The COVID-19 quarantine, the changes and their impact

Macy Sanchez, News Editor

Spring break is supposed to be a week full of joy, free from the stress of school, and filled with relaxation and adventurous plans with family and friends. Instead of looking forward to it, on Friday, March 13, the day before spring break, students and staff at OHS were saddened because trips to Disneyland, New York, and all across the globe were cancelled due to COVID-19. Solemn faces befell the students as they looked ahead to a week of isolation. While many predicted the changes that would occur over the next few weeks, nobody could have predicted the impact it would have on all of our lives.

Since March 13, almost everything has changed. A wave of uncertainty and inconsistency has arisen across the nation. All Arizona schools are closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year, forcing most students to homeschool. All non-essential businesses closed down, leaving many without jobs, and forcing others to work from home. Stores have put limits on how much food and supplies each person can buy. Everyone has been ordered to stay home and limit their time outside. These changes are drastic, but essential to keeping people safe. With the death toll in Arizona nearing 100, and the death toll in the US surpassing 15,000, social distancing has become an increasingly important part of our lives.

These changes affect everyone in a unique way. For my family, the most challenging part of this time is keeping the house stocked with groceries and monitoring everyone’s mental and physical health. 

With a house full of the appetites of 10 kids and two adults, grocery runs are a non-stop occurrence.  A few of my siblings don’t respond well to respiratory bugs, so the risk of getting COVID-19 is not one we are willing to take. Our cautious attitudes have made going to a grocery store impossible. Instead, we have learned to rely on grocery delivery. Because the rest of the nation is scrambling to buy as many groceries as they can, the selection of food online is often slim-picking. The most difficult items to get a hold of are often the most essential: milk, eggs, flour, sugar, toilet paper, disinfecting wipes, and meat. Oftentimes, what is entered in our online grocery list is not what comes to the door. The stores run out of specific items, and they get knocked from our list. 

When groceries come to the door, a distance of at least six feet apart is always kept between the deliverer and my family. A couple kids stand behind the door, armed with gloves, disinfectant spray, and homemade disinfecting wipes. Every item is thoroughly disinfected.  All produce soaks in a bath of hot water in an attempt to kill any germs. While it may seem tedious, this is the best way that we can keep everyone safe.

Another big change is homeschooling. Interface learning is an important part of education, so many schools are using the application, Zoom, to keep in touch with their students. In my house, from 8 a.m. to nearly 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Zoom calls constantly take place. This means that the rest of the house needs to be silent, which is difficult with little kids. If you aren’t on a Zoom call, your only responsibility is to keep everyone else quiet. As you can imagine, silence in my house is impossible, so the mute button has become everyone’s best friend. In the off chance that someone unmutes during their Zoom call, I would wager that whoever is on the other end will hear screams, giggles, and glass breaking. The stress of trying to organize all of the Zoom calls and maintain silence is unimaginable.

Nobody is permitted to go anywhere outside the parameters of our house. That means no going for a walk, no going to a friend’s house, and no going out to eat. Therefore, everyone is home, everyday, for who knows how long. 

With a family of 12, having everyone home every second of every day can be an inconvenience, but is also undoubtedly a blessing. Now, there is no excuse for not being home for dinner. Family dinners have definitely been the best part of quarantine. Everybody sits down together, enjoys a nice meal, and talks about their day. That is quality time together that we have missed out on and taken for granted, prior to COVID-19. The extra time I have has allowed me to pick up new hobbies, including sleeping in, doing puzzles, playing scrabble, and cooking.

It is important to understand the dangerous and sorrowful events that are taking place, but it is even more crucial that we don’t focus on it. We need to encourage each other, build one another up, help as much as we can, and be thankful for what we have. This is a tough time to live through, but it helps highlight all of our blessings and reminds us to slow down.