Here, I wrote a post about COVID-19 as I experienced in 2020.
Even though my life didn’t change as much as people who tested positive for COVID, I would consider a little change as something. I lived an ordinary life until late January of 2020. Early this year, COVID had seemed a whole word away (actually it was half a world away, in Wuhan, China), but now its upon us. As a student, many simple things in my life have changed such as hanging out with friends and going to school. We can’t do any of that now and life has been moving along at a snail pace. To all the kids reading this, you understand what I’m talking about right? And to all the adults reading this, you’ll soon see what I’m talking about.
Before we go into the effects of COVID - 19, we need to know exactly what it is. COVID - 19 is also called the novel coronavirus, which means “new coronavirus” or “current coronavirus”. They are all the same thing. The ‘coronavirus’, simply by itself, is actually any virus belonging to the family Coronaviradae. Coronaviruses have enveloped particles that are approximately 120 nm (nanometers) long. Club shaped spikes give the viruses a crownlike or “coronal” appearance. A species of virus, known as SARS coronavirus, or severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus is a highly contagious respiratory disease that has symptoms including fever, cough, and muscle ache. SARS emerged in 2002, and scientists think that it developed from horseshoe bats. Since bats can not directly infect humans, it probably jumped to a different animal, and then to humans. It might have also required a genetic change. In 2012, another coronavirus that can cause severe acute respiratory illness was discovered. It is known as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The first case was found in Saudi Arabia, and all other confirmed cases were linked to the Middle East. MERS was also known to have originated in bats and thought to be passed to other animals before jumping to humans. One of the animals that was likely to have carried MERS were camels. In 2019, a virus closely related to SARS was found in Wuhan, China. The virus, later named SARS - CoV - 2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) also had the acronym COVID - 19 (coronavirus disease, and the number ’19’ stands for the year it was discovered; 2019). This virus’s symptoms were mainly fever and respiratory issues, such as trouble breathing and severe wheezing. By early 2020 it had spread throughout regions of China and had reached the US and Europe. In March, the WHO (World Health Organization) declared the outbreak a pandemic.
Have you ever heard someone say “After a storm, there’s always a rainbow?” Well that technically means that there are pros and cons to everything, including online school and quarantine. But there's a very valid pro that hits one of the biggest points. It keeps everybody, and I mean everybody, safe. Read on for more pros and cons about online school:
The first and foremost important pro about online school is that families, teachers, and students would all be comfortable learning, teaching, and monitoring kids’ learning, without worrying about the required safety measures, such as masks and sanitizer. If regular school were to take place, many kids would not be able to attend because their parents might not want to send them there, which could result in academic failures and truancies. In virtual learning, many more kids would be able to join and learn comfortably.
Also, online school is better than no school at all, of course. This keeps all students, especially younger kids, focused and engaged. They are also learning key values about being a digital citizen and to not cyberbully. In a modernized world with computers, phones, and digital hardware around every corner, being a digital citizen is really important. As a middle school student myself, we are learning lots about how to be kind and accepting as well as making progress and being safe in a digital environment. These are valuable lessons about how to work digitally, while also being safe.
I go to a public school, which is monitored by the government. There have probably been many government budget cuts and the school administrators might not be able to access safety measures for all the students. But because everything is online, there isn’t a hassle to sanitize everything since there are no kids on campus. If we were in school, a lot of the budget would be spent toward safety measures. Since we’re not in school, the money could be directed towards something else. Academic endeavors perhaps?
But, just because I make everything sound so happy and cheerful doesn’t mean it always is. Sometimes, virtual learning can be a real pain. Here are some cons of online school:
First, not all families have access to a sturdy laptop or even a solid wifi connection. It might even be hard for teachers to set up remote learning for everyone. Many things could go wrong. Technology is the most unpredictable thing in the world. Anything could happen at anytime…
Most upsetting of all is that a lot of people, such as bus drivers, on-campus workers, and security, could end up unemployed. Since schools provide a job for many people, the majority of the staff could be unoccupied.
Another con of online school is that high schoolers and college students might have trouble understanding the complex lessons that come their way. It might be harder for them to understand the curriculum online. Another academic let down is that we can’t have proper group projects. When we were in school, we developed our co-operation skills, our respectfulness, our responsibility, and our acceptance. Now, we don’t get to practice that at all, and those are all key values for our future.
But for now, in the interest of our country’s safety and health, we must stay at home, stay safe, and continue with our online school, even if we like it or not.
Online school is a result of quarantine. Most kids hate quarantine. Ok, hate is a strong word. How about the word “strongly despise”? But, as many people say there’s a good and a bad side to everything. First, let’s take a look at some of the pros of quarantining.
I get more time to do stuff! There's a lot of cut down on transit time, so I can get more stuff done faster. For example, I can wake up later in the mornings, and go to bed earlier. You can also spend more time with your family and your pets. In fact, some of my friends have been getting dogs, cats, and other pets to keep them company. Lucky!
Also, everything is more flexible and I can change all my tasks to make them more comfortable for me! I can wake up later because I don’t need to take the bus or ride in the car to go to school. Also, I can attend school in whatever clothes I want to and wherever I want to. Even adults can wear whatever they want to work. You could wear your pjs to work if you wanted to!
Last but not least, its very safe, for both the community and the environment. If everybody stayed at home for work and school, then there is limited interaction with other people and it would also lower the transmission rate in the area. It would be safer for everyone including, but not limited to, the teachers, the students, campus workers, and colleagues. It also keeps the environment safe. If there is less people traveling the roads, going to either work or school, then there is less cars and buses outside, which cuts down on pollution and carbon dioxide in the air that we breathe.
Those are the positive things that make quarantine an ideal solution to “flattening the curve” of COVID - 19. But there are also some downsides of being stuck at home. Read on for the cons of quarantine:
Let’s just make this clear upfront. Less human to human interaction makes us compromise and turn to online things such as WhatsApp, Zoom, Google Meet, Hangouts, Teams, and other chat rooms of sorts. Everything that is related to electronics strains the eyes which can cause even the youngest children to need glasses.
Also, when you’re at home, things can get really, and I mean really boring. Basically, all the adults are working, your siblings are tuned to the TV, and you can’t see your friends because that goes against the definition of quarantine. Well, actually younger siblings beg you to play with them, but you have better things to do than play with an elementary schooler. Things can be a real drag, and even though you have nothing to do, the days still happen to fly past. Like really fast.
Lastly, some people might think you’re doing nothing worthwhile at home, which is kinda true, and parents give you a ton of house chores, and then you get really busy. Which I’m fine with. I do those chores, and I realize I’m fine with it, because I have nothing else to do. But then the teachers also think you have nothing to do, and they assign you half a million different assignments to do, and you end up juggling all of them. However, you’ve still got it. You can manage it. And then you’re siblings put the spin on the ball and decide they finally wanna play with you. Then you get overwhelmed and frustrated and start hating quarantine. So, that was the daily window into the life of a middle schooler.
Did you feel overwhelmed just reading all that? Yeah, I thought so. But, imagine how it must be to actually do all that. That’s what I have to put up with. Still, there is no other way to stop the spread of COVID?
I know that some of us might have never valued or gave respect to our friends, neighbors, and our community. With the exception of rare zoom calls and back to back WhatsApp group chats, we haven’t seen each other in a while, which is only adding to the respect we give each other. In fact, we give each other so much respect and value that my friends and I haven’t fought between ourselves in about half a year.
Let’s not forget about the respect we should give to the frontline workers dedicating their whole lives in keeping us safe. Doctors are doing a huge part to keep us healthy but there are a lot more people doing huge things in our community. Thank you to the police officers that are protecting us day and night, the firefighters that are saving lives every single day, and the emergency response teams all over the country that are bravely putting others before themselves. Thank you to the teachers that are working at home and at school to provide every kid with an education. Thank you to all the delivery services, grocery workers and chefs for keeping us all fed. Without all these people and many more, we never would have been hopeful and healthy. I, and many others, heartily appreciate every single frontline worker for being humble, brave, and protecting every single person before even thinking about themselves.
COVID - 19 made every single person in the community a stronger person. In 2018, nobody could predict such a thing like this would even happen. But it did, and we will get through it. Even though it might take a long time for a safe vaccine to be discovered, we will get through it. Remember the SARS coronavirus? We still haven’t found a proper vaccine to fight the virus, but the world is intact. We are okay. We will get through this too, better and stronger than before. For all the loved ones who’ve left us, and the loved ones that have lost someone, we need to be extra supportive and careful around them. We are almost there. Just stay safe, wear a mask, and everything will be OK.
As of January 2, 2021, while new vaccines are being administered for frontline workers and high risk patients, new mutations of COVID are emerging. Keep an eye out for new updates and/or articles.
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Glossary: (important words)
The Coronavirus is actually not just one type of virus; it is a large family of viruses that also includes SARS and some other respiratory illnesses. The term “corona” is a latin root meaning crown, and it refers to the shape of the virus under a microscope.
COVID - 19 is the specific illness related to the current pandemic. The acronym stands for Coronavirus Disease 2019, referring to the year the virus was first detected. The name of the virus is SARS - CoV - 2.
An epidemic is a situation where a disease spreads rapidly among many people, and in a higher concentration than normal. Also, it may not be worldwide yet.
A pandemic is a worldwide spread of a disease. This is a higher order of magnitude than an epidemic.
The WHO, or the World Health Organization, is a specialized agency in the UN, responsible for international health.
A mutation of a virus is a variation, where the DNA and proteins of the particle is different then the original version.
Would you like a day by day time line of what’s happening around the world due to COVID, such as mutations and vaccine information? Stay up to date by following this website! It’s also the last website under ‘Sources’…