What’s goin’ on?

Seven students share how they’re coping with Covid-19 social distancing.

April 15, 2020 — Liberty High School, Liberty, Missouri, The Bell student newspaper staff —

Junior Alison Adams 

Photo courtesy of Alison Adams

   Jobs across the country are being halted and only those that are considered necessary remain open. “Necessary” includes places that supply food. Junior Alison Adams works at Firehouse Subs in Liberty and while it remains open, many things have changed. 

   “I still have work but it is massively different to usual,” Adams said. “My hours have gone down from 20 a week to six. We now aren’t allowed to have anyone

in the store besides the employees that are working. We’ve resorted to curbside orders, which we’ve never done before. There’s been such little business lately that we’re down to two closers at night, as opposed to our usual three. Also, when there’s nothing to do, which is most of the time, we clean things that no one would ever think needed to be cleaned, and we go out and spin our massive sign around at an intersection in an attempt to bring in more business, which works sometimes.”

   On top of working, Adams is trying to complete assignments and personal goals, filling her time up and allowing her to make progress. 

   “Basically, nothing has changed, except for the fact that I’m not physically going to school,” she said. ”It’s given me a lot of time to accomplish things I never had time for before, and I’m finally slowly starting to check off my lists. I definitely think that school is easier this way, but I do still need to manage my time better because I’m still getting swamped on popular due date days.”

   Adams may be adjusting to school on her computer, but she has definitely found some perks that allow her to make sure she gets the subject before moving on to her next task.

   “With school, I feel like it’s easier, but I’m keeping up with old habits and procrastinating way too much,” she said. “I feel like it’s easier because during lectures, for example, the teacher sends a video now. So if I miss something when I’m taking notes, I can just rewind and make sure I understand what they’re saying before they move on.” 

   Adams has created a schedule that gives her life normality and a method for keeping on track.

   “Every day I take about half an hour when I wake up to eat breakfast and run myself through my day,” Adams said. “I tell myself what homework I have to do, whether I have work, what chores I wanna do today and what I want to accomplish within my personal life, for example how many chapters I want to write. Then I just start doing it. It usually doesn’t work out as planned, but having a rough schedule of ‘finish my PreCalc by 2p.m.’ really motivates me to finish, since I have to start working on my Gov assignment after that, according to my schedule.”

Sophomore Aaron Stoufer

   Like many students, sophomore Aaron Stoufer is having a hard time in isolation.

   To keep himself from going insane, Stoufer has resorted to a few classic things to stay busy and have fun.

Photo courtesy of Aaron Stoufer

   “I try to stay social with people so then I don’t get annoyed or go insane,” Stoufer said. “’ I’m bored all the time and just want to hang out with people but don’t have that opportunity. I’m getting back into playing video games because it’s pretty much the only thing I can do.”

   In times like these, keeping loved ones close is a must for Stoufer.

   “I spend more time with my family,” Stoufer said. “We play more board games because we are all stuck together in the house.”

   Although there are fun times, work comes first. Keeping a routine is very important to Stoufer.

   “I have more time at home but I have to make a routine to do things around the house and balance homework as well,” Stoufer said. “My daily routine is to wake up around 9 and do homework.”

   One thing Stoufer misses the most about school is being with other people.

   “I miss the social part of school,” Stoufer said. “I like to be around people and I get bored if I’m stuck inside my house.”

   Even socializing online or just with his family makes a difference in Stoufer’s quarantined life.

   “Still socializing with someone whether that’s online or with your family is a huge way to stay happy.”

Freshman Emily Hoefer

The world is on pause. People are keeping their distance. Six feet apart. This is what COVID-19 has come to.

Photo courtesy of Emily Hoefer

    “I think it’s very scary,” freshman Emily Hoefer said. “A lot of people are in a horrible state due to the virus. I thought it was going to be a little thing. I didn’t even know that it would reach us.” 

   Now that things have changed, people are having to adjust to everything and Hoefer is no exception. 

“It’s been pretty rough,” Hoefer said. “I’m not able to do the things I am used to doing. I don’t get to see my friends at school or hang out with them anymore.”

   Hoefer is coming up with a new routine and ways to stay occupied.. 

   “To keep myself busy I have been watching a lot of Grey’s Anatomy and trying to work out and clean up around the house,” Hoefer said. “I think that doing things I love inside makes me happy so I don’t get too bored.”

   But she also said she likes the new ability to get ahead of her school work. 

   “With online school, we are able to do that and not have to wait for others to finish to move on, but I like being social and now I am not able to do so,” she said.

Senior Mia Baldomino

   The pandemic has brought down some students’ spirits, but senior Mia Baldomino feels fortunate to have this time to spend with her sister. 

Photo courtesy of Mia Baldomino

   “I really like living with a sibling during this time,” Baldomino said. “My sister is one of my best friends and I feel very lucky to be able to say that.”

   Baldomino has found many other ways to keep herself busy in this time of boredom. 

   “I walk my dog, watch movies that I haven’t seen before and play video games to pass the time,” Baldomino said. “But, more recently I have decided that with all of this free time, I should cook more often.”

   Baldomino loves to cook and recently attended a cooking competition with the ProStart team. 

   “Cooking has definitely lifted my spirits and occupied my time well,” Baldomino said.

   Even though Baldomino is only trying to look at the bright side, the negative side sometimes peeks through. 

   “It’s affected my friendships,” Baldomino said. “I don’t see them anymore and I don’t feel as close to them as I used to.”

   However, the current situation has still pushed her to find ways to use this time to better herself and work toward her passion.

   “I’ve cooked things that I have never cooked before,” Baldomino said. “I’m learning new things about my passion that I never knew.”

   This time of isolation has led her to decide to take on the world from a new perspective. 

   “There were some things in my life that I didn’t think twice about,” Baldomino said. “This time of isolation will teach me to not take anything for granted.”

Freshman CJ Barnett 

   Some students like freshman CJ Barnett think the Coronavirus quarantine has put a dent in the functioning of society. For Barnett, people’s reaction to the virus has been a struggle.

Photo courtesy of CJ Barnett

   “It’s kinda dumb how people are reacting to it,” Barnett said. “People are stockpiling on stuff like toilet paper and freaking out when people have a normal sneeze.”

   While Barnett has been socially distancing himself he has found ways to keep busy.

   “I’ve mostly been chilling with family,” Barnett said. “We do lots of things like board games, go on walks and fly kites.”

   Lots of students have been having problems with online schooling. Due to the confusing nature of it, many students like Barnett have felt stressed out because of the limited contact with peers and teachers.

   “Online schooling has been a little frustrating but calm so far,” Barnett said. “Sometimes it doesn’t make sense on what we are supposed to do.”

   Organizing work and keeping a clear schedule can be difficult, but Barnett has a plan.

   “I go from class to class and go from there,” he said.

   According to Barnett, the new schedule has upsides and downsides.

   “I like being home and all but I’m upset we don’t get breaks from bed schedule,” he said.

   Through this, Barnett has found a way to remain happy and hopeful.

   “I’m glad everyone is doing alright and being safe.” Barnett said.

Junior Amy Ngo

Junior Amy Ngo is still trying to be positive and have a routine while practicing social distancing during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

“To keep myself slightly sane I like to do some of my favorite hobbies like painting, making crafts, watching youtube, and watching movies,” Ngo said. “I’ve been going outside a lot to enjoy the new spring weather. It’s a lot of time to myself that I think is good during the global crisis that is happening currently.”

Photo courtesy of Amy Ngo

Ngo’s just like many other students who are already tired of being stuck at home, but she is trying to stay positive. 

 “I’m able to stay positive because my mom did a great job preparing for the COVID-19 quarantine,” said Ngo. “I also have great friends that I can stay in touch with every day and that keeps me positive. I try to think about everyone else staying inside. I know hopefully that this pandemic will be over soon and that everything can go back to better than before.” 

LHS has taken large steps to prepare for this outbreak, which includes canceling school and reverting to online classes. These online classes challenge students.

“It’s a lot harder to work with your peers online and whenever you have specific questions for your teachers it’s hard to get an answer right away,” Ngo said. “Not having that face to face interaction every day makes it harder to understand every single concept.”

Even though there are challenges from the new way of learning, there are benefits too, according to Ngo.

“I like that I can go at my own pace and that I can wake up whenever I want during the day,” Ngo said. “I think LHS is doing a really good job with handling school during these worrisome times because I know other schools have been shut down for the entire year.”

At the end of the day, social distancing and doing school online isn’t what everyone wants to do, but it is what’s necessary to fend off the pandemic. 

“It’s about understanding that this is more than just yourself. It’s not about you or the government taking away your fun, it’s more about the people that are struggling or that have loved ones affected by the virus,” Ngo said. “This is bigger than one person.”

Junior Olivia Peterson

   With the sudden action being taken against the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s leaving students like junior Olivia Petersen with a full house and more time than she knows what to do with.

Photo courtesy of Olivia Petersen

   Petersen describes what an average day in quarantine with her family looks like for her. 

   “I wake up anywhere between 7:00 and 10:00 and my mom and dad are usually awake by then,” Petersen said. “My mom’s little makeshift office is in the living space outside my bedroom and my dad has been doing work around the house since he was furloughed. My brother wakes up whenever he happens to get up and we all go about our business. I spend a good amount of time doing homework and then play Animal Crossing or read. We don’t have specific times for anything but we all try to get something done and eat a meal together. I go to bed really late and then the process repeats itself.”

There are some struggles 

 Petersen is facing the challenge of being in close proximity to her family 24/7. Usual daily activities like school and work get them outside of the house to release restless energy. Without that, they may sometimes that energy out on each other. 

    “We’re all kind of driving each other insane,” Petersen said. 

      To minimize family conflict, Petersen has taken to spending a lot of her day by herself. 

   “If I’m being honest, I can’t tell if that’s helping or not,” Petersen said. “I think half of the insanity comes from being alone all the time.”

Another struggle Peteresen faces in quarantine is trying to get schoolwork done with the absence of face-time with teachers, which for many students, is one of the main ways they learn.

   “School isn’t really that easy,” Petersen said. “I don’t really understand some of the stuff in my classes because I’m not being taught it or anything like that.”

Just laugh

   While Petersen does not see anything funny about quarantine, she does find it unusual how each of her days seem just alike when she’s not allowed to leave the house.

   “Sometimes I forget to do things I would normally do daily just because the days feel like they’re blending into one another,” Petersen said. “Every day feels really similar if not the exact same sometimes.”

   With every day feeling the same, Petersen finds significance in even the smallest occurrences. Like the actions of the characters in her video game, Animal Crossing. 

   “One of the villagers that lives on my island called my friend that came to visit trashy,” Petersen said. 

   Though Petersen can’t recall anything interesting happening during quarantine, she finds ways to keep herself amused to pass the time and keep positive. 

   “Try to find things to occupy your time,” Peterson said. “Read, paint, call a friend, learn a skill or get a new hobby. Sitting around and being sad really isn’t the best way to go about this. Take breaks when you need them and don’t spend all of your time on the internet if you can help it. Be safe as always.”

Interactions in Isolation

   Fortunately for Petersen, with advances in technology she is never truly alone. With nothing else to do, Petersen spends a lot of time talking with friends.

   “I do a lot of texting, direct messaging and FaceTimes with some people,” she said. “I also use Snapchat sometimes.”

   Petersen thinks the quarantine and social distancing are ultimately going to change how people interact when the virus is no longer a problem.

   “I’m honestly thinking about what we’re all gonna be like when this is over,” she said. “I feel like there are some people I’m talking to more now and talking to less now.”

Reported by Ashley Tindall, Lucas Kilgore, Jade Garbani, Ethan Atkins, Rosie Frederick, Anthony Savastino and Regan Johnston