By Ahmat Djouma
COVID-19 has presented difficulties to everyone, particularly those of us with vision impairment. During the second semester of my senior year of college, everything closed down and everyone was talking about social distancing, the pandemic and other new and challenging restrictions. I was really worried about what this would mean for me in terms of navigating on campus. For example, I was concerned about whether people would be willing to help with the social distancing measures and how I work would with a human sighted guide during the pandemic. This issue changed, of course, when we were sent home at the beginning of the semester. I was fortunate to be able to return home and live with my family. An article on the Well + Good website, Quarantine Conditions Have Uniquely Impacted People with Vision Impairments–Here’s How, discusses the issues faced by those who are vision impaired. For example, following social distancing markers that are only visible to the human eye, with no textured marks, may present challenges when shopping at stores. Also, transportation became more challenging. If you have depended on reliable public transportation, crowded conditions have made that more unsafe during the pandemic. And fewer drivers have been available for many of the rideshare services, making these services more unreliable. At the same time that these challenges escalated, however, more virtual events occurred, making some resources more accessible to those who are unable to travel. In that way, opportunities emerged during a very difficult period – creating new ways to engage and participate in activities that will likely continue even as the pandemic wanes.