Many juggling work, school and home life

Cathy Decker/Correspondent
Elise Fippinger passes a food order out at Aledo’s Tastee Freez. She wears a protective face mask, along with other staff at the food shop,

ALEDO — While most people have been on pins and needles the past two months during the declared COVID-19 pandemic, there may be a glimmer of hope for the future. Some individuals, such as hospital employees and grocery store staff, have endured an increased work load. Then there are the families juggling work schedules and children (who would normally be at school during the day}.

Elise Fippinger

Elise Fippinger came home for spring break in mid-March on an Amtrak train during her freshman year at the Kansas City Art Institute. Then the governor’s pandemic pronouncement came down.

Initially the school told her there would be an additional week off, which then was extended for an undetermined amount of time.

Within days she had her old job back at the Aledo Tastee Freez. She also continued schooling through the internet.

Assignments were documented and sent back to school by email. “Doing an on-line animation would not be easy,” she said. She didn’t have the same, sophisticated software for the project.

At home are her mother and father, Ann and Scott, both work in the funeral business. Her two older brothers are on their own now. Nathan is working on his master’s degree in Colorado, and Ben went to school for two years and is now living in the Quad Cities.

She said “social isolation” doesn’t really bother her yet — she has a job and she has her school work. In the future she plans to embark on a commissioning set-up, to let others tap into her art experience. She may also be going back to school. That is yet to be determined.

On May 21, she plans to go down to Kansas City to pick up her dorm room items.

Todd Baldwin

Todd Baldwin of Aledo is a financial planner for Compeer Financial in Aledo. His office is closed now and he works from home. Talking to clients has been a struggle. He first set up his office in his bedroom. But having three children is sometimes a distraction.

Managing his three children’s school work wasn’t too hard for his oldest. John, his sixth grader brought home a Chromebook to do his schoolwork.

“We hadn’t seen him play his trombone for a while,” he said. So they did mention that to him. John has kept in contact with band director Rusty Ruggles through email.

Emily, Todd’s wife, was more engaged in monitoring the two younger children —Helen, a fourth grader, and Norah, a preschooler. Helen’s big project was titled “The Wax Museum” where students had to choose a person to report on. Helen chose Simone Biles, the American gymnast.

Teachers were helpful by sending various internet web links for study purposes. “She used those to get fact,” Emily said. “She posted her speech on Flip Grid,” she added.

Norah’s teacher sent home a packet with workbook pages, art projects and seeds for planting. “I ended up working a lot with her on the workbook,” she said.

The seeds to plant were a big hit for Norah. “She really enjoyed watching them grow,” Emily said.

Holly Boydston

Holly Boydston works as the front desk clerk at Aledo City Hall. She works full time, although there is no entry into the building by the public. She has two children, a junior in high school and a sophomore in college.

Both are pretty independent at doing their schoolwork, but she did admit it has been stressful “keeping them motivated.”

“It’s been a challenge. It would have been less stressful if they could have had contact with their friends,” she said.

One factor affecting schoolwork is their internet connection. “We live in the country, right on the edge of the city,” she said. The internet speed is unpredictable.

Taylor, the college student, has a device from the school to use, and Rachel has a Chromebook from Mercer County High School.

“They’re hoping to be able to go back to school in the fall. There is no way of predicting the future. They’re just taking it one day at a time.”