Students express lax reactions to coronavirus

Students express lax reactions to coronavirus

Graphic by Anna Arnsberger

Anna Arnsberger

Over the past few weeks, the spread of the coronavirus has taken over the forefront of the public mind. Nearly all events and gatherings have been cancelled and no matter where you go, it seems that distressed talk of the virus is inescapable. But since COVID-19 poses more of a threat for older people and those with underlying health conditions, students have an unconventional perspective on the pandemic.

Many students who don’t feel personally threatened instead worry about spreading the virus to others. Sophomore JP Roberts explained that  “the coronavirus doesn’t have much of an affect on us, other than just being generally sick. But concerning our parents and government officials and teachers here at Wilson, it could serve as a problem.” Senior Layla Behbehani agreed, expressing fear over, “spreading coronavirus to vulnerable people like my family and my community who don’t have the immune system that I have.”

Though DCPS made the decision to close on Friday, the idea of travel alarms some students more than being in school. “I’m not really nervous about coming to school. But as far as travelling around the city, … you don’t know which area has the most contaminated or affected people with the virus,” junior Isaiah Watson said. Junior Sabrina Bouaichi emphasized how a key problem is that “a lot of students take public transportation and it can be easily spread especially through taking the train every day.”

But when it comes to the safety of the school, students have mixed feelings. Junior Hector Ramos said that he feels uncomfortable since the building “is nasty and dirty.” Freshman Aiden Washington shared a similar blunt sentiment—“I don’t trust people and I think people are dirty.” 

Still, not everyone has such little faith in the school. “As far as cleaning, making sure everything’s under maintenance with the schools, I think they’re doing a good job so far,” Watson said. Despite this difference in opinion, there seems to be a consensus that closing school is a necessary action to halt the spread of the virus. 

Many students agree that moving spring break to March was a smart move by DCPS, even if it abruptly alters people’s plans. “Spring break next week will be very helpful because it allows [DCPS] time to set everything up and it also means that they won’t have to have kids immediately go into the next step of school at home,” freshman Duncan Cowie said. Junior Eva Manegio pointed out how the spring break will give teachers and staff time to figure out how to manage distance learning. 

However, there is a high level of apprehension about working from home. “My grades kind of suck right now and I need to be in school to get them up,” said Manegio. Most students anticipate being much less efficient with their school work over break. “Not a lot of people are gonna do work and so when we come back, we’re going to be super behind,” sophomore Ashley Redhead said. 

In terms of general public reaction, most students agree that widespread hysteria should be avoided as much as possible. “I don’t think that the fact that the media instilling panic on the public is a good thing because it’ll cause for people to act irrationally,” junior Triniti Cawthrone said. Students have been focusing on acting calmly and rationally to handle such an unprecedented situation. And among all the chaos, they were quick to point out one silver lining—Wilson bathrooms finally got some soap.