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The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

(Photo Gallery) A silent day in the neighborhood: COVID-19 creates a new normal

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Ruth Thompson walks her dog around the neighborhood, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, in San Antonio, Texas. San Antonio has mandated citizens to wear either face coverings or masks while in public.

After Texas State suspended all in-person classes and gatherings following an extended Spring Break, many students opted to move back to their permanent residences across the country and the world. Though each and every home is unique, the effects of COVID-19 have shown to be eerily similar.
Members of the multimedia section of The University Star come from all over Texas from the Rio Grande Valley up to Flower Mound near Dallas. As businesses and restaurants start to reopen their doors, our staff members documented what social distancing has looked like for the past two months in their home towns as well as here in San Marcos.
 
Michele DuPont is from Katy, Texas, a suburb west of Houston. The neighborhood she lives in is home to many young families and children. As a result of COVID-19, many of the local parks have been closed, but the community has still found ways to spend time outdoors by going on walks, runs and bike rides.
 
Grace-Erin Cooksey is from Flower Mound, Texas, a town located about 20 miles northwest of Dallas. It is home to two high schools, two community colleges, 54 public parks, two major areas of current economic development and countless local, regional, and international businesses. While a typical spring in Flower Mound would consist of thousands of high school students socializing at local eateries, college students getting ready for summer, families at the parks enjoying the warmer weather and the startup of local farmers markets, the town is now seeing the remaining public activity confined within the doors of the essential businesses. Given the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders, the grocery stores are one of the few businesses that still have cars occupying their parking lots leaving the schools, restaurants, activity centers and gyms throughout Flower Mound abandoned.
 
Katelyn Lester is from San Antonio, Texas, just an hour southwest of San Marcos. With summer time and warm weather approaching, the playground and basketball court would normally be filled with children of all ages playing and running around with one another. Families would often take their kids to the pool that’s close to the playground and let their children run around and have fun. Unfortunately, both the playground and the basketball court have now been taped off by caution tape warning the kids and families to not play on them.
 
Liliana Perez is from the Rio Grande Valley, a region on the southern tip of Texas near the border of Mexico. In between two counties, Cameron and Willacy, she lives in a more rural area compared to other parts of the valley. Growing up in a place with no neighbors, no nearby buildings and no sidewalks, transitioning into a socially distanced lifestyle has not been too drastic of a change for her. She does, however, miss being able to go out to her favorite stores and restaurants, even if it took about 20 minutes to get to them.
 
Kate Connors is from Austin, Texas, located north of San Marcos. She lives in the community Canyon Creek which has a community center, park and elementary school with the mascot of Comets. On a typical day, the sidewalks would be full of children and their families out walking their dogs and playing with friends at the park. Now, areas like this are blocked off and fences chained up.
 
James Debbah is from Dallas, Texas, and is currently living in San Marcos. One only needs to look at their local businesses to see the extent at which COVID has affected the community here in San Marcos. At places like the parking lot in front of the EVO Entertainment movie theater and Gold’s Gym where there were once spots filled from front to back, there is now only empty asphalt. H-E-B workers are now required to wear medical masks, and restaurants have had to close their dining areas, prompting any guest that would have once come in to relax to quickly leave for their own safety.
 
Haley Brand is from El Paso, Texas, a city sharing a border with Mexico. On a typical weekend, the outlet shoppes are flooded with families, children and employees, but COVID-19 has left them abandoned during this time. All parks throughout the city are closed as well which has seemed to drain the energy out of El Paso. In spite of all of these developments, the city continues to show that they aren’t just a community, but a family, proving they are “El Paso Strong.”

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  • The Westside Community Park locks its gates to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, Wednesday, April 15, 2020, in El Paso, Texas.

  • The Western Playland Amusement Park shuts its gates to the public for the first time since it opened for the season, Wednesday, April 15, 2020, in El Paso, Texas. The amusement park is usually crowded on the weekends. There is uncertainty over when it will open for the summer.

  • The Outlet Shoppes of El Paso sit empty and abandoned, Wednesday, April 15, 2020, in El Paso, Texas. The mall is usually crowded with people no matter the day of the week, but due to COVID-19, it is now riddled with closed-down stores and empty sidewalks.

  • The American Eagle store at the Outlet Shoppes of El Paso displays a sign indicating its closure due to COVID-19, Wednesday, April 15, 2020, in El Paso, Texas.

  • A quote by Sophocles is written, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, on the sidewalk outside of Larry Brand’s house in El Paso, Texas.

  • Larry Brand draws a quote from Sophocles on his sidewalk, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, in El Paso, Texas. Brand has been writing a new quote on his sidewalk once a week for five weeks now. He says he will continue doing this until quarantine is over. His main goal is to spread encouragement to people walking past his house during this time of uncertainty.

  • A Texas State shuttle remains empty except for one lone rider, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, in San Marcos. Instead of buses usually not having enough space for everyone to sit, they now sit empty.

  • H-E-B employee Nick Salas wears a protective mask, Wednesday, April 22, 2020, while working at H-E-B in San Marcos. Grocery store workers are now required to wear medical masks. What was once a suggestion is now something that has been mandated to slow the spread of COVID-19.

  • The parking lots of local businesses sit empty, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, in San Marcos. It was once packed with visitors eager to watch a movie or go to the gym.

  • The local Teapioca Lounge leaves its lounge area unopened and barricaded, Monday, April 20, 2020, in San Marcos. The tea shop typically has customers coming in and out and occasionally enjoying games and idle chatter.

  • Signs posted on the countertops of Teapioca Lounge, Monday, April, 20, 2020, in San Marcos, warning customers not to touch surfaces.

  • Canyon Creek Elementary School displays a supportive message to the neighborhood, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, in Austin, Texas.

  • On what would be a typical school day at an elementary school in Austin, Texas, the playground now lays empty, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, as all public schools have been moved to online learning for the rest of the spring semester.

  • The Canyon Creek neighborhood has lined up cones blocking the entrance to the community center, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, in Austin, Texas.

  • A community in Austin, Texas, locked up all community centers, such as the neighborhood basketball court and pool. A post about COVID- 19 precautions is posted, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, at a court.

  • A donation box for clothing and shoes by Arms of Hope, which normally accepts donations, sits taped off, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, in Austin, Texas.

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  • Louie Perez works on setting up a new living room window, Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in Harlingen, Texas. Being at home has allowed him to do the things he said he never had the time to do before.

  • Nora Perez spends some time unwinding in her room, Tuesday, April 14, 2020, in Harlingen, Texas. Some days, being at home feels overwhelming, so isolating while social distancing is a valid thing to do.

  • Cats visit each other on opposite sides of a front door window screen, Wednesday, April 15, 2020, in a home in Harlingen, Texas.

  • Nora Perez moves to lift up a new living room window that her husband finished installing, Wednesday, April 15, 2020, in her home.

  • A levee remains undriven more than usual since the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, in the outskirts of Harlingen, Texas, a town in the Rio Grande Valley.

  • The once filled playground now sits empty and guarded by caution tape, Saturday, April 18, 2020, in the Grandview neighborhood in San Antonio, Texas. Playgrounds throughout the city are being left silent and empty while kids are forced to stay inside due to the Stay at Home order.

  • The slides of the empty playground are guarded by caution tape, Saturday, April 18, 2020, in the Grandview neighborhood in San Antonio, Texas. The slides that were once filled with children laughing during springtime are closed with yellow caution tape.

  • The empty basketball court sits lifeless, locked, and covered in yellow caution tape, Saturday, April 18, 2020, in the Grandview neighborhood in San Antonio, Texas. A basketball court that would usually be occupied by middle school boys after school is now closed and unavailable to the public.

  • The live stock of Circle R Ranch graze their fields, Tuesday, April 14, 2020, in Flower Mound, Texas. As one of Dallas and Fort Worth’s Premier Special Event Venues, Circle R Ranch has canceled all corporate dinners, company picnics, team building events, galas, banquets and its annual Flower Mound High School senior field day.

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  • Flower Mound High School sits idle with only a single car in its parking lot, Tuesday, April 14, 2020, in Flower Mound, Texas. The school which rests on 52 acres of land is home to over 3,620 students and 213 teachers, who are now conducting the remainder of the semester from the safety of their homes.

  • The waters of the Life Time Fitness Club and Spa pools sit empty, Wednesday, April 15, 2020, in Flower Mound, Texas. Their aquatics facilities are a local hotspot for children swimming lessons, swim team meets and practices, playdates and birthday parties. This spring is the first time since the fitness center’s opening that the pools are shutdown during its peak season.

  • A father and children stroll through the River Walk at Central Park, Tuesday, April 14, 2020, in Flower Mound, Texas. While the River Walk is typically a hotspot location for prom photos during local high schools’ spring semester, the only activity that seen now are joggers, dog walkers, and bike riders.

  • One of Flower Mound’s landmarks, Parker Square, houses many unique retail shops and diverse restaurants that have since been closed or limited to carry out options since the shelter in place orders were made in March. While the Square is deserted after the shutdown of both of its local campuses, North Central Texas College and Midwestern State University, a woman utilizes the gazebo during a day of good weather, Tuesday, April 14, 2020.

  • A bright yellow sign indicates the closure of a Highland Park community playground, Monday, April 20, 2020, in Cinco Ranch, Texas, due to COVID-19 concerns.

  • A large padlock and chain secure the gated entrance to the Odessa Kilpatrick Elementary playground, Friday, April 17, 2020, in Katy, Texas. This comes after recent orders from Fort Bend County officials to close all public parks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • Lauren Justus sits by water with a chocolate Labrador while resting during an evening walk, Friday, April 10, 2020, in Cinco Ranch, Texas. Due to recent orders for Fort Bend County residents to stay home, many in the community have relied on the neighborhood trails for exercise and fresh air.

  • The water of the Highland Park community pool is green and stagnant, Monday, April 20, 2020, in Cinco Ranch, Texas. The triangle banners that decorate the swimming lanes are a harsh reminder of the swim teams that had their seasons canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

  • A large padlock secures the gates surrounding the Odessa Kilpatrick Elementary playground, Friday, April 17, 2020, in Katy, Texas. The park is usually alive with sounds of students at recess during the school day or families visiting on weekends.

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