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Bend families adopt new routines amid business, school closures

C. Oregonians work to create a new normal in rapidly changing times

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- With schools and many businesses closed indefinitely, many Central Oregonians are adapting new lifestyles for work and home life -- and a new mix of both.

Bend mother Jennifer Sweeny is now home with her four children. She worked part-time at Laughing Planet, and is a tennis coach for Mountain View High School, but now that both of her jobs are in limbo, she's trying to keep her kids both educated and entertained.

Her husband is a 911 dispatcher, so Sweeny says she's grateful they've been able to manage financially. She has her children doing workbooks and educational activities during this time, but she says it's hard for her to create a plan and stick to it.

Her daughters' teachers have implemented activities on Zoom and through other online resources, but she's also trying to manage how much time her kids spend online. During this time, Sweeny has been helping share resources with other families who are struggling.

"It is affecting a lot of people, a lot harder," Sweeny said. "Just trying to use this time as an opportunity to know how you can give or reach out to those who are hurting. We strongly believe in staying connected to our community, and our neighbors. So just trying to meet their needs and make sure everyone's got everything they need."

While the Sweenys are managing financially, another Bend woman is having a more difficult time staying afloat after her three jobs closed down.

Alexi Rhodes works in hospitality for both the Sunriver Resort and The Riverhouse on the Deschutes Convention Center. She's also a yoga instructor for Namaspa Yoga and Massage.

"It feels like a huge pause for humanity."

--Alexi Rhodes

Rhodes says work at the resort usually picks up around this time, but she did not expect to be filing for unemployment because of her jobs closing. Despite not knowing how long businesses will be closed, it's forcing people to evaluate what's most important in life.

"It feels like a huge pause for humanity," Rhodes said. "We kind of had to step back and really evaluate whats important to us, as far as friends, family and having a roof over our head. A place that we can call home, a place we can call safe. I think with all the responses of love and compassion that I've seen and witnessed over the past week, 2 1/2, it's been making me feel real optimistic."

Rhodes said she saved a little to get her by right now, but she's hopping she'll be able to return to work before her rainy-day savings run out.

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Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.


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