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Together Apart: Personal Accounts of a Public Health Crisis 

The Spring 2020 Museums and Anthropology class has collected and organized information, thoughts, and themes during and from the ongoing public health crisis. As we process this situation as a society, we present our thoughts, feelings, and opinions—from making more time for hobbiesto spending time with family but missing friendsto grieving lost experiences and feeling unable to move forward, to adapting to new school environments, to sharing our unhealthy isolation coping methods. No one is alone in this crisis. Together but apart, we will take life one step at a time. Stop and appreciate the little things. 

The participants of this exhibit represent the social network of just a few Susquehanna University students. Our school is in a small college town in central Pennsylvania, but our social networks extend from Utah to Colorado, from Delaware to Germany, and from Iceland to Poland. It’s clear that we live in a connected world, even when we are physically isolated in our individual cities, towns, and homes. 

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization officially declared that the coronavirus outbreak had become a pandemic. Following the declaration, through March and early April, U.S. state and county governments imposed quarantines and stay-at-home orders on their populations to slow the spread of the virus. Governments in Germany, Italy, and Poland took similar precautions. Currently, government officials, public figures, and our friends on social media are encouraging “social distancing.” We cannot congregate in groups or enter crowded areas. When out in public, we must wear facemasks and stand six feet apart from one another. 

Through it all, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention remind us to  

“Stay connected while staying away. It is very important to stay in touch with friends and family that don’t live in your home. Call, video chat, or stay connected using social media. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations and having to socially distance yourself from someone you love can be difficult.” 

Together apart, we remap our networks, and remain connected while isolated.  

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