona virus he once praised because it killed off his enemies. The poetry found in his diary are from famous poets all around and the writing expresses his feelings of hate and despair.
This book is a guide to something that I try to apply in my daily life and that is to take the positive out of every situation. Although this global pandemic has affected us all directly, I truly believe that we can do valuable things with the time and resources we have.
I have selected a photo of a few parents standing around the front of a school. Some were protesting and other were trying to gather information about the nyc public school shutting down because of covid 19. This photo was not taken by me but was found on the internet among other photos similar like this one. This photo shows what was going on in my neighborhood and what was currently take place at the time.
We have preserved in this short film a selection of Theatre Workshop students' authentic experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and we want to share these stories with you.
I decided to choose as a source an image related to the COVID 19 virus. The image belongs to https://www.pharmaceutical-technology.com/news/coronavirus-countries-cross-100-covid-19-world-update/. This website provides information about the virus and was last updated on March 12, 2020. The image shows the virus spread around the planet earth. This image helps me explain what the virus is and how it spread. I select this type of source because I consider that it expresses a simple but concise message. I consider that it is something that everyone can understand and from which they can learn. By looking at the image people can get an idea of what the spread of the virus really meant. They can observe that its spread was not in a specific area, but rather that it spread around the entire world.
Since the virus made its first appearance in Wuhan China, everything has turned into a catastrophe. The virus began to spread rapidly around the world. People were really not prepared for the COVID 19 virus. Many people died from this virus and those who were infected and survived did not have a good time. The virus isolated everyone and everything stopped being what it always was. People could no longer visit their loved ones or spend time with them. Many businesses closed, and as a result many people lost their jobs. Now everyone had to wear masks, they had to keep their distance from each other, and they also had to constantly wash their hands. This was somewhat frustrating, as people searched for gloves, masks, and disinfectants in stores. However, because everyone was looking for the same items there was a shortage of them. Sometimes when people found such items they could only buy one per person, especially alcohol and disinfectants. People really felt desperate. Things had changed a lot. Now many people had to work from home. The same thing happened with the students. Students had to take classes from home through a computer. This was something that didn't seem right to everyone. Many students lost interest.
I consider that both historians and everyone in the future should be aware of what the COVID 19 virus was. Although the COVID 19 virus is a new virus that arose suddenly, it is not the first time that humanity experiences something like this. Previously around a hundred years ago something similar had happened with the Spanish flu. The Spanish flu like COVID 19 had also become a pandemic. Because of this, millions of people died. However, this was something that remained in the past as no one spoke of this event. I consider that people could have learned something from the history of the Spanish flu and applied that knowledge during COVID. However, few people are aware of what the Spanish flu was. Therefore, it is necessary to take into account everything related to COVID 19. Although it is likely that the appearance of a new virus cannot be prevented, at least people will know how to protect themselves and thus prevent the spread. The virus spread around the world rapidly for various reasons. However, one of these reasons was that people had no idea how to react to the virus. If people had had an idea of how to protect themselves at that time, perhaps the virus would not have spread the way it did. I believe that acquiring the necessary knowledge about the virus will be of great help in the future.
The collected works of Professor Katherine Culkin's History (HIS 20) classes.
The photo highlights a peaceful protest that involved the participation of medical faculty. The health care workers included in this photograph included doctors, nurses, admin, security guards and handful of maintenance. This was demonstration to support the Black Lives Matter Movement after the killing of a George Floyd at the hands of a police officer. The individuals in this photo can all be seen taking a knee similar to the protest method used by Colin Kaepernick.
National Football League, player Colin Kaepernick took his first knee on September 1, 2016. The taking of the knee went against the tradition of standing during the signing of the National Anthem. Kaepernick said at the time: “I am not going up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color”. The people in this picture felt the same exact sentiments as Kaepernick.
I chose this source because I wanted historians to understand the impact of the pandemic and the unity it created amongst individuals of different races. As a health care worker, I faced the challenges of Covid-19 directly. The fear of transmitting COVID-19 led to months of isolation from my loved ones. This feeling of loneliness contributed to the decline of mental health for me and many of my co-workers. On May 25, 2021, when George was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer over a suspicion of a counterfeit $20 bill my feeling of loneliness grew tremendously. Being an African American man in the united states was now just as dangerous as the virus killing thousands in New York. When the members of my staff came up the idea of protesting for the rights of African Americans, my feeling of loneliness begin to fade. Kneeling on the ground next to coworkers of all different races reminded of the inclusiveness and unity that we all needed in life. This was a moment in a history that will never be forgotten.
Observations and lessons learned and learning during this Pandemic.
As my primary source I chose a picture that I took on March 17, 2021 at 8:39pm, it was the end of my shift in my retail job. This picture was taken one year later since they first closed down the city. I work in Macy’s Inc. at Bay Plaza, and the store was closed during the pandemic until the end of June. When the store first reopened, big crowds of people came to the store every single day without caring about the pandemic. It is understandable that all they wanted was to shop, and also get out of their houses to distract themselves. This picture is just a small representation of what retail workers have to deal with during times like this. It got to a point, where it was very frustrating seen so many people at the store walking around trying to shop. Many people did not care about the 6ft social distancing, and others did not want to wear a mask because it was too hot, or they couldn’t breathe.
There was a limit of 600 people in the whole store, but in days like this I know for sure that it was more than that. The women shoes department was always full of people, there was always a long line, people were right next to each other, and others were screaming or talking too loudly. People were getting into arguments with each other, many were getting frustrated because they wanted to get a shoe size right away. Others were just sitting on the couch sleeping, you could hear babies crying, and kids running or playing around dropping shoes on the floor. I remember I was in the register during my whole shift taking customer after customer, some were really nice but others very rude. As my job, I have to ask every customer if they want to open a Macy’s credit card with us, but their answer was always, “I can’t afford it, this virus has made me broke” yet, they were still out shopping. On this day, I had a disagreement with a customer because I told her to put her mask on about 3 times, and she just ignored me. She then, approaches me to pay for a shirt, and I told her very kindly once again, “can you please put your mask on? Thank you!”. Her reaction was priceless because she was furious and asked me if it wasn’t enough with the plexiglass that was between us, I felt very frustrated because she didn’t seem to understand how serious this virus is. I told her no, and refuse to ring her out she then, proceeded to another register very furious and still with no mask on.
We are not essential workers but working in a retail store during this pandemic has been very overwhelming. The company benefits from all of this because they reach their sales goals every day. When I think about it, we as employees should be happy that there are sales because it means the store won’t close down, and we can keep our jobs. The customers do not seem to have any type of consideration for any of us as retail workers. It upsets me because now more than ever, everyone should be thankful for still being alive after what we just went through this whole year. We need to appreciate each other, and respect one another because we don’t know what everyone is going through. Always be kind to everyone!
Quarantine was a hard time on us all; it hit most of us out of nowhere and left us locked inside our homes for what an eternity and for most people, they had to spend that time alone. I did not go out a lot during this time so I went online and chose the pictures that I believe best represent what mine and many others felt their quarantine was like. Jose’ Manuel Ballester, a Spanish artist recreated iconic historical paintings and removed the most pivotal part in each of them; the people. Dubbed “Hidden Spaces”, Ballester recreates a series of works in which he is able to present an angle of how the world is like during quarantine. Iconic masterpieces like the Last Supper is left to just an empty table. Ballester is able to show the loneliness and emptiness that quarantine has left people in, by removing the people from the paintings Ballester thus leaving the audience with a certain feeling of discomfort reminiscent of the lack of company and interaction leaves us feeling when we are quarantined and I really resonated with these photos because that is how I felt during this quarantine.