Safety during a pandemic: Through the eyes of HS students


Samika Varma and Maya Anandan

From enforced lockdowns to losing jobs, lives, and loved ones, these past nine months have been traumatizing– to say the least. One cannot stress enough how difficult it has been for communities around the world to survive and thrive through these unprecedented times. Because of the pandemic, students have been stripped of their social lives, upperclassmen deprived of their privileges, teachers overwhelmed and overworked by unexpected conditions, and the rest of the world in complete shock of how quickly things escalated. Our normal lives vanished in a split second, and we didn’t have enough time to say goodbye. Although health guidelines continue to change alongside our fluctuating circumstances and situations, three things remain the same: wash your hands, wear a mask, and socially distance yourself from others.

As tempting as it is to meet our friends, we must remain patient in our homes. We cannot afford to increase the number of cases in this life-threatening pandemic. It seems that people have taken this pandemic and rebranded it into society as a norm, by which they justify their behaviour of going out as long as they have a mask to display in public areas to validate their actions. It is important to recognise that although we may not be directly affected, the risk remains. No one is susceptible or reassured of safety until there is an issued vaccination. As some students make their way onto campus, the vulnerability to the virus increases. Some families are putting themselves in danger for their children to get a proper but safe education and relying on the school to ensure that the precautions remain intact. Please take into consideration that if you are going to school and truly believe that you are safe and healthy, despite your whereabouts, think of these families and the hard work that went into reopening the school. Think of the consequences that not only the school will face, but our community. We interviewed two high school students: Driena Muca and Camila Sotomayor about their thoughts and personal concerns on COVID-19 and social distancing.

Camila Sotomayor, a sophomore:

“Personally, it hasn’t affected me as much, it’s affected more of my loved ones. For example, my sister’s senior year was ruined as well as her senior traditions and she wasn’t able to enjoy it as much.” Camila believes that we must social distance and avoid meeting friends so that we can overcome the virus as a society and enjoy our high school years to the fullest. She would like to do so with her friends and family. As she mentioned, Camila wants the best for her sister, who is now in college, since she and many others were deprived of their perks as seniors.

Interview of Driena Muca

The three questions we asked our interviewees were:

  1. How has COVID-19 affected you?

  2. What are some effects of not social distancing?

  3. How does not social distancing affect your learning and the learning of others at school?

These perspectives have shed light on the importance of social distancing as well as following necessary precautions to keep you, your family, and those around you safe. When you decide to meet your friends or attend a gathering, you must acknowledge the risk and consequences of doing so. The question you must ask yourself is, are you okay with the possibility of jeopardizing the health of your family, your friends and their families, your teachers and their families, and yourself?  Are you willing to sacrifice that for your desire to see others? As active members of our AES community, we have been given the responsibility of keeping one another safe. Keeping each other safe means that we follow the encouraged and implemented safety precautions and that we make the right decisions, especially when so many people are at risk.

As rapidly as things are changing, the utmost important thing we can do right now is to ensure the safety of ourselves and others. As people start to adapt to the virus, we forget that some are more vulnerable an than others. It takes the whole community’s effort to battle COVID, and making the decision that you may be healthy enough to indulge in activities such as partying is not something we can afford right now. It’s beyond understandable that we can’t keep living our lives like this, but it’s important that we realise we’re in the midst of a pandemic. Let’s not normalise it.