The Range | March 18, 2022
Another unfortunate anniversary: COVID-19 turns two.
Two years ago this week, the first Covid-19 case was confirmed in Sedgwick County. A few days later, county health officials shut nearly everything down. What followed was a seemingly unending array of mask mandates, testing protocols, vaccine doses and social distancing. We learned to work from home while also teaching our children, who were attending school remotely. We saw cases rise, then fall, then rise again and fall again. And we saw friends and family get sick. Some of them, more than 1,000 in Sedgwick County, have died.
The pandemic has seemed much longer than two years, especially for the people we talked with for this anniversary show. High school seniors in the class of 20-22 have not had a normal school year since they were freshmen. And for babies born in the spring of 2020, they have never known life without a pandemic. Like Lydia Rodriguez, who was born in April that year. She’s Mark and Gray Rodriguez’s first child. KMUW’s Kylie Cameron visited with the couple and their daughter.
Also, Diana Grajeda, who is a senior at Wichita South High School. She’s editor of the school’s paper and yearbook, drum major for the marching band, a cheerleader and part of the school’s tennis team. Pretty typical stuff for a lot of seniors. But her high school journey has been anything but typical. Her sophomore year ended months early, in March, when Governor Laura Kelly closed the state’s schools. Classes for much of her junior year were done remotely and her senior year has been mostly conducted behind a face mask. Diana talks about what she lost in high school because of the pandemic, but also what she learned.