Students and teachers stay safe and busy under quarantine

As the COVID-19 virus spreads across the nation, the government is urging people to stay indoors and only to leave their homes for necessities. In Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp has shut down schools until April 24, thus leaving students and teachers to complete their studies and teaching online in the safety of their homes. Both students and teachers must now choose how to spend their extra free time and determine the best ways to stay safe in the coming weeks.  

Many students are partaking in social distancing and doing their part to keep those around them safe healthy. Junior Emma Argo feels like the risk of going outside is too much for her and her family.  

“I think it’s important that we [demonstrate social distancing] because young people spread the virus, and I have an immune challenged man with COPD in my house, and my mom just recovered from bronchitis,” Argo said. “I don’t want to risk even the smallest chance of them contracting the disease from me.” 

With two weeks already completed, students are beginning to fall into a routine with their new home-bound schedules. Senior Chad Morrow has a set plan for the day even if it is not his first choice.  

“Each morning I get up, eat breakfast, then I do my classwork,” Morrow said. “[However,] I prefer physically going to school because I learn better that way.” 

Teachers are also falling into the new online routine, such as Human Anatomy and Physiology teacher Tracy Strange who is finding that this new way of learning is a double-edged sword. 

“I don’t have to get up as early, so that is nice—I like that. I still get up at 6am, have breakfast, feed the dog, get dressed and go to work,” Strange said. “What I don’t love is sitting in front of a computer all day. I miss my students. I miss watching you guys learn and the questions you ask and your enthusiasm. I miss our interaction together; for teachers, that’s what [it] is all about, and teaching digitally you just don’t get the interaction.” 

While it is important to stay inside, it also may be difficult to stay cooped up in the house all day. Luckily, students have figured a way to combat the boredom and fill their time.  

“I’ve been playing video games and Facetiming my girlfriend,” Morrow said. “I only leave the house for fresh air and for important things like grocery shopping.” 

With all the extra free time, students are also finding ways to relearn old tricks and some new ones too.  

“I used to be in soccer when I was little, so during my free time, I kick a soccer ball around to try and relearn all the tricks I used to know,” Argo said. “I am also using the time to learn how to paint. I’ve always wanted to, and I got some materials for Christmas, so I’ve been working on improving that skill these last few days.” 

In the dawn of spring, it may seem very difficult to adhere to the rules and guidelines of social distancing set up by the government; however, it is an important reminder of how crucial it is to solving this crisis.  

“Please do your part with social distancing. I fear that the news provides some comfort to most people and they think they won’t die from the virus, so they don’t worry about it, but that isn’t the whole story,” Strange said. “Many people do indeed survive, but they need hospital support to do so. When the hospitals become overrun with people who need support to survive, the hospitals will run out of beds and equipment to help patients.  Without supplies, people who might have survived the virus will not. It is serious and everyone, young or old, needs to treat it as such.” 

In a time where there is a lot of uncertainty, students and teachers alike can take comfort in controlling their feelings and reactions to these tough times. 

“I have learned that life is 50% good times and 50% hard times. If you can manage your mind during the 50% hard times, you get through life with a lot less anxiety because your thoughts create your feelings,” Strange said. “Having more quiet time allows me to watch my thoughts a little more than my normal schedule does, so I’m able to practice managing my mind. That’s how life works: you learn stuff and come out on the other side of the hard times smarter, stronger, [and] more resilient.”