By Cathy Shan (’23)
As of May 4th, there were over 3.5 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide. In the United States, over 1.2 million cases of the coronavirus have been recorded, with over 350 cases of the coronavirus in every state. New York is said to be the epicenter of the coronavirus, with over 321,000 cases. Many state governors have decided to shut down schools for the remainder of the school year to ensure the safety and health of students and families. As students are wrapping up their third week of the stay-home order, International Academy students, Nicole Schmidt (NS) and Nikhil Kothari (NK) have shared how they felt about the first three weeks of quarantine and how they feel about the extension of the stay-home order.
CS: How have you felt about the first few weeks of quarantine?
NK: I have felt a mix of emotions. It has been very nice to pause our busy lives, but also stressful with the disease lurking anywhere outside.
NS: I’ve been feeling a little bit disconnected from everyone overall, but I think I’ve settled into a schedule that’s been working pretty well.
CS: How has the stay-home order affected your education and/or your ability to learn?
NK: I think it has allowed me to progress learning better in the short term, as I can refine my skills without the distractions of friends (although there are a lot of distractions at home), however, it has been harder when I come across new topics that I haven’t learned before. As I mentioned earlier, I have many distractions at home, and they have affected my ability to learn.
NS: While it has allowed me to learn at my own pace and save me time overall, I’ve had to use out-of-school resources a bit more than usual.
CS: How do you feel about Governor Whitmer’s decision to close school for the rest of the school year?
NK: I fully agree with her. First, this disease spreads exponentially, and the closure of schools helps minimize that spread (the obvious part). Secondly, I appreciate what the teachers are doing, as they are working extremely hard to help us. Despite this, I also believe that the teachers were teaching as if we were going to go back to school, and I think their lesson plans will be more structured now that they know that we are not going back this year. Most importantly, flattening the curve (which means we will still have the same number of cases rather over a longer period) is necessary to contain this disease and allow healthcare workers to obtain the resources they need.
NS: I think that it’s the right decision, for now, especially considering what we know and what we don’t.
CS: In your opinion, will the extended stay-home order heavily affect students’ learning abilities? Why?
NK: I think they will affect some students the most, particularly lower-income students who need meals, and also the elementary school students without topic-specific classes (i.e. math with a teacher, ELA with a different teacher, etc.). For the elementary school students, this is because their teachers are less content-based, and more strategy-based, which is hard to teach remotely. I think everyone will be affected, because staying on task is hard, and distance learning has its challenges, but the students mentioned earlier will be affected the most.
NS: That depends on different individuals; Personally, I don’t think that I’ll be too affected, but I do have a lot of friends who are struggling a bit with the lack of in-person communication with teachers.
CS: Do you have any advice for those that are feeling restless or bored during the stay-home order?
NK: Go outside. That is one of the most important things to do during this time. Studies have shown that going for a walk can boost mental health and have multiple other health benefits. The best thing that you can do is spend time with your family, as social distancing is a must. As many know, this disease spreads very quickly and for that spread to be stopped (and to keep our at-risk population that would have severe consequences safe), person to person contact outside of one’s home needs to stop. Other than that, you can play with your siblings, learn to cook new meals (or just cook in general like me) or enjoy a nap. These are all good ways to spend your time. Lastly, stay active, as is extremely important.
NS: Something that’s been working well for me is exercising more and cleaning the house. Try not to spend too much time on your devices and inside; even if strenuous exercise isn’t possible, just going out for walks can help clear your head.
As the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow higher, it’s important to stay at home to prevent the spread and help flatten the curve. If you must go outside, please wear a mask at all times and wear gloves whenever it’s appropriate. Stay home, stay safe, and most importantly, stay healthy.