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Uncertainty and panic are rising everywhere. The district I work for is sending emails and posting information like crazy. We have new signs in the bathroom about washing our hands. We have hand sanitizer bottles all over the place. Our buses are being disinfected in daily rotation and I have taken it upon myself to wipe down door handles and keyboards around the office at regular intervals.

Personally I’m not doing much differently. I work with children in an environment where the possibility of cleaning up body fluids or contracting contagious diseases is an ever present possibility. I’m just going to go on doing what I’ve been trained to do. The only thing that changed is before I did it automatically but now I’m mindful and painfully aware of what I touch around me and how often I touch my face. I’m working hard to break habits I didn’t even know I had.

I’m more aware of other people too and I’m noticing a new kind of bias for people who look like they don’t wash their hands. I’m more aware of what other people touch and of how they speak about the pandemic and the recommended personal protection measures. I’m unconsciously watching for and logging people who might be vectors for infection later based on cues that may or may not be correlations. I wonder it what other ways, big and small, this will change me.

I think we will all change in ways we can’t imagine or predict by the end of this.