Sarah Taylor and her son, “B,” sit with their dog Hagris at their home in Denton. Taylor is pursuing her master’s with Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College while B, who is 15, transferred to Fred Moore High School just before Denton ISD had to close its school buildings.

This article has been corrected to show B is Sarah Taylor's godson.

Sarah Taylor's classes were largely online long before COVID-19 began pushing classes to a similar format, but her trajectory isn't unaffected. 

Taylor is a master's student with Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana, where she's working on her degree in art therapy. With a few pivotal milestones unobtainable, she expects she'll graduate at least a semester late.

If she isn't able to take a course this summer, she'll likely have to wait until summer 2021 to finish up her degree.

Taylor said the stress added by the virus has thrown a wrench into her ordinarily meticulous approach to schoolwork. She has been a few days past deadline when turning in coursework, which she said is uncommon.

She had previously been able to pick up some work crafting beadwork on a ranch, but that job has dried up amid the virus outbreak. Her husband works at a mental health hospital, but she said he hasn't been able to work full time because fewer clients are coming through the door these days. He's managed to pick up extra work making grocery deliveries through DoorDash, Sarah Taylor said. 

Her 15-year-old godson, whom she asked be referred to only "B," has been struggling in his own way to wade through the global pandemic.

B had been a freshman at Denton High School until two days before Denton ISD went on spring break, when he transferred to Fred Moore High School.

He said moving from an ordinary high school experience into Fred Moore's alternative model just before schools went online has been stressful.

"Honestly, no, it's flat-out boring," he said. 

Despite that, he thinks his teachers are doing the right thing in a difficult time — he just wishes the virus had hit at a different time of year, when end-of-year exams aren't right around the corner. 

He said he can feel the tension building around him each day, "like a soda can basically being shaken up on the inside."

"Man, I would give anything to be around my friends right now," he said. 

The Taylors keep B on a fairly regimented schedule, which Sarah Taylor said he needs. She said her godson has an autism spectrum disorder, what used to be referred to as Asperger's syndrome. 

On top of that, B has Type 1 diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, evidence hasn't shown that diabetics are at a higher risk of infection from COVID-19, but they are at a higher risk of serious complications. 

"The problem people with diabetes face is primarily a problem of worse outcomes, not greater chance of contracting the virus," according to the association's website.

That means his dad has to shower and disinfect before he can hug his wife or godson when he gets home each day. 

Until the current crisis forced many of us behind closed doors, Sarah Taylor had been making two trips a week to The Art Station, a Fort Worth nonprofit that offers art therapy to individuals and in group settings. 

Once she finishes her degree, Taylor said she'd like to return to the nonprofit to complete the roughly 3,000 internship hours required to become fully licensed. She said she hopes to eventually run group sessions for parents sorting through their emotions after a miscarriage, stillbirth or death of their infant. 

Taylor said it's a taboo subject that many women feel they aren't supposed to talk about and that many men think they can ignore it altogether. 

She said she was drawn to the subject after experiencing a stillbirth in 2010 when she was 36 weeks pregnant. Several years later, she had a miscarriage. 

"I was struggling with basic daily skills," Taylor said of that time in her life.

Around then, her mother came by with art supplies asking if she could make use of them. 

"I started creating, and the more I created, the more I came back to myself," Sarah Taylor said. 

MARSHALL REID can be reached at 940-566-6862 and via Twitter at @MarshallKReid.

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