I know it’s a frightening time for everyone, and I wanted to let you know I am praying for you and our communities. I am also doing my part to keep safe, help slow the spread of this virus, and help families impacted by the economic crisis we are now seeing.

As a state senator, I have the privilege of a job during this crisis — and my job is to be available to help as many people as possible. I have had so many Kansans call or email me directly, from incarcerated people, to disabled people, to caretakers and older Kansans, and I have been working tirelessly to find the best ways to make sure they get the help they need.

That’s my role in all of this. To serve. That should be the role of every legislator and elected leader, and I’ve been heartened by the leadership of Gov. Laura Kelly and Dr. Lee Norman here in Kansas. It’s a difficult time, but I am fortunate to be able to serve the people of my district and direct them to the resources they need. I am proud that during this session of the Kansas legislature, we passed a state unemployment expansion to up to 26 weeks. Our budget also includes $65 million for COVID-19 response.

To everyone, please do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions or need anything — that’s what I’m here for. Stay safe.

— Barbara Bollier, Mission Hills

Please reopen our economy

Good afternoon, my name is Kimberly Stringer and I own a licensed home daycare in West Wichita but run it as a preschool. Due to all of the shutdowns I have lost 12 out of 20 of my children. That is equal to almost $2,000 a month lost income in our home. To some, that may not be a lot. To us, it is our livelihood. I am asking and begging that you get things opened back up and that the fear that is being spread everywhere will stop. Children need routine and children do not need to live in constant fear are the things they are hearing and seeing constantly in their homes on TV radio Etc when these little children start having nightmares, and Society, eating issues, anger and aggression issues... We will see it is all stemmed off of this time and it is time to get back into a regular routine. These children are our future and we do not want a future filled with fear an anchor and confusion. Please get us all back to work and get these children back to stability. Thank you so much for listening.

— Kimberly Stringer, Wichita

Zooming into the future

When my mum went on a holiday in the 1950s to Ireland from Australia there were pre-arranged phone calls home. The calls were at an exact time so the whole family could be there and were only for a few minutes as these calls were so, so expensive.

For the last few days, I have been out and about, not physically due to COVID-19, but by video conferences. There really is no cost apart from some data usage and it can be used by anyone. I have been one of thirty volunteers discussing the week, one of five in a family catch up, one of six in a writer's group and soon one on one with my violin tutor. The app I am using allows me to “Touch Up My Appearance” but there doesn't seem to be a “play in tune” version for the violin playing.

One of the participants mentioned that it only takes about a month for something to become an ingrained habit. Will the future mean that far more of our communication will be virtual or will we go back to face to face contact?

In how many ways will we change the habits of a life? Will life ever be the same as it was, the same way I like it?

I want my life to go back to what it was.

— Dennis Fitzgerald, Melbourne, Australia