We’re into our third week of what’s become our new reality: work in the time of coronavirus. Those of you with school-age children are figuring out how to navigate having their school and your work taking place in the same space. My husband is on a rotating schedule of working from home, so he and I have worked together here at home a few days. My cat has decided she’s my officemate.

    It feels like things are changing daily but also like time has slowed down so much that last week seems like it was a year ago. Phrases like “flatten the curve” and “social distancing” didn’t mean much to us a month or two ago, but they’ve slipped into our vocabulary almost unnoticed.

    My husband and I walked around the disc golf course on the now-empty USC-Upstate campus yesterday evening, and when we got there, we were greeted by a sobering sight: Spartanburg Regional’s drive-through COVID-19 testing set-up, which made everything feel very real and close to home. We had just learned before we left the house of Governor McMaster’s order closing all non-essential businesses.

    I try to imagine how we would have managed all of this in the days before the internet, when colleges and libraries and museums couldn’t pivot to offering services online, when social media didn’t allow us to stay connected to each other and quickly share information, when large numbers of workers shifting to working at home simply would not have been an option.

    My book club still met last week, but instead of eating out together while we discuss our book, we used Zoom. Churches are streaming sermons. Children’s book authors are reading books aloud online for kids who are now home all day.

    One of the best uses of the internet, and social media in particular, is when people use it to mobilize helpers in times of crisis. Facebook groups have sprung up, like #7Help, created by WSPA’s Amy Wood, for people to get and share information, and the COVID-19 Upstate SC Help Group. People share stories of neighbors, or even complete strangers, helping each other.

    People are converting little free libraries into little free food pantries. They are pulling out their sewing machines and making masks for beleaguered hospitals that are running short on protective gear for medical workers.

    In Greenwood, sales of t-shirts emblazoned with “Team Greenwood” are supporting laid-off service workers, and a screen printer in Anderson has started a similar effort. Laurens County has a Think Local Facebook page to promote their local businesses. Fountain Inn has created a page for people to find and give help.

    On our COVID-19 resource page, you’ll see three links at the top of the page: one for the latest updates on the crisis, one with links for how you can help or get help, and one with good news stories. We want you to stay informed and get the help you need—but there IS good news out there! I’ll be adding to those pages all the time, so email me if you run across a good news story or a link about getting or giving help.

    by Sharon Purvis, Director of Outreach and Special Projects, Ten at the Top