With the Covid lockdown mandated in March, 2020, I immediately began photographing Erin and her two kids as they navigated a new pandemic life. Like so many others, their lives were severely disrupted.

Erin’s two, socially gregarious kids were suddenly isolated with one another and attending school on Zoom from their suburban home. PE was conducted in the family room, Math at the kitchen table and English in Erin’s home office. To say the Wifi was the only thing stressed beyond capacity was to ignore the obvious.

“Each day my first thought was I need to just get through the rest of the school year and all will be fine,” Erin said about her new role as teacher.

That was only months into the pandemic. Little did she know she would, for the first time in her life, lose her job and throw herself into managing the daily workload of virtual school. It would be more than a year before her kids donned a backpack and headed back to class.

Through at-home graduations and clandestine summer get togethers with friends, Erin prayed that schools would reopen in September, 2020 and life could get back to pre-pandemic normal. They didn’t. Zoom fatigue set in followed by quiet holidays and more hope that 2021 would at least get the kids back to school.  

This is their story in photos.

What a year it’s been.


Photographs © Todd Bigelow/Contact Press Images
Please Email Contact Press Images with licensing request


Erin helps her daughter with schoolwork while also managing communications for her employer during the first week of LA’s lockdown order.

 

A tutor works with Brooklyn via Zoom to prepare her for a test the next day in 3rd grade math. Brooklyn stayed in her pajamas, unicorn robe and slippers all day, according to her mom, Erin.

 

Erin’s son, Spencer, was navigating 8th grade math when he got stuck on a problem. 

 

Both of Erin’s kids are distance learning from home.

 

Late afternoon on March 19, 2020, the first day of the Safer At Home order, when Erin first had to juggle work and virtual school. All LA schools had been ordered closed.

 

Brooklyn, background, takes advantage of the empty streets on the first, complete day of lockdown, with her friend and neighbor, Shelly.

 

Erin talks to Brooklyn’s tutor via Zoom at the end of a tutoring session.

 

As a 5pm Zoom tutoring session goes long on the last day of Passover, Brooklyn dramatically claims she’s starving for the pizza that Spencer already started eating.

 

With social distancing and Stay At Home orders banning all gatherings, Brooklyn’s 9th birthday party was conducted by Zoom at lunch and later by a drive-by celebration.

 

Brooklyn’s friends drive by and throw stuffed animals out the window to celebrate her 9th birthday.

 

Brooklyn celebrates during her drive by birthday party.

 

Social distancing means kids are now giving “air hugs” as seen during this social distancing birthday party for 9 yr old Brooklyn.

 

A few weeks into the pandemic shut down, Erin was furloughed from her full time, six figure job of 14 years. This was her first time filing for unemployment benefits.

 

Erin had reason to be concerned because her company said she was “furloughed” but they provided severance pay which complicated filing for unemployment benefits.

 

Erin attends a virtual conference with the local high school counselor and principal for information on incoming freshman. Her son, Spencer, starts high school in August and the lockdown left parents with many questions typically answered at school orientations no longer being held.

 

Spencer’s middle school cancelled in person culmination and offered signs to 8th graders to place in their yard.

 

Waiting in line to pick-up Brooklyn’s school work and personal belongings from school, Brooklyn sees a friend.

 

Erin and Brooklyn walk home after retrieving her school work in May, months after her last in-person class.

 

Erin, after retrieving a bag full of Brooklyn’s school work from school, waits for her daughter en route home.

 

This was Spencer’s final year in middle school and he was told to return to school and clear out his lockers. It was an unceremonious end to his three years there.

 

This was Spencer’s final year in middle school and was told to return to school and clear out his lockers. He waves goodbye to a friend down the hall.

 

Spencer in the empty locker room at his middle school where he was told to clear out his locker. It had been months, so he struggled to remember the combination.

 

Spencer discovers his PE clothes smell after sitting there for two months.

 

This was Spencer’s final year in middle school and was told to return to school and retrieve all belongings. It was an unceremonious end to his three years there, so his mom, Erin, took a photo as they left.

 

Erin posted notes behind her computer to help her during a Zoom interview for a new job. She wanted it to look like she was engaging the interviewer while easily referencing the points she wanted to make.

 

For the first time since the pandemic shuttered life in LA, Erin invited her friends over for a girls night, the first time she’d gathered socially in months. Social gatherings with anyone outside of your household were still  banned, but Erin and others were battling quarantine fatigue. 

 

For the first time since the pandemic shuttered life in LA, Erin invited her friends over for a girls night, the first time she’d gathered socially in months. Social gatherings with anyone outside of your household were still  banned, but Erin and others were battling quarantine fatigue.

 

Erin’s boyfriend, Justin, shows a photo to Spencer of what he looked like in high school as they hung out at Erin’s house on Memorial Day weekend. Spencer was heading to high school in the Fall.

 

Spencer was one of three students asked to submit a speech to be played during his middle school virtual commencement. He practiced before his mom recorded it.

 

Erin records Spencer’s 8th grade graduation speech to be played during his middle school’s virtual commencement. 

 

Spencer at times grew frustrated trying to remember the lines to his two minute speech for his middle school’s virtual graduation.

 

Erin became more tolerant of small social gatherings and play dates as summer neared. The Safer At Home order banned gatherings with those outside of your own household, but Erin felt she had to loosen the rules to allow her kids to have friends over and not be too isolated.

 

Brooklyn, already with a broken wrist and cast, jumps through the bushes en route to the Slip N’ Slide. Erin became more tolerant of small social gatherings and play dates as summer neared. The Safer At Home order banned gatherings with those outside of your own household, but Erin felt she had to loosen the rules to allow her kids to have friends over.

 

Erin made sure Spencer’s graduation from Hale Academy Middle School was special despite being virtual. The day started with Erin decorating the house for the big event.

 

Erin made sure Spencer’s graduation from Hale Academy Middle School was special despite being virtual, so the family, including her ex-husband, left, gathered to watch the recorded graduation on YouTube. Spencer reacts after it was announced he won three awards.

 

Erin congratulates Spencer after learning of his third award on graduation day.

 

Erin made sure Spencer’s graduation from Hale Academy Middle School was special despite being virtual. In the late afternoon, family was invited her home and Spencer, complete in cap and gown, walked down the side of the house to applause, gave a short speech and threw his cap in the air. 

 

Erin made sure Spencer’s graduation from Hale Academy Middle School was special despite being virtual. Spencer, complete in cap and gown, walked down the side of the house to applause and gave a short speech for close friends and family.

 

Spencer throws his cap in the air after the home graduation.

 

Erin told Spencer how proud she was. Despite spending the final three months of middle school virtual learning, Spencer graduated with three awards including the Presidential Award and the Hale Academy Award.

 

As summer grinds toward a new school year, Erin continues her job search. She prepares for a job interview by researching the company and the person interviewing her the following day. She places notes on a board that will stand behind her computer during the interview for quick reference.

 

Erin takes her daughter, Brooklyn, to Target for back to school shopping. Still without employment after being furloughed in April by the pandemic, Erin used a gift card given to her by her son plus a coupon, but still paid over $50.

 

With a new desk and new school supplies, Brooklyn sets-up her own little classroom in her bedroom in preparation for the coming school year that will be conducted virtually.

 

Brooklyn in school from her bedroom in November. Her brother attends high school in the bedroom next to hers and her mother works at her new job across the hallway.

 

Brooklyn during Music class where they learned to dance to a One Direction song. She attends school virtually from her bedroom.

 

Brooklyn shows off her backwards hoodie for Crazy Hair and Dress day during virtual school that she attends from her bedroom.

 

Erin was in a meeting for her new job one door down the hallway when Brooklyn went in to ask for a piece of paper. She quickly realized her mom was working and closed the door quietly.

 

For a virtual PE class in November, Spencer had to choose a video workout from YouTube and clearly wasn’t happy with the options. Erin was working at her new job virtually from the couch with her video off after suffering a painful pinch nerve that severely limited her movement.

 

Spencer takes his virtual Physical Education class while Erin works from the couch at her new job.

 

Spencer celebrates the end of his 30 minute workout that he had to record and upload for his virtual Physical Education class.

 

Spencer & Erin share space in the family room as he uploads work for his high school PE class while she works at her new job with her camera off after suffering a pinched-nerve overnight.

 

Erin celebrates a quiet first night of Chanukah with her children at home which began with a dinner including matzo ball soup. Usually family would come over, but not this year.

 

Brooklyn is thrilled with the gift her mom gave her on the first night of Chanukah. It’s been a hard year for both kids who days earlier had to suddenly deal with their dog Rosie being put to sleep.

 

After dinner, lighting the Menorah and opening gifts, the family shared donuts for dessert.

 

Erin celebrates the first night of Chanukah with her children at home. After dinner, lighting the Menorah and opening gifts, Spencer and Erin go over an Honors English paper that had to be uploaded as part of his final.

 

Spencer grows frustrated with an extra credit assignment for his PE class on December 18, the last day of his first semester in high school. As the deadline loomed, he had to quickly redo the assignment before uploading.

 

 

With Erin working from home and two kids uploading content and on Zoom at all times throughout the day, the network can get overloaded. Spencer hopes his extra credit video uploads in time with the deadline minutes away on December 18, the last day of his first semester in high school. 

 

Erin is selling her home (across the street) and moving into a new home with her boyfriend. It’s bitter sweet but she’s looking forward to a new chapter in life, she said. A sales agent, right, and his team photograph using a drone as Erin looks on.

 

Erin and her sales agent move items from room to room so photographs can be taken for the listing of her home for sale.

 

Almost 10 months since her life was thrown in turmoil by the coronavirus in March, 2020, Erin is selling her home. She watches as a sales agent and his team outside discuss a marketing strategy.

 

From her bedroom, Brooklyn watches the livestream of the inauguration of President Joe Biden as part of her virtual schoolwork on January 20, 2021. Erin said she hopes her kids return to school soon after nearly a year of distance learning from their bedrooms.

 

Erin pops her head out the front door as a contractor places the For Sale sign in her yard at 8am on Feb 11th. She and her boyfriend were about to sell their respective homes to move their families in together a year ago when Covid hit and their lives were tossed into turmoil. Both lost their jobs & had to stall the plans, but now that both are employed, they’re moving forward again.

 

With QR code in hand clearing her to return after a negative Covid test, Brooklyn prepares to leave for her first day of in person classes in over a year. Her brother, right, got up early to walk her to school.

 

Erin kisses Brooklyn goodbye as she leaves for her first day of in person classes since the pandemic. Her brother was helping her with multiple bags.

 

Spencer and Brooklyn spent the past year in school together under the same roof so he decided to walk her to her first day back since the pandemic lockdown. Spencer remains in virtual learning for his high school.

 

Todd Bigelow Photography

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.