Life in the Time of Corona: Our Stories

We’re all in isolation, but we don’t have to be isolated. Here are some of SHA’s stories to share.

Pretty image, nasty virus.

Pretty image, nasty virus.

THE “boomer remover virus.” Tik Tok,  Instagram, and Twitter’s biggest trends were coronavirus memes for weeks. We all scrolled through our screens and laughed at this slowly growing pandemic. I participated in joking about the virus on more than one occasion. 

The first time I looked up the statistics, Massachusetts had about 200 cases and fewer than 10 deaths, but every morning I’d wake up to notifications from different news outlets reporting a significantly large number of new cases and deaths just in this state. The numbers kept going up at an alarming rate. My dad and I were driving to the grocery store one morning, and the routinely busy streets were the quietest they’ve ever been. Everything became more legitimate to me. 

The minute I became aware of the severity of COVID-19, I started getting worried for my loved ones. I live in a large household that includes five children under the age of 12, three of whom have immunity issues. Three adults in my house are required to work out of state regardless of quarantines and lockdowns. They manufacture medical equipment used effectively in treating COVID-19 itself. Out of all of us, they have the highest chance of contracting the virus and then spreading it to the rest of the household.

Everything around me feels so chaotic, yet we are all trying to be the most normal that we can be. At the end of each day, we are all meant to be survivors. We are meant to go on surviving many times before we can give up. I’m not much of a religious person, but I find myself praying for every family, every kid, everybody. I pray that COVID-19 does not harm them or their loved ones in any way and that they all make it through with a really epic story to tell. — Namrata Darjee

WHEN I first heard that schools were closing there was a feeling I couldn’t quite identify. It wasn’t really a relief that there was less school, but it wasn’t really a worry about what was going to happen either. I thought that it would just be a short break and then go back to school and make it to the summer. Then as the break was closing, there was an announcement. I have to stay home another month. At that point, I was able to identify my feelings. I was worried about how much time I would have to spend away from school. 

But also in a very strange way, I felt happy. I mean, to me this is the most time I’ve spent with my family in years. No one was “too busy” or “too tired;” we all just had each other’s company. At some points, I actually thought about taking a nap, even when I’ve done nothing but lie down in an empty room. Just me and my thoughts. I know that this is a serious emergency and it might sound like I’m being selfish and wasting time, but just because there are people suffering and scared doesn’t mean we all have to lose hope. I want to give those people a world that they can just take one look at and see that their friends and family are gonna be okay while they can’t see each other. While we’re all stuck inside I want to make the most out of our stay at home lives. I’ve actually taken the time to start learning things that I usually didn’t have the time for, such as a new language, and I’ve started drawing in a sketchbook. I wouldn’t describe my situation as ideal for other people, but for me it’s the best I got. I hope that whoever is reading this received something from my little story and is doing the best they can. Remember our motto “Vestri Optimus Pro Mundo.”— Amber Montero

WHEN schools shut down temporarily I was a little shocked; there was some talk of that happening but I didn’t think that it would actually happen. After that I kept looking out for emails of what our teachers would do during the shutdown and for the first couple weeks it was just stay at home, do some schoolwork, eat, sleep, finding stuff to do in my spare time.  I didn’t think much about what was happening outside of my house. 

Then I went to my mom’s house like I usually do every other weekend. My mom told me to wash my hands for 20 seconds right when I got to her house, so I did. It was a normal weekend until Sunday. My mother said that the self-isolating had to be taken more seriously so no babysitting for my little brother and sister from the grandparents and that I wasn’t coming over to her house anymore until self-isolating was over. See, my mom is a nurse and takes care of elderly people and as we all know, elderly people have a greater chance of dying from COVID-19. She told me that five of her co-workers are being tested for COVID-19 and that two of my aunts are hospitalized due to COVID-19 and that really put things into perspective for me. If I stay home, I’m protecting myself and others from getting the virus, by eating less food so we go outside less we are also protecting us and others. 

Most of my peers think, “The virus won’t kill me, so it’s fine, it only kills old people.” Most of them don’t realize that if they have the virus, then give it to an old person, that old person can be a grandparent to a caring family.  Social distancing needs to be taken seriously, not just for yourself, but for others. We can afford a few weeks of slight boredom if it means stopping a virus that can kill many. Three percent of 7.5 billion people is still over 200 million people that could be dead. — Matthew Chigos

I WISH I was in school. At home, I’m lacking the motivation to do work, school work, housework. There’s a better way to spend my time but I don’t know what or when. Sunny days feel bright and hopeful, I’m grateful for them. The best thing to come of this time of quarantine is the time I’ve been spending with my family. I feel safe and hopeful when I’m with my mom, dad, and brother. Home-cooked meals every day is truly a blessing. I try not to think about the future too much, I think about today. What can I do today? What do I want to do today? I hope we are all doing well and that this dark time will be soon over. — Yuki Li

I would be lying if I said I took this seriously when I first heard of the Coronavirus or “COVID-19” in Wuhan, China. I thought, “Well hey! It’s all the way in China, what is there to worry about?” And once again I would be lying if I said I took it seriously when it hit other countries including the United States.

 I now look at the maps of where cases are in the United States and see this…

Notice how most of the cases are currently near or in the New England region? Yeah, I noticed too. I look at this map and it makes me sick to my stomach, and I wonder why I didn’t take this seriously when it was first announced. Why didn’t I take it seriously when it hit the United States? I was too busy celebrating no school, I was too busy sharing memes on Instagram about how “funny” it was, too busy making plans not knowing they were going to close everything from malls, to amusement parks, and other jobs. Now that we are all in self-quarantine, I cannot stress enough about how serious the coronavirus is. 

At first, I couldn’t have been happier:  no school, no work, no need to stress over school getting in the way of my plans. Then they closed everything, even then I still thought, “I like being home anyway, It’s no big deal.”

Being home for about two weeks or so, with nobody to talk to besides my parents and other family members gets draining. I have my laptop, my phone, my TV, books, and drawing supplies, but eventually, you do them all and you feel as if you have nothing to do. My dad told me multiple times this would happen, and I didn’t want to accept it. Now that it has finally happened, this whole quarantine and the coronavirus, in general, has become so real. I used to think of school as a jail, as a “force.” During this time, I see quarantine as a jail. I transition from my dad’s house to my aunt’s, to my mom’s, but even then it feels as if I’m trapped in this hole. 

Not being able to see my friends makes it harder, I went to school looking forward to seeing all of them, making jokes at our table. Now that I haven’t seen my best friend for two or three weeks, it feels like I’m lonely. I never felt like this out of school, and I know it’s because of now having this rule that I can’t go out, makes me want to go even more. Even though I’ve been having my moments of stress and isolation, I’m also having my good times.

I’ve been slacking with my reading ever since I have become a freshman in this school due to the amount of work I get and not having time to sit down and read. I still have work, but now that I have less I can finally sit down and read in my corner for as long as I want. I finished a whole book in the past two weeks and have now started a new one. Reading used to be a big part of me, and now that I have the time again I feel as if it has become a part of me once again. 

Taking care of myself has also become a big portion of my routine. Doing my facemask, lighting my favorite candles, reading in my corner, and drawing is something I do almost every day now. So that is one healthy impact of this quarantine. Yes, I sometimes feel isolated but at the same time to alone time, the “me” time has been good for me. 

Checking up on my family is something that has become very important to me too. Just hearing over the phone that my grandmother or grandfather is okay, is enough for me. Knowing that the elderly can get affected worse, brings my anxiety to another level and constantly checking in helps me. Most of my family besides my Mom and Dad aren’t really taking this situation seriously, and trying to educate them on it is very hard. I know I am not the smartest out there, but I try my hardest to give them every piece of information I’ve got. 

So to come to a conclusion, I’ve been having mixed emotions on this Quarantine. Some days I like the alone time to watch my shows, read, and take my 50th nap of the day, but other days the isolation can be too much, and missing my friends and family takes over my emotions. Every day I try my hardest to sit down and read the updates on the coronavirus. Although sometimes I feel as if it’s better to just give up and stop caring, I have hope most of the time and that keeps me going. There’s a rush inside me that keeps me going through my toughest times and that’s not going to change during this quarantine.  —Tatianna Rodriguez

AT  THIS moment we are all experiencing a difficult time with the Coronavirus or COVID-19. We are not under quarantine but we don’t know what is going to happen. All of our schools are shut until May 4, but some people think we will be closed for the remainder of the school year. Some people’s jobs have been shut down because of this COVID-19 outbreak, but there are still some “essential” workers that have to go out and go to work and risk themselves being exposed to the virus.

There are now 4,955 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in Massachusetts and 48 deaths. Some places like Florida are making people quarantine themselves for 14 days in they are flying in from Connecticut and I’m pretty sure anywhere else. People’s flights and cruises are being canceled because of what’s going on and Governor Baker of Massachusetts is asking people to self-quarantine themselves if they are coming from the Connecticut border, but one thing that is hard is the essential workers that might live in Springfield and have to go to Connecticut to work.

I personally don’t know anyone that is infected with the virus but there are a lot of cases confirmed and death tolls are rising. My family and I are being very cautious about this and are staying indoors unless we need to go out for things like food. I recommend staying in for your health along with the health of others. — Dyamond Downes

THE quarantine has not only affected my schedule but made the past two weeks unbalanced. I’m unable to sleep, work efficiently, and maintain focus. All of my focus seems to be attracted to the outdoors like it’s craving to feel the sunlight hit my skin or the sound of grass flowing naturally through the wind. Sure, I can kill time by binge-watching anime or screaming at squirrels through my window, but what do I gain from that? 

As I view the bright, vivid sky, my eyes are scrolling down, and that’s when I realized there are PEOPLE still walking. Wanting to stay home is different from being forced to stay home, however you’re forced for a reason. We’ve all heard of “safety comes first,” but why are people deciding to exercise OUTSIDE now? You could’ve done that two weeks ago before the government declared a quarantine. And for the sake of our toilets and hygiene, STOP BUYING ALL THE DARN TOILET PAPER. I’ve realized how dense and ignorant some people can be. What if you run out of food or drinks. Imagine just sitting in a pile of toilet paper and flexing how much you’ve bought, as you post through Instagram. Behind that photo is a hungry, thirsty soul. Other people need those materials too, so if they have no toilet paper, blame it on the kid sitting on a pile of toilet paper. 

As an Asian, I’ve faced racism through the internet. One of the best quotes in response I’ve heard was:

Person 1: “It is the Chinese disease. It came from China.”

Person 2: “You came out of your mom’s womb but we still call you Julian.”

Well, anyways, the quarantine made me realize what kind of world we live in, and how much I’ve taken certain things for granted. –Sheila Nguyen

I’M 15 years old. I turn 16 in August, and I’ll admit that at first, I thought the virus doesn’t affect me, my friends, family or anyone who I care about so what’s the point? I’ll admit that my thinking stayed like this before I left for North Carolina. That was when I found out my uncle has this virus. That really scared me because it was in my family. Again, I’ll admit that even after this I took the virus seriously but not as seriously as I should’ve. I was upset because like I said I’m turning 16 soon and I thought that this would ruin my birthday plans.

But I quickly saw that things were more serious than me not having a birthday party when I got down to North Carolina. I would watch the news with my grandma and the death rate number just climbed and the malls were closing and I couldn’t even see my sister give birth because only two people were allowed in the room. That hurt me a lot, and then the absence from school got extended and I’m one of the weird kids who like school so that upset me as well. I’m back in Springfield now and I just heard that a baby died from the virus and that really shook my soul because I have a brand new niece. This virus has really hit me in ways that I never thought it would or could. So please everyone stay indoors. It’s really easy. — Destiny Champion

I DIDN’T even know what a pandemic was until a few weeks ago. I didn’t know that something that I was completely clueless about would cause me to be separated from my school family and some of my other family members. I’ve received more emails these past few weeks than I ever have and every email is just a constant reminder that the Coronavirus is a real thing and it is not to be taken lightly. 

I have to be honest and say that social distancing isn’t very hard for me since I can still communicate with my close friends via technology, but the idea of physically being away from them for more than a month upsets me. It also upsets me when I think about events such as AP testing, MCAS, and finals because I have no idea when or how those events are going to happen, let alone the preparation for them. I like to be in control of my learning and testing and this pandemic does not allow me to be in control of anything except for how much hand sanitizer I use in one day.

It’s difficult being stuck in a house all day and all week long but I somehow manage to not get bored. I sometimes worry about my parents going out and working while this virus is going around but my faith keeps me grounded. I really can’t wait to see how America is going to bounce back after this pandemic dies down. — Ashley Judkins

I’M ONLY 15, I can’t be affected by the coronavirus. There are only 39 confirmed cases of the virus at Baystate Hospital; that’s no big deal. No one in Springfield Honors Academy has gotten it so what’s all the fuss about?

These are all statements and questions that have run through my mind in the past four weeks. My views on this matter have since changed. I work at a retirement home in Agawam, and we recently found out that there has been one confirmed case in our community. When I got the news, everything felt more real to me. I was now a possible carrier of the virus and because of that so was my entire family. The resident who was affected is very close to me, and the elderly are very susceptible to severe complications from this disease.

Many people see this time of isolation as a time to hang out with friends and treat it like a vacation. The precautions that the government is taking is for our health and the health of others not for students to have three weeks to link up. I myself was bummed out to find out that during these three weeks I would be stuck inside instead of out with friends (especially with such beautiful weather).

However, seeing first hand how people close to me could be affected has changed my views. Many may think “It only affects the elderly so we have nothing to worry about.” Well, the elders in my retirement community are very close to my heart and I value their health and safety.

So please, students of Springfield Honors Academy, stay home, stay safe, and have compassion.  — Caitlyn Gibb 

STRANDED at home with constant emails reminding me how I got here, this is my reality for the next three weeks. While trying to keep up with school work, I’m constantly thinking about the repercussions of this long quarantine. Coronavirus hasn’t impact me directly other than making me nervous for the rest of Quarter 3 and Quarter 4. 

Springfield Public Schools has reported that the last day of school will be June 19 regardless of how long students are out of school. This is both good and worrying news. It’s good because students don’t lose any of their summer vacation. However, this brings into question how and when Quarter 3 will end, along with SAT, MCAS, and AP exam dates. While none of this is a student’s concern for the time being, it could become a big issue when we get back. 

The last concern on my mind is the possibility of schools not opening back up until the next school year. Though this has a slim chance of happening, it’s still a possibility. Considering my next school year will be senior year, I personally don’t want to play catch-up while sorting out college plans and scholarships. With all this being said I just hope that the faculty and staff at Springfield Public School have a plan for the following months that won’t drown the students in make-up work and stress. — Jonice McCalla

Here is a video post from Dominic Bruce-Moore

Dominic Bruce-Moore