Dhathry Doppalapudi | Torrey Pines High School Senior
On February 28, President Trump told the crowd at a rally in South Carolina that the coronavirus was no more serious than the flu and that the growing concerns over the disease were a hoax by the Democratic Party. Two weeks later, on March 11, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. The next week, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order for all Californians to stay home as much as possible that was put in place on March 19.
Bella and Leah, Torrey Pines High School seniors, have both been practicing social distancing. “I am practicing social distancing because I do not want to put other people at risk and I don’t want to put myself or any of my family members at risk,” Leah said. “Not to mention that it was a statewide order that everyone should be following.”
Some teenagers, and even adults, have not been following these same guidelines. If you were to look through a teenager’s Snapchat stories, Bella said, you would see many people disregarding all calls for social distancing and instead going out in public and spending time in large groups of friends. “People are treating this like it’s an extended spring break and it really bothers me,” she said. “It’s selfish and inconsiderate of people to risk so many other people’s health by not staying home.”
Teenagers in San Diego have been affected by indefinite school closures that left them wondering how the rest of their semesters will go. Bella, a senior at Torrey Pines High School, is upset that her class might have to miss their senior activities. “We have waited twelve years in school for our senior year of high school and now we’re going to miss out on all these fun activities like our senior trip and graduation,” she said. “It’s obviously not a huge deal compared to how horribly this virus has affected other people, but it still really bums me out.”
Classes have slowly started transitioning to online “distance learning” through services such as Google Classroom and Zoom. Leah says that online learning is just not as effective or productive as in-person learning is, but she understands that it is the best that the school districts can do to maintain some normalcy in our education. The College Board has also modified AP exams, which are multi-section, multi-hour tests for each AP course that, for many, are held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in large rooms that hold hundreds of students. The exams have been altered to be 45-minutes long and only test part of the AP curriculum for each course.
“Because of this virus, I don’t know what to expect for the coming months,” Leah said. “I don’t really know what our lives will look like or how much worse this will get.” In the meantime, she says, she will continue to self-quarantine and practice social distancing in order to do her part to contain the virus. Although some people may not be taking this situation seriously, many people, even teenagers, are doing what they can to help and are holding out hope that it will get better, despite big impacts the virus has already had on many aspects of their lives.