We are all having to deal with working in a far different world

Published 1:17 pm Wednesday, April 1, 2020

It’s Tuesday morning and I’m sitting here at the kitchen table trying to write this week’s column.

I’m not in quarantine, and I’m not self-isolating to avoid spreading COVID-19 to the community; I’m working from home while waiting for The Post to relocate to its new home on Washington Street.

Working from home is a new experience for me. I’ve done occasional stories and columns from home, and I’ve transcribed notes from interviews, but those were done over short periods of time and when the work was done, the laptop was put away and I got back to whatever I was doing before.

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That’s not the case this time. I’m working from home at least through Friday, and covering this virus has been an interesting challenge.

Since February, covering COVID-19 has been rounds of special meetings, Sunday press conferences and looking for the side stories of how the virus and the precautions taken by local leaders is affecting people’s lives.

But there are some advantages to working from home. I don’t have to rush to get dressed to go to an office; for the next few days, my working attire will be shorts or sweatpants and a T-shirt, unless I have to go into town for a special meeting.

I don’t have to fight traffic on U.S. 61 South. With schools and some businesses closed, and the city working with a reduced workforce, there isn’t much traffic on the road.

My desk is the kitchen table with my laptop perched on a wire rack to make it easier to see. My business phone is my cell phone, and my Bluetooth earpiece will become an almost permanent fixture growing out of my left ear. My backup is our house phone.

And as I sit here clicking away on my keyboard, I have to wonder how people living in areas under mandatory shelter in place orders are doing.

My time working from home, unless I come down with the scourge that is affecting our country, will actually be just a short period of time, not the long-term stay many people are now forced to serve as one way of controlling COVID-19. As a parent, I can understand how difficult it can be to keep children occupied when the novelty of a long-term time away from school wears off.

In a way, we in Vicksburg are fortunate. We’re not yet forced to stay at home and off the streets. I know many residents are staying home, whether they have children at home or not; I see it in my goings about town.

It’s good to see that people are taking the advice of city and county officials and health care workers, and doing what they can to limit their potential exposure to the disease that is affecting so many others in the state and the country.

Let’s hope we’re out of the woods soon.

 

John Surratt is a staff writer for The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at john.surratt@vicksburgpost.com.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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