The call for Kid Reporter applications is now open! Click here to learn more.

Eyewitness: Coping With the Pandemic in Georgia

Bryce is trying to stay connected with friends and family during the pandemic. 

Editor’s note: During the coronavirus pandemic, our 50 Kid Reporters around the world are covering the news from home. We’ll share their experiences on our Kids Press blog in the weeks ahead. Stay safe! 

In recent years, my family and I took the opportunity to travel during spring break. But this year, the coronavirus pandemic kept us from traveling. 

Because of the pandemic, schools in my home state of Georgia have been closed since April 1. Since then, my family and I have spent more time together, avoiding close contact with others and sanitizing surfaces around our house. My sister and I are working hard on remote learning. We£re all trying to stay fit and limit screen time, and we’re trying out new recipes. 

Like other kids my age, I’ve been following developments about the coronavirus and comparing notes with friends. As Aldo Ferretiz says, “We’re watching the news daily, trying to stay informed about the best ways to stay healthy and safe.” Aldo and our other friends are 14 and live in Woodstock, a city in Georgia’s Cherokee County.



My friends have chosen a range of activities to keep busy. Painting, cooking, playing board games, and spending time with family are some of the favorite pastimes. “We’re doing everything we can to not go stir crazy,” says Avery Kmoch.

Although we’re all staying home to keep everyone safe, we can still socialize with others virtually. I try to check in on my friends at least once a week to see how they’re doing. “Even though we’re quarantined, I’m still trying to talk with my friends and check in on them,” adds Addison Kowalski.  

My annual family reunion was also canceled because of the pandemic. But instead of skipping it completely, we held it via the internet. Family members from around the country got together online, and we were able to play a few games and catch up with each other.  



On April 24, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp allowed for the official reopening of the state’s gyms, barbershops, bowling alleys, and other non-essential businesses that had been forced to close amid the pandemic. Several other states are also seeking to restart their economies, which have been devastated by stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of the virus.

Kemp’s move is being criticized widely because it doesn’t meet the White House guidelines for a safe reopening. The guidelines, which were created by public health experts, say that a state should maintain a 14-day downward trajectory of new cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.

As of May 4, Georgia had reported a total of 29,343 cases of COVID-19 in the state, with 1,217 deaths. The overall population is nearly 11 million.

As in other states across the country, the African American community has been hit especially hard by the virus. According to one recent study, more than 80% of individuals who have been hospitalized in Georgia for the coronavirus are African American. The overall population of African Americans in the state is only 30%. Systemic racism has made many communities vulnerable to the contagious disease. 

Governor Kemp has dismissed criticism that he is restarting parts of the state’s economy prematurely. “We’ve got to fight two wars right now, he recently told a local news anchor. “We got to fight the coronavirus war, and then we got to fight the war to bring our economy back, because there are substantial negative impacts from both of those.” 



Still, not everything has returned to normal in Georgia. Even though some businesses were allowed to reopen, many have chosen to stay closed. Those that have opened up their doors are required to follow new guidelines to protect themselves and their customers from COVID-19.  

Different types of stores have different guidelines. For example, restaurants must limit the number of their customers in order to maintain social distancing. The places that open are screening each of their employees and sending home anyone who is sick. All restaurant employees in Georgia are required to wear a face mask.  

It is also the customer’s choice to go into the reopened businesses. Many of my friends are still staying home even with the new guidelines that businesses must follow. But other Georgians say that businesses should be able to reopen to stop the economic damage that COVID-19 has caused.

I don’t know how long it will be until the world goes back to normal. My guess is that we are’ll adapting to the new normal.  My family and I are still staying home, even though businesses are opening back up. But the first thing I’m going to do when I finally do leave my house is get a haircut.


Photo courtesy of the author