It is that time of the century, about twenty years in, for our regularly scheduled once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic. A pandemic is a disease or illness that spreads around the world In many cases, like COVID-19, the pandemic can be quite deadly if nothing is done about it. For the past 7-8 months, much of the United States has been in various stages of lockdown to prevent COVID-19 from spreading and harming any more people. But now many schools are beginning to reopen to help kids still get the best education possible despite the pandemic. Let’s talk about that.
I attend high school in Union County, North Carolina. They made the decision to allow kids to go to school one day a week. The school was split into fourths based on last name, and a certain amount of kids attend school on one day each Monday through Thursday, with Friday being a student-teacher workday. My last name being Sunris, towards the end of the alphabet, I attended school on Thursdays. Obviously, with less kids in the building, putting us in smaller groups like this made it easier to social distance.
My brother drives us to school and we are able to park in the teacher parking lot to make it more accessible for me. We walk up to the doors and either my assistant or the school nurse takes our temperatures and asks us questions about any symptoms or possible exposure to the virus. From there we walk into school and head straight to our classes.
There is tape that helped mark the flow of the hallways, and where we can or can’t sit. Arrows tell us which side of the hallway to walk on if we are going in a particular direction, and tables in the café were pushed together to help people talk to one another but still social distance. Desks in classrooms are marked and cleaned between classes, doors are cleaned all the time, and lunch tables are cleaned between lunch sessions. All in all, our school is doing the best they could to keep us students safe.
During the days when I don’t attend school, I get up a little later, get in some comfy clothes, and go to my PC to attend my online lectures. The kids at home follow the same schedule as the kids at school, just with a little more leeway. I personally prefer being able to stay home as I have more time to stretch, eat, and get my work done before the school day is over, so I have more free time and study time.
Now, because of my disability, I am at higher risk of COVID-19 impacting me more severely than the average person. This means that I am quite scared to go in public, and especially school. I don’t know if the teachers truly are cleaning desks between classes, and the indoor air circulation is also quite worrying. I would prefer to stay home full-time, but I also need to get out of the house to work my body and not get any weaker. It is the balance of “Get out and about” and “Staying safe from the virus.”
For me personally, staying home has been quite taxing on my mental health, even though I have stayed in a good enough headspace to focus in school. Every time I feel slightly sick, I worry that I got COVID, and it sends me into a never-ending cycle of “Do I have it? Am I going to be okay?” But, thankfully, I have been able to remain hopeful and calm thanks to the internet and being able to stay in contact with my fellow nerd friends. Watching anime, movies, tv shows, and playing video games with them has eased my mind a lot.
I highly recommend that you do try to get out of the house every once in a while, following as many precautions as you see fit. We need to remain active and work our bodies as much as we can, but we also need to not catch this virus and spread it to others. Wear a mask, use your own hand sanitizer, bring your own wipes, do whatever makes you comfortable enough to go out, but still stay safe--for yourself and for the people around you.