Middle school teacher creatively keeps count of days since pandemic began

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Saturday, March 13, 2021
Middle school teacher creatively keeps count of days since pandemic began
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When neighbors were fenced out due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they counted on the creative Mr. Kuhn to bring them together.

WAYNE, Pa. (WPVI) -- "365 days ago, I found out that I was going to be my kids' homeschool teacher every day," said Andrew Kuhn on the one-year anniversary of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Everyone has their own pandemic story and many will credit the week of March 9, 2020, as their last in normalcy. For middle school teacher Andrew Kuhn, it felt real when Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced the first school closures on March 13, 2020.

"At the time, we thought it was going to be two weeks," said Kuhn, who teaches technology at Penn Wood Middle School. "The pandemic was much bigger than we thought or hoped it would be."

Kuhn is married to a teacher at St. David's Nursery School. Both are relieved to be teaching at least partially in-person today. However, it was a different story 365 days ago. In addition to navigating remote teaching, they had to guide their four children through remote learning.

"I'd make them write out what the day was and they started counting and we kept going," said Kuhn.

Keeping track of time evolved into a community activity when Kuhn decided to create a counter on his chain-linked fence. Using small plastic cups, he dotted the holes to illustrate how many days have passed since the start of the pandemic. On Saturday, March 13, 2021, he rearranged the cups to read, "Day 365."

"I've been very committed to this," he said. "We change it every day."

Kuhn's neighbors are thankful, if not assertive, about his new daily activity. Locals young and old feel a connection when they pass by and see the numbers climb. They never let him miss a day.

David Bemer and his wife, Ellie, moved into their new home nearby and got married during the pandemic in 2020.

"When you move in, typically, everyone's running around, so you don't get to, you know, meet your neighbors," said Bemer. "But, you know, things slowed down and we were able to kind of hang out. It was really a special moment."

This morning, the Kuhn family welcomed neighbors such as Bemer to have a toast to the brighter days ahead on their front lawn.

"We're all definitely much, much closer, even though we've had to stay farther and farther away from each other," said Kuhn. "Thank you for being in our lives and for being here with us today."

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