Robert, Saginaw County

Storyteller: Brayden Paris

Robert is 49 years of age and lives in Freeland, MI. During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was the St. Charles High School Principal, assigned now to the Saginaw ISD, presiding over the Special Ed department for St. Charles. Similar to many, Mr. Paris learned about COVID-19 while most of the cases were reported in China, and when COVID-19 made landfall in the city of Seattle.

 One of the significant shifts that immediately occurred was the fear of infection, and the fear personally grew in the house, as Mr. Paris takes personal interest in his students, placing him at a greater risk. After the shutdown, while having more time with his family, he also took some of that time to develop his carving abilities, avidly carving over the last several months, and running his Etsy shop. The one loss though, that he felt keenly, was the loss of connections and contacts, such as attending educational conferences with his friends. Other losses included the district’s financial troubles, and concerns of how future educational funding would be impacted. 

Robert reports that he is conscientious of everything he touches now. He also reports that prior to Covid, he knew many people in town, but cannot recognize people behind their face masks, and this bothers him greatly. One thing that stuck out to him as ironic though, was that through the pandemic, activities the family didn’t usually do, ended up becoming events to help relieve the stress of the pandemic, such as a Kane Brown online concert, that was streamed in the town of Harrison, where his cabin is. While this wasn’t an activity his family would normally engage in, the opportunity to do something outside of the house made it something enjoyable. Robert reported that he is disappointed that the federal government won’t come together, even as the pandemic threatens to kill many of the citizens that elected them, that they are responsible for.

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