Two deployments in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. SJC Long Island student veteran William Childers dealt with stress, fear and devastation during his decade serving in the U.S. Army, but he says it doesn’t compare to his COVID-19 experience.
“I have seen many things, but this event is beyond my own comprehension,” said Childers, who looks after his three children while his wife Alyssa works on the frontline of the battle against the coronavirus as a unit secretary at Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead. “It sometimes can be a cautionary uneasiness, since we just don’t know if one day our household becomes in danger of being infected.”
Childers, 35, of Bellport and his wife, who is also a certified nurse assistant, take the necessary precautions to keep their family safe, particularly when returning home from work or grocery shopping trips. However, they still get nervous about their children’s and their own health.
“We worry most about our youngest son, since he is very prone to get sick with Croup and other respiratory viruses,” added Childers, on track to graduate in 2021.
Learning from Home
Trying to adjust to learning from home hasn’t been the easiest for Childers, a junior organizational management major.
“The hardest part of learning from home is the personal human connection that we were able to enjoy in our daily lives at St. Joseph’s College,” he said.
“Having been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, I miss not having social media and being able to enjoy uninterrupted human connection with the people around me, without the use of a screen,” he said.
But Childers sees the benefits of being home, too.
“The best part of learning from home is being able to hug my children everyday during this crisis,” he said.”
Helping His Kids with Schoolwork
While Childers enjoys being able to spend more time with his children, he’s finding it hard to balance his own school work with helping them with theirs.
And like many other parents, he’s trying to adjust to the new role of monitoring his kids’ schoolwork.
“It is hard because we want to spend time with our children and not be the bad guy with homework all day,” he said. “I love helping my children with homework, but it’s hard when how they’re being taught a subject has changed. For example, the math they teach today is not what we had learned, so it is a teaching problem for parents.”
While he’s not sure about his kids, Childers is already looking forward to going back to his own school life when the time comes.
“I’m excited for human connection again, especially the high fives, fist bumps, handshakes and hugs from friends,” he said.