Danny Hutchinson, Post-Secondary Administration & Teulon Rockwood Firefighter

Danny Hutchinson, Post-Secondary Administration & Teulon Rockwood Firefighter

When I think about this past year and all the ways COVID has impacted my family’s life, I really do feel the worst for our kids. My wife and I have ten-year-old twins – a son and a daughter – and they’re both starting to go a bit stir crazy at home and really miss their friends.

Both our kids are in hockey and our daughter is in dance. Hockey was paused at the end of 2020, and cancelled for good in February.  My daughter’s dance classes were moved to Zoom for most of the season and this weekend should have been her dance recital.  Everyone is doing the best they can but they’ve missed out on a lot.

It’s those things that make the vaccine rollout the most exciting because it means we can start thinking about when this will all be over. I was very happy to receive my first vaccine about a week ago and my wife has received her first dose too. I received mine at a pop-up clinic on Notre Dame Avenue and the staff made everything really easy.

I arrived at 11:30 am, waited outside for five minutes and then I was brought in to go through the standard screening, identification and consent steps. After that I got my shot within about five minutes and, other than waiting for the fifteen minutes they ask you to stick around for observation, I was done. It was really well organized with a lot of focus being given to social distancing, which was great to see.

I didn’t experience a lot in the way of side effects, only a bit sick to my stomach the day after. For my wife, she had a bit of a headache but there really wasn’t anything worth mentioning for either of us.

Although I think the kids have had the hardest time, my life has definitely seen its fair share of changes over the past year. When the COVID restrictions started last March, I was working at Red River College as an instructor in math and science for trades. We transitioned to working from home right away, with classes put on hold for a week and then we went right into online instruction. It was a really steep learning curve to get things up and running but we have an incredible team at the college with departments and colleagues all working together to make things happen. I’ll be honest, I didn’t like working from home at all at first. Like so many people I was parked at the dining room table at first and I really miss the everyday interactions with colleagues and friends.

Classes ended in June and then I transitioned to a different job at the college coordinating teacher and student schedules. It was definitely a crazy time to start that position given all the scheduling challenges related to COVID-19, but we’ve been able to make a hybrid model work with onsite shops and labs, combined with at-home online courses for theory.

On top of all that, I’m an on-call firefighter with the Teulon Rockwood fire department. As a group, we knew a COVID outbreak in our team would put the community at risk so we spend a lot of time focusing on using masks and cleaning procedures to keep everyone safe.

We’ve done the best we can to make things work both personally and professionally, but I really hope the vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel. For anyone hesitant about receiving it, I think we deal with a certain amount of risk every day no matter what we do, and the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the cons.

But even when we all eventually get the vaccine, I think life will be different as a result of everything we’ve gone through. I think we were caught flat-footed on a global scale in how to deal with the pandemic and it’s experiences like these that will help us do better in the future.

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Additional Resources

Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine from official sources.