Confronting COVID-19

Confronting COVID-19

A Music Teacher’s Coronavirus Quarantine

by Ramya V., Mar 21, 2020

Listen to the Stories

Musical Quarantine

There's a kids' concert in progress from a basement in Rockland County, New York. The singer is live streaming on his Facebook page, doing his best impression of Kermit the Frog while playing the guitar. Swell storyteller Herman is a music teacher and a father of three. Since testing positive for COVID-19, he’s been in quarantine at his home in New York. 

On Tuesday, March 10th, he woke up with an elevated temperature and chills, signs that told him something wasn't right. He immediately scheduled an appointment with his doctor. Though his symptoms were mild and his doctor felt he wasn't really “a person of interest for coronavirus,” he tested him anyway due to the nature of his job as a music teacher traveling to various schools. While they waited for his results to come in, his doctor advised him to self-quarantine to be safe. 

Two days later, a call from the doctor's office confirmed the worst. Despite his mild symptoms, he tested positive for COVID-19. His doctor advised him and his family to self-isolate, but away from him in different rooms. The Department of Health got in touch with him directly with precautions and instructions to best navigate the situation. 

"The kids found out, and we had to sort of calm the jitters. It took a little while. I've got three kids and their ages are 11, 9 and 5. So they were kind of hoping that I wasn't gonna drop dead right there!" he says jokingly in his Swell Story. 

He dutifully notified his employers and the various schools he worked with so they could take appropriate cautionary steps. He also chose to bravely step out and identify himself as someone affected by the coronavirus.

While at first I was afraid of a little bit of a stigma, being the only person or the first person to say that this is what I’ve got, I don't think that that's the case. I think people are just relieved to hear that someone could have it, and it would be very mild. So I'm feeling very lucky.”

He also acknowledges that not everyone who has the virus is as lucky as he’s been. He’s feeling better and keeping busy by continuing to educate kids through upbeat songs. “'Live from the COVID-19 basement” is what he calls the quarantine area within his home. 

Listen to his full story told in his own words about how he and his family are dealing with his coronavirus diagnosis and their ongoing quarantine.