The Coronavirus Diaries

How are you feeling? The Bell staff feels that way too.

April 2, 2020 — Liberty High School, Liberty, Missouri, The Bell student newspaper staff —

Wake Up Call 

by senior Anthony Savastino

Photo by Ashley Ritter

When I take a chance to stop and think about what’s happening in the world today it’s crazy. A virus has spread across the world and it’s affecting everything.

At first, I was like many other people that were blind to the fact that this was a problem. The Coronavirus was coming to the U.S. whether I thought it would or not.

I started to realize this downhill slope on the weekend of March 14. I was going into spring break thinking that I would be able to hang out with friends, train for track and enjoy my break. This assumption quickly came to a halt when LHS cancelled school until April 24 and the community started practicing social distancing. 

The whole social distancing was really easy in the beginning, but now that two weeks have gone by of me being stuck inside of my house, it has gotten more difficult. 

My biggest priority is creating a routine. Every single school day I had a routine, so I created it while I had to stay at home. 

I do my basic morning routine starting at 8:30 a.m. every day and then I  sit down in the study of my house and I would commit to working on my school work.

This is the hardest thing for me. Not having a set time for school and not having someone watching over my shoulder, but still setting a time and getting it done so I could enjoy the rest of the day. 

After that, I finish my homework and rush out the door for my daily run. I use this time to refocus my thoughts off of school and on to just enjoying being outside and out of the house.

After that everything is like it used to be before it changed. Playing video games, watching Netflix and having dinner, then off to bed. 

Though I have a routine and it’s working doesn’t mean I want to have to do this forever. To all those people that don’t want to stay inside and social distance, JUST DO IT. Do it for your loved ones, the people that are high risk and do it for the world to get back to normal

Hope from Smiles

by sophomore Derek Katzer

Photo by Ashley Ritter

When our school’s technology director’s created our flexible learning program, I’m sure they didn’t expect it to be used to this extent. And when we were wanting a nice, long break, I’m sure no one had this in mind. 

The recent coronavirus outbreak has thrown everything in disarray, including our faith in humanity: Hoarders, grocery stores with empty shelves, the rise in ecofascism, the pejorative phrase “boomer remover,” the lack of ventilators and masks in hospitals. 

But, even with all the bad things happening, we are still trying to smile. Even if it may be about the little things, it is almost magical happiness can exist in this situation. 

Taking a drive down a street reveals the surface of these smiles: a mom and three children taking a stroll, an elderly couple walking and holding hands, a man running, or a family play-fighting with pool noodles in their backyard. 

In fact, I’ve seen more families taking walks or walking their dog around the neighborhood during this quarantine than I’ve seen my entire life. Even during these isolated times, people are spending time with their families or pets. 

During this trying time, people are doing whatever they can to help out those affected most by the coronavirus. People are busy using whatever material they have to sew masks, aprons and other items needed by hospitals and nursing homes. Schumacher Elementary teachers and staff rode around in their vehicles, waving to Schumacher students and their families. Posters and chalk wrote loving messages to the teachers. Some neighborhoods are putting out loving messages like “BE HAPPY”, “LOVE U”, “SMILE” to show their support.

This virus has brought a sense of community with everyone helping each other, and when the quarantine is over I think we will never take the simple things for granted. Coffee with friends, Friday night football games, time spent with grandparents, playing your sport, and just life itself. 

During this crisis, I hope we hold on to our smiles, love, hope and empathy. During this weird adventure we are all experiencing, maybe we can find some treasure along the way.

Renovate Your Schedule

by senior Liz Gammon

Photo courtesy of Liz Gammon

As Michael Scott so beautifully puts it, “Well, well, well. How the turntables…”. Online is the new frontrunner for school as well as almost all information. I, as the online manager of The Bell, suddenly have so much power. Just kidding, if anything I have more responsibility. 

So, I know you’re all dying to know, what have I been doing during this quarantine and how am I feeling? I, like many of you, have been relentlessly working on school work and constantly watching Netflix and Disney+. (Mostly Marvel for whatever reason. I guess I’m just projecting because I’m waiting on the world to be saved). I do however think the work time and playtime even out, which has most likely helped my stress level.

However, things like deadlines and due dates have been keeping me sane in all honesty. I have something to wake up for, something to work for.

Fortunately, something I’ve found out during this technological time is, as a dancer and as a dance teacher, all I need is space and a laptop and I can continue to work. I am thankful to live in such a progressive time where Zoom and Canvas exist so I can graduate.

Currently however, my parents are testing my patience. Not them specifically but rather, the home improvement projects that they’ve been doing as soon as they get a break from work. 

I am all for renovation, and I encourage people to do anything that takes their mind off of this current Coronavirus pandemic. Changing the scenery you’re stuck in during this time is almost poetic and therapeutic. However, all week this week, my parents have invited two workers into our house to install and stain a wood floor on our lower level. And I am usually good at tuning things out but let me tell you, it sounds like someone is rolling around on my roof.

Regardless, life must go on. Some things I recommend doing during this time are as follows: 

  • At the start of each week, like right when you wake up Monday morning, go through Canvas and make a list of your assignments for the week with pen and paper. This has helped to clear my mind and laptop tabs. 
  • Video chat with your friends and family to stay connected. It may be awkward, but maintaining a connection is important.
  • Exercise to keep your body healthy and your mind happy. 
  • Leave your room and talk to those you’re stuck inside with. For example, I watched Source Code with my family in my parents’ room as it was the furthest place from the installation ruckus.
  • And lastly, as the weather starts to improve, if you’re a safe distance from others, take a trip outside. Even walking up and down your driveway with your 13-year-old Jack Russel Terrier will help remind you that the world is still out there.

Behind the Register 

by junior Ari Revella

Photo courtesy of Ari Revella

As someone who works for a grocery store, my coronavirus quarantine experience is a bit different than others. The weeks leading up to the official stay-at-home order on March 24 were hectic. 

Out of all of the jobs I have worked, this easily takes the cake for the hardest I’ve worked in a long time. A lot of people were panic buying, and we soon ran out of a lot of food items, like bread and some canned goods, along with the most obvious one being toilet paper. We had a lot of double cart orders, even a few triple cart orders. But the first day of the order, it slowed down immensely, which I’m grateful for. 

Even during the times when people were extremely worried about the situation at hand, this brought out the best in a lot of us. Being behind the register and being able to walk around the store to assist others, I’ve seen acts of kindness throughout my shifts. People helping seniors find items, even giving some of the groceries they had that needed them. People paying for others’ orders, and so on.

I’m blessed to have moved to this town, knowing that there is a strong sense of community and spirit. I’ve been doing my part when I’m not working to stay at home and self-quarantine with my mom, who is working from home, but when I’m working, I’m finally starting to feel like this job has a lot more to it then just scanning items at a register. 

Busy Body in Quarantine

by senior Alyah Craig

Photo By Ashley Ritter

In the midst of this coronavirus pandemic, pure boredom has found a way to seep through every crack and crevice of my life. Keeping myself occupied is my number one goal and let me tell you, it’s a difficult one to achieve. There are points in this break where I even began cleaning for fun, and that in itself is a monstrosity. 

So, how have I curved my appetite for busy-work? Well, that answer lies within the variety of activities that I bothered trying. Watching a movie requires too much sitting still, painting just makes me overthink everything, eating only fills the gap for a little while and sleeping is only good for passing time. 

It is when I’m at my lowest point of boredom that I miss my job, friends and even school. I miss things that kept me on my feet, always having to think about what to do next and how to go about doing it. 

In other words, quarantine has been just short of a nightmare. 

However, staying inside the walls of my home has made me realize that I’m not the type of person I initially thought I was. Isolation does not suit me well because I don’t just want, but I need human interaction. 

So, like many others, I will be sure to rejoice on the day that we are all free to run about Liberty again, having the best time of our lives with friends and never taking life for granted.

I sure hope that’s soon because this busy-body needs to actually be busy again. 

Late Nights and Even Later Wake Ups

by freshman Jade Garbani

Photo by Ashley Ritter

When I heard about COVID-19 spreading, I didn’t really think that I would be affected by it. Now, after being out of school for almost three weeks, it really has been affecting me negatively. 

I’m someone who has to have the same routine. If on my way to school I ride the bus instead of the car my whole day would be all over the place. Little things like that confuse me, so imagine how not going to school at all has been. 

COVID-19 has me in a whole new routine and I have no clue how to adjust to it. I’ve been going to bed at 4 a.m. and waking up at noon. I’m now getting my homework done super late in the day and that’s been bugging me. My usual schedule was completely demolished and for the beginning of this pandemic, I didn’t know how to handle myself. 

Lately, I’ve been writing out a daily schedule that has a list of things I need to get done at a certain time. I’m hoping that it will get me and my sleep schedule on track. 

One change I am thankful for is the online learning setting. I work better when I am alone and don’t have any distractions. Also, when I am at home working I am able to make sure there is no time being wasted and all of my work is continuous. 

Though this change has had more cons than pros for me, I am hopeful that I will adjust to this and that everything will get back to normal soon.

Time’s Up

by senior Zahra Khan

Photo by Ashley Ritter

Since freshman year I’ve been told high school goes by in a flash, but I didn’t expect this. Because of the coronavirus, I’ve been feeling the same overwhelming feeling of sadness shared with other seniors. It is crazy to think about how in a few months our whole world changes around us. We might not get a prom, we probably already saw each other for the last time and we might not have graduation. It hurts to realize that, but only reflecting on the negative side of the situation doesn’t do any good. It might just be a home bug inside of me, but this time in isolation has been productive and positive.

I’ll be honest the first few days were bliss. Though I felt free from school, the boredom hit before I got to savor the feeling of freedom. 

I found myself doing the same things, playing on my phone, roaming around my house, then just standing out on my patio. That was it. There was no routine, I had no drive to do anything. I was a slug. It took a handful of youtube videos to realize I could be doing something more.

After those first few rough days I set up a schedule for myself, I got up at 8:30 got my day started right away by playing with my dog and then eating breakfast. After then I forced myself to be productive. The best thing to do when at home is to keep yourself busy and I found how many ways you could do so. 

I may not be Picasso, but I found how great painting, sewing, baking and just being with my family was. I sat in the sun painting and laughing with my family. I pricked my fingers numerous times as I drove a needle threw fabric in an attempt to make something nice. I got my whole kitchen dirty trying to be Gordon Ramsay but instead turned into America’s worst cook. 

Most importantly, I found how much I need my family in a time like this. We may be at our ends with each other at times, but we are together and that is all that matters. All of this helped make oncoming days feel more joyful and worth it than before.

I realized I was focusing too much on the state of the world, this wasn’t good. It’s important to be aware and to be taking care of yourself. I am in a position where I am able to be home, safe and sound. I have means of getting food and access to the internet. 

I realized how I could have it a lot worse but instead, I am grumpy about how I might not have prom and online assignments. It doesn’t do us any good to dwell on these things but to look forward and make what we have work. 

Being cooped up in my house showed me how sticking with a schedule and forcing yourself to be productive in a time like this is essential. I never imagined my year to transform into the life of an online student but knowing I can make the most of it now rather than sulking around what I wish could be happening is much better. Make the most of what is around you.

New Changes and New Pets 

by sophomore Caty Franklin 

Photo by Ashley Ritter

I’m a social person. I love being around people. Interacting with my friends every day is the best part of being at school by far. But since school’s been cancelled, and we won’t be going back any time soon, I’ve been forced to find other sources of joy in my day to day life. 

So what did my family do? We adopted a puppy. 

This might seem crazy and impulsive, but we have so much time to take care of and play with her it just made sense. We’ve been wanting another dog for a while now, and this, surprisingly, was the perfect time for it. 

She’s a six-week-old Australian Shepherd and Labrador mix named Bella. It’s been a really great way to distract from some of the crazy things going on in the world right now. She loves to play, eat and sleep. 

She’s been the perfect dog for Virtual Learning. She hates being out of my arms, so she just sleeps in my lap and is perfectly happy to just sit there while I’m working on classwork. 

She is officially the third pet in our household. We have a black Lab named Luna, and a cat named Mary. They already get along with Bella so well. Mary loves to play with her, and they wrestle almost any chance they get. 

I’m so grateful for something to keep me busy. Schoolwork has been taking up most of my days, but there’s a solid block of time that I have absolutely nothing to do. I try to occupy my days completely because I’m not very good at being bored. I love playing with and spending time with Bella. 

Though this transition is really rough, I am glad that I have something to take care of and spend my days. She’s the sweetest puppy ever and I can’t wait to spend even more time with her in the coming weeks. 

Livin’ the Quarantine Dream

by junior Regan Johnston

Photo by Ashley Ritter

One thing to know about me is that I love people.. I love being around other people a lot, and if it weren’t for my severe anxiety and the fact that I am the human embodiment of awkwardness, I would probably be around people a lot more. 

Unfortunately though, I do have the tendency to set myself up for failure when it comes to interacting with others and because of too many painfully awkward experiences where I have tried to incorporate myself into different social activities and failed. I mostly just keep to myself and appreciate the small number of people I do have in my life. 

The bright side of being just a little too awkward is it makes me fiercely independent. Don’t get me wrong, I still can’t cook and have yet to gain the privilege of using the washing machine at my mom’s house (I swear I didn’t break it, that was my grandma), but I’m never lonely and when I am alone, and I know how to keep myself entertained. 

That’s why I was mildly surprised when I saw so many people on social media posting about how lonely and bored they were when the quarantine started. I could understand how people could be lonely if it weren’t 2020 and there weren’t limitless ways of contacting other people, but we have the privilege of being able to talk to anyone at any time just by tapping a few buttons. The same goes for boredom. With all the video games, puzzles, books, TV and countless other activities, how could anyone possibly be bored? 

When I asked that question I realized that my perspective might be a little biased because my lifestyle barely changed when the quarantine started. Don’t leave the house? Easy. Stay six feet away from everyone? You got it. Nobody even bothered to tell this stuff to me, I had to learn it from Instagram. I didn’t even know we were supposed to be quarantined until two days after it started. 

Just because I am good at this quarantine, mainly because nothing much has changed, doesn’t mean I think it is easy for everyone. I know some people are struggling with boredom and loneliness out there. My advice during this time is that you should try and get to know yourself and become more independent. You might thank yourself. 

Two Weeks x Eight Years

by senior Jennavieve Carmony

Photo by Ashley Ritter

Dec. 19, 2011, was one of the weirdest days of my life. I was sick with the flu and I had laid down for an afternoon nap, and when I woke up late that afternoon, my dad informed me that my older sister had gone into labor and that my niece had been born.

I was determined to meet the baby that day, so we loaded up in my dad’s car and made our way to the hospital. Before meeting the baby, I put on gloves and a medical mask. Finally, I could meet her, Elise. She was perfect.

Flash forward eight years, and I have two nieces with a third on the way. Elise, Fiona, and soon to be baby Ella. I realized recently how much I missed them. I’m lucky that my nieces live so close by, just one street up from me.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve seen my younger niece, Fiona, only once for a few hours. I haven’t seen Elise in almost two weeks. 

I’m all about flattening the curve and disease prevention, both are very important to me. At the same time, it’s been really difficult to go without seeing my baby lovebugs for so long. I haven’t gone two weeks without seeing Elise since she was born. I miss that kiddo a ton.

I’ll be headed off to college in just a few months, so this is serving as my practice run for when I won’t see my nieces all the time. I’m going to visit them often, of course. I’ll be sure to Facetime them as often as possible, but I do find leaving them to be bittersweet. Even so, I hope I get to see my nieces soon. I love them more than anything in the world.

Keeping Busy with my Family

by senior Rosie Frederick

Photo by Ashley Ritter

During school, I check the clock constantly to know when I get to leave. I finish my classwork quickly and it leaves a lot of time to stare at the wall. Now that I get to work at my own pace, I finish all of my work in the first hour I’m awake, and the rest of the day is for me. It leaves a lot of space for boredom, and that forces me to find something to do other than be on my phone. 

I have filled my time with so much. I spent four or five hours on a painting that turned out really well, I helped my dad build a garden for my mom and I plan on baking brownies, possibly a cake. I spent two full days deep cleaning my room and it made me feel so good to know the rest of my time in quarantine will be spent in a clean organized space. 

I haven’t been on my phone very often, just to check in with my friends every now and then. But being off my phone and letting myself sit outside on a sunny day has let me learn a little more about being in the moment. 

Instead of everyone in my family coming home from work at different times, we’re all home for the whole day and it leaves room for us to eat meals together and spend the time that we don’t normally get to spend with each other. 

In a way, I am thankful for this pandemic because it’s let me get things done that I have put off for a long time, and it’s allowed me to use my free time in ways I haven’t been able to for a while. 

2000’s Dance Party 

by sophomore Sarah Blankenship

Photo courtesy of Sarah Blankenship

Don’t get me wrong. It’s nice not having school, but I am getting absolutely no sleep. My sleep schedule consists of going to bed at two or three a.m. and waking up at nine a.m. If I’m lucky, I get a nap, too. Now I have to make my own schedule to get all my homework done and so far it’s working. At least I don’t have to worry about that part. 

After watching a nightly movie with my parents, I go to my room and do a number of different things. I tend to watch TikTok for hours or watch All American on Netflix. Honestly, I do this most of the day instead of doing my homework, but we don’t need to tell my parents that. 

Around one a.m. I usually get a sudden burst of energy and end up listening to music. Just last night, I was listening to Pocketful of Sunshine by Natasha Bedingfield and dancing like a fool in my room. Having a dance party by myself every night at 2 a.m. is definitely not the right choice for my sleeping schedule, and  I’m hoping that one sees me, or that my parents can hear my tone-deaf voice through the vent. 

Then I slowly start getting more tired and play Candy Crush until I’m out of lives and finally go to sleep. It takes me a while, but I get there. 

Even though my alarm is set for 8 a.m., I’m never actually up at that time. I dread having to wake up because I was up late dancing to early 2000’s music.

This quarantine has made my healthy sleeping habits disappear, made me watch every single movie on Disney Plus and most of all, has made me miss school. 

Though having a lot of time on my hands is kind of nice, having the structure of school was something important in my life. Hopefully, all of this will go away soon and I can start having my dance parties at a normal time. 

Focus On the Good

by junior Emma Stauffer

Photo By Ashley Ritter

Almost everyone in the entire world is aware of the coronavirus due to its domination of every news service, conversation and social media feed. 

New facts and statistics appear by the hour. Each day the numbers seem to be worse as the virus infects more people and journeys across the world. It’s bizarre to look at the dramatic shift our country has experienced in regards to the pandemic over the last three weeks, with our numbers rising by the thousands in a matter of days. It seems even scarier to look at the future and the unknown of it all. With so much negativity in the world, it sometimes seems difficult to have a positive attitude about the situation. 

Although my family is extremely fortunate in that we are all healthy and live with a financial situation that allows us to all stay at home, social distancing and self quarantining has definitely taken its toll on us. 

While the situation in general, as well as many’s disregards of the call for social distancing, can be both frustrating and stressful, I know that I can only do my best to encourage those around me and motivate myself to do my part and help flatten the curve.

I try to not focus on the negative, but rather the positive. I have seen all over social media examples of people all over the world coming together in this time of crisis. Stories of communities joining together to help the elderly and most vulnerable give me hope. The videos of people all over the world leaning out of their windows and dancing on their balconies together during lockdown make me smile. 

The positive messages, donations and selfless actions of many people all over the world empower me and give me hope for the future.

Work it Out and Write it Up

by junior Ashley Tindall

Photo by Ashley Ritter

As an avid reader, I’ve read countless books on plagues, some fiction and some real, where people die and people live in isolation scared of getting sick, but I never would have thought that I would be living in a world terrorized by a pandemic. 

The coronavirus has brought fear to the world and has killed thousands of people since the initial outbreak in Dec. 2019. And yet, life must go on for everyone, but life has changed. 

No longer are we allowed to have school in a public setting, most people have to work from home, stores are closing left and right and as we walk down the street we have to try our best to stay six feet away from our neighbors. 

Ever seen someone jump out of the way as you’re jogging, trying to keep as much distance from you? It’s weird and not normal. But, anymore, I don’t know what normal even means. 

Right now we are stuck in this weird place where we can’t go to most places or do most things, so people are trying to find something to occupy their lives. 

For me, I am just keeping up with things I enjoy. The gyms may have closed, but my exercise habits have not come to a halt. I just have to be a little creative. Bike rides, jogs, using our at-home machine, the weights we have at home and doing things like squats, sit-ups, jumping jacks, etc. It is definitely not the same but it’s something “normal” that keeps me sane. It lets me focus on myself, my breath and my actions. It grounds me so I can’t think about the outside world, all I can think about is my heart pumping and the music pounding in my ears. 

I’ve also found solace in reading and writing. Of course, I’m avoiding things to do with plagues as much as possible, though I am considering reading Cinder by Marissa Meyer again.

Reading allows me to escape from the world, an outlet I’ve been relying on for years now. It relaxes your soul while igniting your body. It gives you these connections and feelings that you may never have known you could have experienced before. It reminds you that you aren’t alone and in every book, you can always find at least one character to relate with. It’s why I’m always reading: on my phone, a paper book, anything I can get my hands on. 

Reading is what made me want to write. Instead of using another’s person’s vision, you use your own imagination and create your own characters that can help you cope with just about anything. Writing is an outlet that you can use to express your deepest fears and you can relax anxiety out using a pen or a keyboard. Getting out of my feelings is the best way for me to relax because my characters aren’t going through the same things I am and I can focus on their struggles instead of mine. 

I’m not saying I’ll have finished writing a book by the time quarantine is over, but maybe focusing on myself and using outlets to release my feelings will let me understand who I really am. And maybe this quarantine will help other people find their own interests and their true identities, too. 

Finding the Sources 

by senior Caroline Parry

Photo by Alyssa Griffith

The media is playing a major role in the Coronavirus. Through different news sources, I have gotten a glimpse not only of what the regulations in Kansas City are but the cities that have stricter plans in place for their citizens.

With what I hear from news channels, some choices to keep people safe during this time might be drastic and improbable when it comes to keeping people inside for so long. 

I get a buzz on my phone every 20 minutes having an update on the Coronavirus not only in the United States, but countries like Italy or even India. There are different ways this is being handled in every part of the world and the media is always there to give their opinions on it. Looking at the results that the media puts out, there is always someone having another opinion on the matter. This makes it difficult to make a choice on what media source I should use.

Which news source is telling the right information? From Fox to CNN, I have no clue into which one is giving me real information. Every news outlet is putting out something different. Depending on where you look, the virus status is in multiple different states. It isn’t constant across every outlet. 

Some channels give me hope that I won’t be stuck inside much longer, while others are talking about the new regulations that are being made. I have been a bit paranoid in what it has been putting out, with recently the news saying the death rate and saying a major part of it is having respiratory problems, which I somewhat fall under with having asthma. Hopefully, the news will give me hope on the days to come.