By Ellie Dessart
When news of COVID-19 first broke a few months ago, no one expected it to explode here in the United States, let alone our Westchester community.
With each passing day, we’ve seen a national emergency declared, thousands of new cases reported and thousands of deaths. We’ve watched as the virus began to consume the media, our education and everyday life as we knew it.
As a high school senior, I understand the frustration many students feel. It’s suffocating to remain stuck indoors all day when all you want to do is run around on the field, and it’s disheartening to think that prom, graduation and other school traditions may be pushed back or canceled.
My sympathy goes out to the spring athletes who have put in countless hours of training all year, only to have their seasons stripped away from them.
My sympathy goes out to the juniors, who now worry about the effect canceled testing days and extracurriculars may have on college admissions.
My sympathy goes out to my fellow seniors, who are devastated over the loss of their second semester. Now should have been the time we celebrated our hard work and accomplishments over the course of our high school careers.
And my heart goes out to anyone else who wants nothing more than an end to this pandemic.
But I also understand the fear. The fear that consumes parents as they witness stocks plummeting and supermarket shelves emptying. The fear that they or their loved ones will somehow contract the virus.
We may feel helpless at times – school administrators who try to salvage our education to the best of their ability, parents as they watch their kids lose hope and students as they become increasingly frustrated with the restrictions imposed on them. None of us feel in control, and that’s okay.
However, there are some things we can do to help the situation.
First, stay clean and healthy. Wash your hands, clean your devices and any surfaces and try to keep your hands away from your face. Take your vitamin C, get some sleep and drink plenty of water.
Second, while no one knows for sure when we will return to a sense of “normalcy,” it’s important to try and maintain a positive mindset. No, staying home all day isn’t ideal, but there are plenty of activities to occupy your time. Experiment with recipes you’ve always wanted to make, try a new workout, maybe read a book. Pick up an instrument, binge on a new television series, meditate. Make some time for yourself.
Finally, it’s crucial we remain informed and practice social distancing in accordance with direction from both our local, state and federal governments. While the majority of the severe COVID-19 cases have hit older people and those with underlying health issues hard, healthy, younger individuals aren’t immune. That isn’t to say we should cut off all social interaction with others. We can take advantage of our digital age!
Reach out to a friend or a loved one by sending a quick text. Check in on people through Facetime, Hangouts or Zoom. In times like these, we need one another more than ever.
While we can’t bring an immediate end to the pandemic, we can do our best to slow the spread. Stay home, stay healthy, and above all, please stay hopeful. These are trying times, but our community is resilient. Together, we will recover.
Ellie Dessart is a senior at Bronxville High School. Her monthly column, “Inside the Mind of a Teen,” examines and addresses the issues pertaining to teenagers at both the local and global level.