When Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, issued a statewide stay-at-home order on March 28 in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, many southcentral Kansas families and individuals had to consider changes in their lifestyles.
Tammy Wolfley, owner of a daycare in Greensburg, said the realization hit her Thursday morning of the tremendous responsibility she has to all of her daycare families in keeping kids safe from COVID-19.
“I have read posts on Facebook from two child care providers in the Kansas City area that have had to close for five days each due to a child arriving with symptoms and awaiting COVID-19 test results,” Wolfley said. “It does no good for me to keep myself inside, avoiding germs, if I also don't keep my family inside.”
If someone were to be infected with COVID-19 in her own family, Wolfley said it would affect not only herself, but all the kids in her care as well as their families. Due to this, Wolfley and her family have made the decision to attend church virtually and comply with all social distancing.
“I look forward to helping any kids with online schooling in my daycare family that needs help,” Wolfley said. “If we are ordered to stay in our homes, I hope and pray that the state will allow me to help watch the kids of the family that have jobs essential to helping and caring for our community even though that would be heart-wrenching as it would keep a few of my "kids" from coming to my home.”
If the state mandates that the daycare must close during the COVID-19 crisis, Wolfley said the loss of income will hurt but missing the kids will hurt even more.
“I have five daycare moms that work in healthcare--All of them need all of us to work together to do our best to prevent the spreading of the virus,” Wolfley said. “I want to be able to continue providing the best care that I can and thus far, have been putting in a lot of extra work and time to keep things cleaner. We are all connected and together in this.”
Morgan Allison, a Greensburg resident, said they are trying to abide by the recommendations of Kansas Department of Health and Environment by practicing social distancing, including staying home from church and not taking their boys to public places unless absolutely necessary.
“Between work and family commitments, I'm already busy,” Allison said. “As a family, we are getting our garden prepped and working on school routines for our boys. Living out in the country we have plenty to do at home. If asked not to leave our homes, we would figure out our new normal and abide by the recommendations.”
Angelique Libby, owner of the Donut Shop in Greensburg, said her and her family are not accepting visitors into their home at this time in order to avoid risking infection.
“We are disinfecting everything three times a day,” Libby said. “I am immunocompromised and high risk, so we were told by our doctor to use hand sanitizer and gloves when we pump gas and use keypads to pay.”
Lori Naumann and her husband, Greensburg residents, are retired and have illnesses that put them at high-risk with COVID-19 so they have been staying home but they are still trying to keep things as normal as possible.
“The grandkids live very close and they are in and out a lot,” Naumann said. “We try to keep them busy, happy, and everything as normal as possible. I am also trying to organize some areas of my home."
The Naumanns said they are thankful for the space, fresh air, and freedom that western Kansas offers as well as activities to keep them busy and their fully stocked refrigerator and freezer.
“Let's pray for those who are not as fortunate, for the scientists racing the clock to help, and our leaders who are making tough decisions,” Naumann said. “Let's not be scared or critical. Let's uplift the kids and support each other. It's time to remember, what would Jesus do."
Myllissa Trimmel, a resident from Haviland, said that despite the lack of activities to keep busy with, the extra time has allowed for the family to do more bonding together.
“I made some homemade bread, we're in the middle of putting a puzzle together, and will be doing yard clean-up when the weather warms up,” Trimmel said. “This pandemic will pass but for now, God is trying to tell us something, and we need to listen."
Linda Broce, a Pratt resident, said the civic organizations she is involved in such as Pratt Garden Club, Master Gardeners, and Pilot Club are not currently meeting, so she has been finding other ways to stay busy.
“I am painting rooms, cleaning, organizing, packing unwanted items for Goodwill, quilting, sewing masks for friends and getting ready to start scrapbooking,” Broce said. “I'm also getting ready to garden when things warm up some.”
Broce said she would be alright if the time came when she could not leave her house because she has plenty of food and supplies to last as well as activities to occupy her time, but she said she worries for people who may be prone to depression or may not have as many activities to keep them busy.
"I believe this is somehow God's plan--Maybe to make us slow down, appreciate each other more, and find joy in the simple things,” Broce said. “Like more time to read and pray, enjoy phone calls and text messages from friends, and sit down meals with family.”
Chris and Kate Johnson, residents of Coldwater, said that they too have started reevaluating things and focusing on the blessings they have during this unprecedented event.
“We've always known the Lord has given much to us but the awareness is much better,” Johnson said. “Kate and I both work in education. It was heart-wrenching when our face-to-face time with our kids abruptly ended.”
Now, Johnson said, he feels blessed that staff will still be paid and utilized in Comanche County.
“My wife is a student teacher at Greensburg and is blessed to still be on track to licensure, albeit, differently than expected,” Johnson said. “It sounds crazy, but we can't wait for August.”