First Year of Quarantine

Quarantine: a long weekend that seemingly never ends. A full year has already gone by since the beginning of this unusual period and many abnormal events have occurred. So, how have people been managing during quarantine? What have they been up to? How did they cope with everything that’s been going on? How has school been going for students and teachers? Let us dive in and see what people have to say about the last year.

Considering that the literal definition of quarantine is “staying indoors,” how have teachers been going about the year teaching online? Mr. Angelo D’Orio, coach and teacher, commented that “with remote learning, I like that I have a platform to deliver content in a more effective manner as opposed to 47 students in a loud gym.” To be honest, that seems pretty nice especially with the fact that each teacher can have more one-on-one time with students. However, every teacher did approach online learning differently. Mrs. Tracy Balhan, Spanish teacher, said that “I missed, and still miss, seeing all my students’ faces and having an entire classroom full of energy!” True, seeing people in person does seem easier for teaching and building relationships with students. Mr. Matthew Carey, history teacher, agreed, “Starting remote learning, then going back and forth between hybrid, and now, apparently, going to the regular full-time schedule… it makes my head spin!” Schedules during the pandemic seem to be a roller coaster ride; going so fast that you can’t keep up with what’s coming and what’s going.

How about the students? How have they been dealing with e-learning?  Miguel Miranda, ‘24, explained that, “I can describe online learning in three words: isolated, digital, and new. School seemed more stressful towards the beginning, it was a whole new environment for learning. However, it does seem a lot more open to the possibilities of what we can do when it comes to learning.” That is a great point. So many things for the last year have been digital that the possibilities for learning online are opening exponentially. On the other hand, some students prefer being in-person and being able to socialize with other students and teachers. Joshua Pierritz, ‘23, says “I enjoy being online but really want to get back into school to be able to socialize with others more because online learning is really going to make us antisocial.” Got to say, this is also a great point. Socializing with other people face-to-face really prepares students for public speaking or just speaking to people in general. Similarly, there are students who take middle-ground with e-learning.  Lily Lewandowski, ‘23, commented “I have mixed feelings about online classes. It’s very stressful at times because of the lack of motivation to do anything and the frustrating amount of screen time. But having half-days is nice, especially with breaks in between classes. One thing I think that is going to be stressful for a lot of people is going back to school for 5 days a week for a full day.” Having classes online has proven stressful for lots of students, especially with longer classes and lots of distractions. But breaks in between classes are really nice.

Quarantine has shut down so many fun activities, so what did people start doing for fun? Natelli Herrera, ‘23, commented that “During quarantine, I learned how to ride a motorcycle! My grandpa lives on a lake in Wisconsin and taught me how to ride so I could get my license.” Woah! That seems like a very thrilling way to spend time with grandparents during this pandemic. Mrs. Tracy Balhan did something quite different over the course of the pandemic. She said that, “Over quarantine, me and my family did a chopped challenge, just like the TV show. We gave each other ingredients and then had to cook dinner using them. Afterwards, we would judge on taste and presentation.” This sounds like a really fun and unique way to spend time with family. Although, if you have no clue how to cook, this could go downhill very quickly.

Every person in the world copes differently with each situation presented, so it’s only natural that every person had different difficulties during COVID-19. Julie Paska, ‘21, commented that “When the new ‘virtual’ schedule started last year, I tried desperately to try to achieve a sense of normalcy. But by the time senior year hit, I realized that my existence was temporary, so why even bother trying to adjust? The whole situation just tore me apart!” Transitioning from being in-person- whether that be at school or work- to going online has been difficult for a lot of people. The commute to school/work turned into a commute to the kitchen. Megan Garcia, ‘24, had said that she had the most difficulty with time management: “It’s hard to balance life at home and school. At the beginning of the pandemic, I had to watch over one of my younger cousins while juggling my own schoolwork. It was time cEmionsuming and I never had time to finish my homework!” Schedules, time-management, school, family, work; those are some of the basics of what most people juggle in their everyday lives. Add switching from in-person to online plus taking care of younger family members or pets, stress levels for any person will rise. It almost seems like juggling chainsaws, can’t drop them because you might lose a hand, but if you don’t pay attention to each chainsaw being juggled you will most definitely be without a body part.

Everyone’s pandemic experiences are different. Some found it peaceful to spend time with themselves and family, others found it more stressful. One thing is probable, most people would probably rate quarantine one out of five stars, would definitely not recommend.