Note: This letter, completed in May, is a positive perspective on the coronavirus, written by Lillian Wells, former student of Lisa Webster, for her Creative Writing Project for 4-H this year, garnering her a Blue Honor and Reserve Champion. Lillie is currently a sophomore at Columbus North High School.

Dear Coronavirus,

I am writing this to you with mixed feelings in my heart but wish to focus on the positive. Through your pandemic, I, and many others, have gained many things throughout the world-wide losses. So, I say, thank you. Thank you for letting me spend time with my family. I am an only child, and I have an increased appreciation of my little family. When we were ready, I got to see my aunt, uncle, and their two kids. We now have a stronger bond; we see each other at least weekly and video call almost every day. I know families around the world feel the same. This has allowed for much needed family time and refreshing home-cooked meals. Families are working, teaching, learning, and doing everything together which reaps many benefits for everyone. Parents have time to reconnect and rekindle the bond with their children and partners. Being under the same roof with family for days on end can be tiring, but it is also fulfilling in numerous ways.

Many say time is of the essence. You have given us time, time with families, time to work, time to play, time to do things we needed or never knew we could. You, COVID-19, have put a halt to daily routine and given us time to appreciate every little thing around us. You have showed us that, even if we disliked the old “normal,” we still appreciate it and our previous daily routines. You put life on pause and allowed us time to think and reflect upon what we did and do. On a personal note, my family and I have started gardening fruits, vegetables, and flowers. We have monitored our fruits and vegetables daily and are constantly amazed of their growth. Our cabbages started out three inches tall, and now they have tripled their size in height; their diameter has increased by five times at least. We have flowers everywhere; trees are reaching for the stars. This time has allowed for our family to really appreciate and stay in tune with God’s creations and the never ending natural beauty of our world. Other people are doing the same, and many other new hobbies have been found. Some other family members are working to redecorate inside and out, quilting, baking, and more! You have slowed life down; everyone now has a renewed appreciation of time no matter how long or short it may be.
You have also been decreasing bullying and school violence. Since school became a remote feat, there was a huge decrease in bullying. Bullying, as you know, is a very serious issue. This matter will probably never be fully resolved, but it has been lessened. No people in school led to less shootings and fights. School shootings and violence have been on the rise for many years. You have put that to a screeching halt. As for fights, anytime you put a lot of people together there are disagreements. Right before spring break, I saw a fight in my high school cafeteria. It was extremely abrupt, and no one was prepared for it, especially the boy who was hit from behind multiple times. These types of physical disagreements have ended on school grounds since we are no longer on campuses.

Since school is online, you helped people get adequate technology and Wi-Fi in areas where it previously lacked. E-learning forced districts to provide hotspots to those people who did not have access. This allowed for a better online education for all with tech companies giving free access to their products like Zoom and Screenwriting. Other online educational programs stepped up by giving free logins like BrainPOP, Mystery Science, and so many more. Not only did companies rise to the occasion, so did celebrities and other famous influencers. Well known people did free read alouds, hosted virtual proms, and raised money for those in need. Over the web, you are able to make connections with others and learn new skills. Personally, I am thinking about doing an online photography class. Other people learned a new language, how to cook, or just enjoyed the virtual tours of famous sites like the Winchester Mansion. My little cousins love the free virtual rides through Disney, and my aunt used the recipes given freely online to create a “Day of Disney” in their home. I believe you helped companies realize what is important, the people they serve. I hope this trend of giving continues in the future.

Through your pandemic, there have been closings of business and “normal” is gone and a new one is on the way. With these closings, you have allowed people to get their priorities straight. Businesses, like tech companies, realize that people are the number one priority. They have increased, and will continue to increase, safety measures. Many have allowed “wiggle room” for payments. We are coming together as one world, one mind, one very large being. We are trying to stay safe and stay human. You have caused almost a “restart” of everything. We are just in the holding pattern. After the various stages of quarantine, there will be a fresh start with the world. Strangers are wishing wellness and safety upon others. People are coming together to recognize our heroes. People are donating and giving to others. We have a common goal and are united to accomplish it.

We have come to recognize unique community needs. There are increased feeding programs, homeless assistance, and more. In newspapers, there are activity pages to do and, like I said before, many websites and internet resources became free. There have been new emotional and mental health help lines put into place. It has been a hard time for some, and these help lines are saving lives and helping people on a daily basis. These programs are extremely vital and will continue to be forever. We have learned to take care of each other.

Coronavirus, you have been studied like crazy. Scientists are putting everything they have into finding medications for you, and they have come upon many new studies and facts. People all over are looking into and researching you. We do not know much for sure, but that’s alright. We are in overdrive. Medical staff is working nonstop to help the people who are sick and prevent further outbreaks. Essential workers, not just medical personnel, all over the world, are getting the recognition they deserve. These essential workers include, but are not limited to, grocery store employees, environmental services, and food providers. Some smaller restaurants were only sit-down or walk-up, but they have changed to take-out, curbside pick up, and more. Changing with the times, especially now, is extremely important and vital to our safety and their success. Places and people are implementing new safety protocols to protect everyone. Many are waiting until the day they can safely go in their favorite restaurant and sit down. At least, places have options and are still serving delicious things to the consumers. We have started to eat more at local owned restaurants instead of big chains. This is one way we have tried to help locally. We have found new favorites thanks to you.

You continue to show us every day that each and every little thing matters. You have allowed for a healthier environment. There are lower emissions from large companies, and there is less air pollution due to less vehicle travel. This shows that every little thing we do has an impact on the Earth. This healthier environment will teach and show people that the actions we take do matter and do actually have a world-wide impact. In such a short amount of time, there have been some changes in the climate, and scientists have become more optimistic for our environmental future. This is clearly just one of the many positive outcomes or effects of you, Coronavirus.

I think everyone has had some type of eye-opening experience on many different levels through the pandemic. Families have realized new things about each other. People yearn to see others, and there is a new meaning of the word “safety,” and etc. One major eye-opener is communication.

Many people have come to realize that personal communication is very important and a key to everything we do. Before, many wanted a break from people, and we definitely got that. They put off or did not have face-to-face communication with others. It was only through phones via text or devices through social media platforms. Now, they yearn for those real conversations, to be around others, and to enjoy the company of one another, not always through a screen. You have brought us together.

COVID-19 has been a struggle for many, but there are also numerous positive things coming from this period of time with you. You will be forever remembered by us. There will be a lasting impact in the future because of you. You have brought people back to what really matters. You have taught us how to work together for common world-wide goals. People are appreciating one another because of you. Thank you Coronavirus, for teaching me things in a way no one else could!

Yours truly,
Lillie Wells

P.S. Remember to always look on the bright side or, better yet, that this cloud of COVID-19 does have a silver lining. I wonder what your lining has been through this time. What have you learned from this pandemic?