I was in a Student Union meeting when we got the all-call on March 13, 2020. From one class period to another, everything changed and we didn’t realize it yet.
We were given packets and rushed out the door. We all left, certain that we’ll return after two weeks. COVID-19 felt so distant, so foreign. It felt like it could never affect us. We would still have our fun trips and our graduation. We spent nine years of work in hopes of receiving a piece of paper, a diploma, handed to us as a ticket to the new frontier. And in front of our friends and family.
While we stay at home and continue our education through Loom and Google Classroom in the comforts of our home, many families do not have a place to seek refuge.
At first, online learning was very fun. We got to do schoolwork whenever we wanted, in our pajamas, in the comforts of our home. But after two weeks, much of the 8th grade was not enjoying learning at home. It is very uncomfortable to be out of routine and distanced from friends. It really made us think about how we took school for granted. It made us reflect on our experiences and made us realize that they weren’t as bad as we thought.
We have all of our classes, even physical education, on Google Classroom where we get assignments. We also use “Loom,” a platform that our teachers use to give us instructions through video that we can playback.
I work at my desk, with a schedule where I start working at 8 am and stop working at 2 pm. I try my best to stay connected with my friends but it is very difficult as learning at home is more stressful and challenging than working at school, where you have a support network for questions and help with schoolwork. As I write this, it’s been three weeks since the quarantine. It seems like it will never end. In reality, no one knows what they’re doing which is very terrifying.
However, we are the lucky ones: while we stay at home and continue our education through Loom and Google Classroom in the comforts of our home, many families do not have a place to seek refuge. Or in places like Ecuador, bodies are piling up on the streets as their healthcare system is on the verge of collapse.
We will never forget this pandemic, and we will never forget the lies that we have been told before it.
My fellow 8th graders and I are grateful to our educators, health-care workers, pharmacists, grocery store clerks, policemen, restaurant workers, and many others. But, we are also very angry, angry that we have been lied to for our entire lives. That there isn’t enough money to be put into our schools, our healthcare, green energy, social services, into our communities, but enough money to be lent to big corporations and billionaires.
While people are dying in hospitals, while people struggle to pay their bills and rents, our politicians in Washington used insider information to sell stocks before the market crashed. We’re angry that our health-care workers, restaurant workers, grocery store clerks, and many others did not get the same respect before as we see now.
We stay at home and take pride in protecting our community. It’s the least that we can do. I think I speak for most of the 8th grade when I say that we will never forget this pandemic, and we will never forget the lies that we have been told before it.
The Coronavirus Pandemic has radically changed our lives, and will possibly alter how society functions in the future. We miss our school, our teachers, our friends, and we desperately hope that everything returns to normal so that we can see each other again, but more importantly, seek justice.