COVID-19 has impacted many aspects of my life, as well as my friends.
Even though physically we are distanced, we are still able to connect through social media, and it is important we stay connected during this time of changes and uncertainty and reach out to one another so no one feels alone. We are experiencing the severity of COVID-19 together. We understand the importance of self-isolating to prevent the virus from spreading. Because of the physical separation, new ways of participating in clubs and activities are presenting themselves.
Our Teen Literary Alliance held our March meeting virtually, as will our Lord Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council meeting. Many are helping grandparents communicate, with platforms such as FaceTime, Zoom or Skype, so they can stay in touch with grandkids too. We are able to continue with school, as teachers begin to populate our D2L or VLEs with resources and lessons. As an example of what can be done, I have created a dance lesson video for the class I volunteer-teach for Miss Ilona’s School of Dance.
Some other things I’ve been doing, along with my mom, are puzzling. I’ve got some friends now puzzling too! We share our completed puzzles and discuss them. I’m making daily culinary creations, as I have time to cook and bake more, and have been encouraging friends to share the food they make too. Continuing my passion for photography, I’m taking daily nature shots of the blue jays, and of wildlife that wanders through our backyard. Since I’m home I now get to see the deer that walk by at lunchtime.
I have been in constant contact with many friends via social media this whole time — it is what teens tend to do. So when I reached out to them to ask: How are you feeling with regards to COVID-19, with missing school, and what are you doing to keep yourself busy?
The responses are from friends, aged 16 to 18, at Laura Secord Secondary School and Eden High School.
Jenna Cowan: “With regards to COVID-19, my school was definitely influenced heavily, with the upcoming musical production of Mamma Mia, and the dance competitions we were planning to attend, as well as sport meets, all cancelled. I miss going to school. I find I get my energy to stay motivated from my peers and teachers around me, so this turn of events is certainly quite interesting, but my family and I have gotten creative with ways to stay busy. My dog goes on lots more walks, and my mom and I are on our fourth puzzle already. The board game box is also getting its workout! I hope to be back with my friends and teachers soon though.”
Sadie Williams: “I am mostly just feeling unsettled, because we don’t know what the future holds. So that’s disorienting, But in a way it also forces me to just focus on the present, so that’s what I’m trying to do. In terms of missing school, I haven’t really been thinking about it too much, because I know if I do, I’ll probably get very sad as this is my last high school year. And in terms of online school, I hope it works out that we get to graduate on time, but I also hope the school board remembers we are all going through a tough time, and of course not all students will be able to cope as well as others, or work as hard as they would in normal times. I’m keeping myself busy by spending time with family, playing games, and mostly I am just working on getting stuff done on my to-do list.”
Clara De Munnich: “I am still working on applying to universities, in the form of participating in interviews (via Skype of course), and I am busy finishing my last online course for school. This was supposed to be my gap semester, but my plans have all been turned upside down. I will have to wait for many months in all probability to visit certain universities of interest to me. Other than that, I am walking with friends a lot (at a safe distance).”
Sophia Galbraith: “Although missing school is putting a lot of stress on students, I think it’s the necessary action we must take to keep our neighbours, loved ones and ourselves safe. I’ve been trying to look at our current situation through a more positive lens, and use this time off to focus on keeping myself healthy and spending time with my family.”
Brett Butler: “This time away from school presents a great opportunity to invest in hobbies and whatnot, cabin fever is brutal though. That’s my two cents I guess lol!”
I want to add that teens understand there is going to be an economic impact from COVID-19. Many of us have been affected already. My friends at the NOTL and St. Catharines libraries have been temporarily laid off, as the libraries are closed, and I am unable to go into work due to health concerns for my mom and grandparents. Many of my other friends are also unable to go to their jobs. We see our communities closed, and we know from friends and family there are struggles each have to get through. But by staying home, by distancing ourselves, this will hopefully help to flatten the curve quicker. We also know how hard all the “essential workers” are working and the risks they are taking. We thank them for continuing to provide for the rest of us.
And lastly, while it is sad to miss out on commitments, teens do understand the seriousness of the situation. We know that when this calms, we will support our local businesses, we will volunteer more in our communities, we will be thankful for our schools and teachers, and we will appreciate each day we have. Stay healthy, and #StayHomeNOTL.