Published: May 17, 2021
Meet Jacob & His Family: #BSFBeatCOVID19
Meet Jacob. He’s a 16-year-old military kid. Like so many, Jacob and his family have had a hard year adjusting to the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Especially when it came to school, the switch to virtual learning proved to be very difficult. “Like most military families, the new virtual learning was the most challenging,” Jacob’s mom, Staci, shared. “I was worried about whether my kids could keep up. Both of my kids went from being A/B students to getting their first failing grades. As a parent, I was overwhelmed and afraid that I was failing them everyday.”
Staci is definitely not alone in battling concerns and stress while dealing with the ramifications of the pandemic. In fact, 62% of active-duty spouse respondents to the 2020 Military Family Lifestyle Survey said COVID-19 had made their mental health worse or much worse. Jacob was experiencing the negative impacts of the pandemic, too. Being out of school for an entire year, he felt very isolated. He’s been back in school for a week now, and Staci shared he’s smiling more, his grades are up, and he’s made new friends.
While Staci and her husband were eager to have Jacob return to school for his mental well-being (and theirs, too), they still worry about his health and safety. That’s why, when California opened COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to anyone age 16 and older, they decided Jacob should receive the vaccine if he wanted. “While we know kids are less likely to get as sick as adults, we were not willing to take that chance,” Staci said. “If there is a vaccine that could help keep my kids safe, I’m happy to line up. My son was skeptical at first, he said he wanted to wait a little and do some of his own research. In the end, it was his decision.”
After doing his research, Jacob decided to get vaccinated. Staci says she will encourage her 13-year-old to do the same when the vaccine is approved for her age group. Ultimately, being able to get the vaccine has brought a major sense of relief to the family. Staci can now feel comfortable with her son returning to school in person, and Jacob can feel safe while returning to a more “normal” teenage life. As a family, they hope that through this crazy last year, everyone learns that we are stronger together and that together, we can find our way forward.
And that’s the goal of the #BSFBeatCOVID19 campaign. Together with our Blue Star Partners, we’re arming our military community–service members, families, veterans, leaders, organizations, and supporters–with information to make informed decisions about the vaccine. We’re doing this by removing barriers and improving access to the information needed to protect everyone against the virus.
Join us at bluestarfam.org/beatcovid19, and follow along on social media with the hashtag #BSFBeatCOVID19.