WE SPOKE WITH WISN ANCHOR Toya Washington about how she’s coping right now. She’s working to cover the virus’ spread in Milwaukee, while also teaching her two kids now that schools are closed.
How has the coronavirus crisis changed the way you work at WISN?
We are on a silo schedule, so there are two groups. Group 1 is in the building for two days a week, while group 2 is out in the field. Then mid-week, it flip-flops. This week, I was in-house Monday and Tuesday, in the studio with Patrick [Paolantonio], while Joyce [Garbaciak] and some field crews are out. Now it flip-flops. Wednesday through Friday this week, Patrick and I are on remote, while Joyce is in house. Today, I’m working from home, attending our normal editorial meeting virtually at two o’clock, get my assignment and then report live. Which is slightly refreshing. I wish it was under different circumstances, but it’s nice just because it’s not what I normally get to do. I’m trying to embrace it
What’s it been like covering such a major event in Milwaukee?
Exhausting. The virus obviously has taken on a life of its own, but so has political battle mixed in. It’s difficult to maintain a level of sanity when you hear so many things all over the board – from the furthest right you can get to the furthest left you can get. And our job is basically just to report the facts. That’s the approach for local journalism. But obviously, we all have our own lives, and it becomes a challenge. I don’t engage in that conversation outside of work. Period. Now the rule is don’t talk politics, religion, or coronavirus.
How have you been spending your time at home?
A lot more cooking has been going on in our house, which I am thrilled about. Sometimes that too gets exhausting, especially when you have a ten-year-old and a thirteen-year-old. I won’t name names but one of them is a little pickier than the other. As a working mom, who has kids who that are active after school – they play basketball, they play soccer – since that’s all on hold, there’s time to sit down and have meals together and time for me to cook those meals. That’s been really nice for me.
How has virtual teaching gone?
That has been a bit of a challenge. For our kids, we’re fortunate that our school has a Chromebook for one and a Macbook for the other, so they can simultaneously work while my husband and I are working from home. The struggle has been that their days seem really short. Today, they were done by eleven o’clock. At that point I’ve just wrapped up the housework for the morning, cleaning up for breakfast, starting dinner, doing laundry, and then all of a sudden, we’re looking at each other like, ‘What are we gonna do now?’ because I have to start getting ready for work. So the challenge has been trying to supplement, to make sure my kids aren’t just sitting staring at an iPad while my husband and I have to work.
What is the first thing you want to do when things get back to normal?
I’m going to be slow to jump into anything at this point. I just want to see how it plays out. The one thing I would say is I need a facial like nobody’s business. My skin has decided to go crazy. So if I one hundred percent didn’t have to worry about a darn thing, that’s what I would do.