COVID and isolation

Maddie Browne, Feature Editor

Social pandemics have become second nature to us. 

We’re dealing with persistent cyberbullying. We’re surviving the hysteria of school shooting threats. We even made it, relatively unscathed, out of the “Silly Bandz” phase of our lives. 

But now we face another plague–not of disease, but of isolation. And unfortunately, there seems to be very little we can do to mediate its effects. 

Before quarantine, “WE ARE ONE” echoed through the halls, bounced from table to table in the cafeteria, and passed from freshman to freshman in flag football on the turf-covered field. I personally looked forward to seeing not only my friends but also my teachers, who have always been there for me. No matter how grumpy Mr. Kennedy made Ms. Kruzich, or how blisteringly hot the J-lab seemed to be, comradery permeated the stuffy atmosphere of class.  

Not anymore, though. 

Now we sit at home in the dark, squinting at our computer screens to check impersonal email updates from our favorite teachers who don’t participate in Zoom classes. Our slogan, “WE ARE ONE,” has splintered; we no longer feel that warm sense of community. Any video call time we do have is short and blunt, packing information into a 40-minute time slot. 

It’s really no wonder students have abandoned homework in their lacking motivation or withdrawn to the escape of their cellphones. 

This self-imposed solitude is more harmful than good. Of course, physical distancing is a good idea—however, we don’t need to distance ourselves metaphorically, too. Social media exists to connect people across the world. Friends are literally at the tips of our fingertips. We might not have the privilege to experience an impromptu Wednesday-morning band performance, but we can relive them in video. 

Say hi to neighbors as you walk your dog. Wave at the toddler blowing bubbles across the street. Challenge your friends to a virtual staring contest over Skype. Ask your favorite teacher to have one last Zoom call in June to say goodbye. 

Our world is more connected than ever before. We have tools upon tools to communicate and interact. Liberty may be separated in our homes, but WE ARE STILL ONE. Let’s keep it that way.