From cancelled college visits to catching up on hobbies or cuddling with pets, high school students in Redlands share responses to coronavirus, mass buying, and school closure.

By KELLY JOHNSTON

The coronavirus took the whole world by surprise in December 2019 when it first began in China. It slowly spread across the globe, and eventually made its way to the United States. 

In accordance with the Center for Disease Control’s recommendations and a unanimous decision by San Bernardino County School superintendents and representatives, on March 19  the Redlands Unified School District announced school closures until May 1, throwing students into a whirlpool of excitement, worry and stress.

Some students discussed feelings of anxiety over this extended break as it interferes with their studies, especially with regards to College Board advanced placement exams, which take place in May of each year. Student-athletes expressed devastation that their seasons have been cut short. Other students are unaware of how this virus may impact their extracurricular activities. 

“Our learning is more independent, so cast members have to take a lot more initiative.”

– Stephanie Smith, Citrus Valley High School senior

Citrus Valley High School senior Stephanie Smith and other cast members are required to rehearse for the upcoming school musical, The Little Mermaid, via video call. They must learn their choreography at home through videos. Smith said, “Our learning is more independent, so cast members have to take a lot more initiative.”

Citrus Valley student Stephanie Smith, the lead of The Little Mermaid, watched a choreography video to one of their songs. (Courtesy of Stephanie Smith)

There is a general feeling among students and staff that the virus has affected high school seniors the most drastically. Senior prom, scheduled trips to visit college campuses, and many other anticipated senior events are postponed or cancelled.

Citrus Valley senior Casey Copeland was going to visit Arizona over spring break as she was considering going to college there, but unfortunately, her tour got canceled. She said that this situation is hard because she is “trying to make a decision.” She wanted “to see the campus and surrounding area,” but she can’t.

Some students expressed a fear related to the virus. Citrus Valley senior Emily Kumpula said that the virus is “a bit scary” since there has been no other “pandemic since 1918,” but “the world keeps going on.”

Mass buying is viewed as ridiculous by some students. Citrus Valley junior Alexis Garcia said that in her opinion, the coronavirus “should be taken more seriously, but it is not worth mass panic buying.”

“In my opinion, I think people are overreacting with the hysterical buying, and I feel like racists are using it as an excuse to be openly xenophobic toward Asian countries. I feel people are overreacting with social distancing too, but we have social media, texting and video calls to make up for that.”

– Tala Otine, Citrus Valley High School senior

Citrus Valley senior Tala Otine shared her opinion on the issue. Otine said, “In my opinion, I think people are overreacting with the hysterical buying, and I feel like racists are using it as an excuse to be openly xenophobic toward Asian countries. I feel people are overreacting with social distancing too, but we have social media, texting and video calls to make up for that.”

Throughout the chaos, some students have been able to maintain an optimistic viewpoint. Citrus Valley senior Gabriella Lerma said, “I think the coronavirus has not only reminded us of what really carries essential value and importance in close proximity, but it also serves as motivation in practicing healthy habits daily. It’s a real eye-opener.”

Some students shared anxiety mixed with simple pleasures during this time. Citrus Valley junior Annie Huynh said the virus is “very scary, but also exciting.” It is exciting for her because she enjoys “eating ramen noodles and kimchi for every meal.”

“I think that even though there have been casualties from the virus, society is treating the virus like the plague when it’s not. I’m not worrying about the virus, but I am using the added break for playing more video games.”

– Sarah Haynes, Redlands East Valley High School junior

Still other students believe that the virus may not be as serious. Redlands East Valley High School junior Sarah Haynes said, “I think that even though there have been casualties from the virus, society is treating the virus like the plague when it’s not. I’m not worrying about the virus, but I am using the added break for playing more video games.”

Likewise, Citrus Valley senior Jamie-Lynn Rogers said that she feels like “people are overreacting to the virus.” She goes on to say that at this time, she “hates people more than the virus.” 

Many students are doing their part in practicing social distancing in order to slow the spread of the virus and shared the variety of ways in which they are spending their time off.

Jamie-Lynn Rogers spends her extra time off of school playing video games. (Courtesy of Jamie-Lynn Rogers)

Emily Kumpula spends her extra time off with her nose buried in a book; right now, she is reading Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. (Courtesy of Emily Kumpula)

Alexis Garcia took up crocheting as a new hobby during her time social distancing. (Courtesy of Alexis Garcia)

Some students, such as Gabriella Lerma and Annie Huynh, spend their extra time off of school playing with their dogs. (Courtesy of Gabriella Lerma and Annie Huynh)

Similarly, Citrus Valley junior Ashlyn Strickland said, “Spending time with my dog, Zala, has really helped me pass the time as we play and chill out together. She reminds me that we can still smile and have fun during this turmoil. She keeps me from being too serious and worrying all the time about the virus.” (Courtesy of Ashlyn Strickland)

Lea este artículo en español aquí: https://laplaza.press/2020/03/23/los-estudiantes-de-citrus-valley-comparten-respuestas-al-coronavirus/