March 22, 2022

Covid Lessons by Lorrie Orr


San Josef Bay on the northeastern corner of Vancouver Island. We vacationed there just as everything was closing down because of the pandemic in March 2020.

Thursday, March 12, 2020 - All teachers were called to an unexpected staff meeting at lunchtime. The decision had been made to close school one day earlier than planned before spring break due to a parent exposure to Covid-19. Excitement over an extra day's vacation mixed with uncertainty over what the future might hold among students and staff alike. 

When BC made the decision to not open schools after the break, teachers went into high gear. I set up an office in the dining room, learned how to use Google Classroom, and digitized all of my learning resources. I learned how to video myself teaching and to present it both live and recorded to my students. It was a steep learning curve.

Students themselves were in shock. Many didn't bother showing up for virtual classes. Our counseling staff spent long hours dealing with students who, with sports and extracurricular activities curtailed, simply crashed into deep depression. 

My husband is the director for long-term care on Vancouver Island. His work load increased exponentially. Many of his staff worked from home, but Tim went into his office each day. When outbreaks in care homes were suspected, usually on weekends and holidays, it seemed, he spent hours and hours in virtual meetings, often late into the evening. I spent much time alone.

In order to cope with the loneliness, isolation from family and friends, and working from home, I developed some new routines, and used my creativity to connect in different ways.

* I made sure to go for a walk every day. Exercise helps my mood.

* When I was finished my school duties, I put on Chopin's Nocturnes to mark the shift from school duties to home duties. Cooking dinner became a delight as I listened to the beautiful music. 

* For my husband's first Covid birthday party, I created an online quiz game for the family and we all said visited over Zoom. Our youngest announced the upcoming arrival of a new baby during this party.

*In place of the usual Easter egg hunt at Nana's, I delivered baskets of goodies, and then held a virtual egg hunt. I photographed plastic eggs hidden in the garden, took photos, printed them, and sent them to everyone with instructions not to open them until instructed. The kids had fun finding the eggs in the photos and we all watched via Zoom.

* Christmas 2020 was so lonely. I thought I could handle it as well as everything else, but that day I wept. Another long walk with Tim helped get me into better spirits. 

As the pandemic wanes, I look back and admire the resiliency of society in dealing with the restrictions. I look around me now and am saddened by the vitriol and division that characterizes some aspects of society. I look ahead with cautious optimism to fewer restrictions, but also some trepidation as the war in Ukraine continues. The world has changed. There are always new lessons to learn. I am so thankful that God has not changed and remains the same loving, faithful, good God as he has been throughout the ages. 

Lorrie Orr writes from Vancouver Island where she enjoys boating and hiking with her husband. Gardening, reading, sewing, and spending time with her five grandchildren fill her days when she isn't teaching Spanish at a local high school. 


  1. Thank you, dear Lorrie, for this personal look into your life during the pandemic. Like you, I'm grateful God's goodness doesn't diminish despite troubling times.

    Amen to these words of yours: "I am so thankful that God has not changed and remains the same loving, faithful, good God as he has been throughout the ages."

    Congratulations on your new family member.

    Blessings ~ Wendy Mac

  2. I loved some of your creative ideas for coping and getting together. (Switching to a different genre of music resonates with me to switch from 'work' into 'home' mode.) I know what you mean about the learning curve, too! Things have changed... it reminds me of how the world changed after 9/11. Blessings to you.

  3. Disease and war are frightening. Even so, our Lord will never forsake us. Even my bad puns haven't caused him to disinherit me. We're here to learn obedience even when everything is sliding sideways. We may escape physical bullets and sicknesses but our enemy is ever trying to torpedo our faith. Be steadfast therefore!

  4. God has not changed!! Amen.
    If I am down in the dumps being outside with my two labs puts a smile on my face.
    Thank you for your honesty and transparency.

  5. Thanks for sharing your creative ideas during the pandemic, Lorrie, especially as you connected with your family. It reminds me of a saying, "In every difficulty lies opportunity."

  6. Lorrie, I appreciated hearing how you dealt with Covid and all the changes and restrictions. So much to impact you and Tim in it all. I loved your idea of switching gears from your school day to home time by tuning into Chopin's Nocturnes. And I enjoyed hearing about the creative ways you made family time on zoom so special. Your grands will always remember the time, "when we had an Easter egg hunt on zoom".

    Here's to better days ahead. xo


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