CHELMSFORD — In the Middlesex County alone, there's been almost 40,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19, while there's another large number of people who didn't test positive but certainly were either asymptomatic, or have had some kind of symptoms of the virus.
Here in Tewksbury, especially lately, there's been a high number of cases with several local athletes becoming exposed, while Jordan Buckland, the varsity field hockey coach, made her return to the field last Saturday after sitting out in quarantine the previous 14 days.
“I was exposed to (COVID-19) but I tested negative,” said Buckland, who is a physical education teacher at Wilmington High School. “I was sick almost the whole time so whether it was a cold or whatever, I'm glad that I had that time to try to recuperate.”
She was exposed while at the high school working. She was asked about her 14 days in quarantine.
“The first five or six days I was fine. I was taking it as this is just a mini-vacation for me but thankfully I can work from home. My house was immaculate because I wasn't doing anything else, but then the last six or seven days or so I was going from my bed to the couch and from the couch to my bed. I obviously couldn't leave the house, but I was able to pull out the laptop to stay involved with my students and that was about it. I was pretty miserable. I had a lot of chest congestion stuff, I was dizzy and nauseous.
“Again I was happy that I tested negative, so not sure if I just had a really bad normal chest cold, but I had symptoms of COVID-19. I got tested twice. Thankfully my husband was fine and I had a lot of people who made sure that my life could run as normal as possible.”
Back in May, WHS Assistant Field Hockey coach Laura Conners was positive for the virus. A nurse, Conners was exposed through her work, and she said that the second half of her quarantine, it was pretty difficult for her to breathe.
“I have asthma and pretty rough fall allergies,” said Buckland. “There was that rational part of my brain that told me that I feel like this every October and November because when I would get colds during this time before, I would really put me down. Then there was a part of me knowing that I was exposed at school and the way that I was feeling, I just knew that I had to pay more attention to it.”
While Buckland was at home, volunteer coach Tori Schille, who was one of the team's captains last year, took over and did a phenomenal job, including seeing the team win two of three games.
“I was very lucky that I had Tori this year and because of her, I was not nervous to be out at all,” said Buckland. “Knowing that she was with the team, I was just very thankful and I think that says a lot about the girls too because just last year Tori was their teammate. To know that they were willing to look to her as a coach and as a leader, I was so proud of them. I would get text messages here and there so I still felt like I was involved, but I knew that the team was in good hands with Tori.”
Buckland made it back for the team's last three games, a pair of losses to Central Catholic and another to Chelmsford on Friday.
“I got cleared last Saturday as coach and got back to work on Monday,” she said. “Since I have been back in public with field hockey and (as a) dance (instructor), I said to the kids that I know that we all have been trying our hardest, but now knowing that I was exposed and wasn't feeling good, I want to make sure that I am extra picky about it. I don't want the girls near me and if they need a mask break, to go somewhere and take one. I definitely re-upped my worry factor.”