Athlone natives, Ray and Kathryn Murphy, both now resident in Boston, with their children Kaylah, Sarah and Rian, spoke to the Athlone Advertiser this week, noting the impact of COVID-19 on their daily lives as the global pandemic remains a continuous health concern on a global scale.
Ray, who originally hails from Summerhill and Kathryn, a native of Barrymore, moved from Dublin to Boston in January 2017. The family had all settled in well and were enjoying life on the US east coast when COVID-19 arrived.
Pertaining to matters professional, both Ray and Kathryn experienced vastly different issues with regard to their present roles.
“From a professional perspective we had quite different experiences. I work in financial services and it was relatively easy for me to transition to working from home full time (not that I’d recommend it! ), but Kathryn’s job in the local school was furloughed and it remains uncertain what will happen in September,” Ray remarked.
The sudden impact of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions had an immediate impact upon the educational lives of the couples three children.
“From our children’s perspective it all happened very suddenly. They were in school on Thursday, March 12, before the news came through that school would be closed from Friday, March 13. As of now there has been no confirmation that the new school year will start on time, but we are all hopeful,” Ray continued.
As a daily routine emerged during lockdown restrictions, Ray noted the fortunate circumstance of all family members remaining healthy as COVID-19 cases increased in number.
“We have been very fortunate, as our family here and extended family back home, have remained safe and healthy. The kids have been great as well, settling into a routine of doing a little bit of schoolwork in the mornings and a lot of outdoor activities in the afternoon! Thankfully, we live a little outside the city of Boston so have easy access to parks, forests and even a nearby lake, where the kids love to go swimming,” Ray asserted.
Noting the conservative attitude prevalent within Massachusetts, Ray stated that the lockdown measures implemented were broadly parallel to those in Ireland.
“From a state perspective, Massachusetts has been one of the more conservative and has implemented measures that are broadly in line with Ireland but without the 5km rule. One of the biggest challenges in the US, is the amount of flexibility given to the State Governors, so there are many examples of neighbouring States taking different approaches to keeping residents safe.
“Also, it feels like there is a little more pressure here to start reopening, as one in four Americans are currently out of work and the situation is getting pretty dire for small business owners. I think this will mean that Boston will be attempting to get back to the “new normal” slightly ahead of Ireland, but at a much more measured pace than other parts of the country,” Ray added.
While restrictions remain in situ, family activities are at a premium but as the summer elapses the Murphy family are looking forward to socialising and planning a return journey to visit family in Athlone.
“Live sport is a personal favourite and I love watching the Boston Celtics when I have the opportunity to do so. Kathryn is planning our next trip home, while the children are thoroughly looking forward to meeting their US friends and a return to school,” Ray concluded.