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Eyewitness: Coping With the Pandemic in North Carolina

Teresa helps her brother, Alex, with his schoolwork. 

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! 

For the past week, schools have been closed in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where I live. Most students did not know what to do after hearing that school was suddenly canceled. 

My mom told my younger brother and me that it’s important to maintain a positive attitude. My family and I take hikes along the empty trails nearby almost every morning to explore and learn about nature. Sometimes, I even help my mom by babysitting my younger brother, Alex.

My brother’s tae kwon do classes are now conducted at home. His dojo (teacher) livestreams instruction on YouTube. I’m happy that I have more time to draw.


Teresa attends a webinar with Wenhong Zhang, a top infectious disease specialist in China. 


My classmates and I use Google Hangouts to discuss assignments, tell jokes, and talk about the things we’re up to. Our teachers give us schoolwork online. My math teacher assigns lessons from the Art of Problem Solving, a website with online classes taught by some of the world’s top mathematicians.

My parents have many friends from China who are in the medicine and biology departments at Duke University and the University of North Carolina. In these difficult times, they have helped our community organize our efforts to support local hospitals and clinics. They make sure that the materials in donated masks, for example, are up to safety standards for medical use.

Recently, my dad and I attended a webinar with Wenhong Zhang, an infectious disease specialist in Shanghai. Zhang gained an international reputation on social media after providing first-hand accounts of what it was like to treat patients with COVID-19.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, which was first detected in China in late 2019. Zhang was on the front lines of what would later be a global outbreak. He said that social distancing and adequate protective supplies for healthcare workers are crucial to slowing the spread of the disease. He hopes that sharing his experiences with other scientists in the United States and around the world will help us overcome the virus.


Teresa’s favorite activity is drawing. 


My social studies teacher, Erin Kellas, told my class to keep a journal about things that are going on around us. “We are experiencing a unique time in history,” she said via email, “and you can document your experience to be used by future historians as a primary source.”

As a Kid Reporter, I hope that my story will help capture this unprecedented time in history.


A drawing that Teresa is working on while her North Carolina school is closed because of the pandemic

Photos courtesy of the author