How the COVID-19 pandemic has affected students according to those who tested positive
On Friday, Nov. 13, senior Anna West received the news that someone she had close contact with in class had tested positive for COVID-19. She had been planning to run lights for the school’s play that night and participate in strike afterward. Suddenly she was fearful that she too might have the virus and might give it to someone else. Her plans quickly changed to include her running lights and leaving immediately afterward and to get tested the following Sunday. She thought nothing out of the ordinary and believed the results would come back negative.
“I was kind of just shocked…” West explained. “[Because] I was really expecting it to be negative.”
Most of all, West was scared for the people she had been in contact with, including her parents and others she knew who were at high risk. She didn’t know if she had passed the virus onto them and the weight of not knowing caused her to become guilt-ridden.
“I just felt like [it was my] fault, even if it [wasn’t]. It’s the cause of whoever gave it to my friend but still [I felt] guilty and… just down a lot,” West said.
Senior Rebecca Harrison also tested positive after her sister contracted the virus prior to her. For her, getting diagnosed didn’t come as a surprise, and she had been expecting positive results since she first got sick. The worst part for her was the mental health aspects of quarantine.
“Quarantining wasn’t all that bad, but I didn’t have much motivation as it went on and each day seemed the same,”Harrison stated.
As a result, Harrison’s participation in school began to be affected. Harrison also had to deal with her aforementioned lack of motivation while trying to do her schoolwork.
“Going from a full schedule each week to almost nothing, I found it hard to stay motivated even with the small amount of tasks I needed to get done,” Harrison said. “While I am ready to get back to my normal schedule, I am also slightly worried because going back and forth can be a hard transition and adjusting to fast changes is not always easy for me.”
Both students mention they knew there was always a risk of getting COVID-19. West furthers her point by revealing how her experience with COVID-19 became a sort of wake-up call for her that there truly is no way to fully protect yourself from the virus.
“I think it was a reality check for me,” West said. “Even if you try and do everything right the best you can, it still can happen. And no one’s completely resistant or immune to it.”
West also emphasized how letting your guard down even just a little bit can become the cause for disaster.
“It’s kind of just a shadow hanging over my mind a lot that you can’t let your guard down and you can’t be too comfortable where you are,” West said. “The time where you’re comfortable [and] a little slip up happens … that’s how you get it, and then [it spreads to] everyone around you.”
Both of the students have now recovered and are back at school. However, they bring to light important reminders of the ways the COVID-19 virus affects teenagers and why it’s important to listen to safety guidelines regarding masks and social distancing. COVID-19 isn’t exclusive to adults and the elderly, it can still attack the youth too.
“I think a lot of younger people don’t take it as seriously as they should, or wear masks as they should,” West said. “But [having COVID-19] definitely made me realize… it’s not really like a slow thing you have time to get ready for.”