As the outbreak of the coronavirus slowly made its way to Lyons Township High School, many people did not fully understand its impact. At first COVID-19 seemed like some faraway myth based in China, nowhere near our perfect little bubble of serenity and normalcy.
But when Principal Brian Waterman announced that school would be based at home and online for a minimum of three weeks, reality hit. Everyone finally understood that COVID-19 was no joke and was affecting our lives on a personal level.
Personally, the news made my stomach drop. Not only was my last semester of high school being disrupted, but millions of people around the world were suffering and losing those they loved. A deadly, uncontrollable disease had spread globally, leaving myself and others feeling hopeless and devastated. Being locked up, away from those who brighten our days is easily one of the most painful and heartbreaking experiences I have ever had to go through. However, I’m willing to abide by the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines that will ensure COVID-19’s decline. Others simply are not, and I’m tired of it.
Certain practices such as social distancing, the six-feet rule and self-quarantining are strongly encouraged by the CDC and Johns Hopkins Medicine, among many other credible medical sources. All of these procedures seek to actively increase the physical space between people, stopping or slowing the spread of illness and germs. Although it may be disappointing to not be able to get close to your friends, hug and kiss those you love or, go to sporting events or parties, all of these measures must be taken. If we disobey these guidelines, the virus could continue to spread globally, inhibiting our normal routines and daily lives for months on end.
While in quarantine, I’ve noticed many kids posting pictures and videos of themselves with their friends. Though I sympathize with their need to see those they care about, it angers me greatly to see these people outwardly defy the six-feet rule and social distancing. These measures are enforced in order to prevent further damage and chaos created by the coronavirus. By actively breaking these guidelines, we are only extending the time needed to social distance and stay inside, ultimately hurting our chances at having a normal summer.
Another aspect many young kids tend to overlook is those who are at a greater risk for contracting COVID-19. The elderly, people with underlying health conditions, those with diabetes, etc. are at an increased risk for getting coronavirus and experiencing more intense symptoms. So, although these young, seemingly invincible teenage kids think “I’m young, I won’t die if I get it,” they still have the potential to carry the virus and spread it to those who are more vulnerable than themselves. It’s just plain selfish to ignore the responsibility each person has in deliberately slowing the coronavirus.
Even amidst all the memes and videos that poke fun at this pandemic, we need to take this seriously. The longer we ignore the real harm that can be inflicted as a result of our careless actions, the longer all of us will continue to suffer. So, do your part. Stay inside, stay six feet apart and take care of yourself and others.