Six feet apart

Living in social isolation is sickening

April 13, 2020


I set up my work station before answering a Zoom call from my teacher.

“This is a good precautionary measure, but we are all seeing the world fall apart. The worst part is not having not anything to do,” said junior Nareh Haroutonian. “My siblings and I try to entertain each other but there is only so much I could do.” 

Quarantine. Social distancing. Six feet apart. I hear these words at least 437 times a day. On the night of March 21, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California would be under a stay-at-home order due to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

This virus thrives in cold weather and is contagious. It causes respiratory diseases, most commonly pneumonia. Although the survival rate is about 98 percent, there are over a million cases worldwide with 100,000 deaths as of April 2.

America has become the most infected country. With half a million cases reported April 10, America’s numbers just keep rising. And if we isolate just Los Angeles County, Glendale, with 218 cases as of April 10, is the most infected city in the county.

I wasn’t shocked when I first heard the news. Everyone saw it coming because San Francisco had already enforced the stay-at-home order on March 17. If anything, I was excited since I am an introvert, and any excuse to stay at home was good for me.

On the first day of the quarantine, I found out that spring break was extended. I was thrilled because I hadn’t done any of my homework over break. It seemed like a good break from all the stress of school. The only problem was that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did not say when stay-at-home order would be over.

After three days, I felt my sanity slowly start to slip. I had finished all my homework and was in a state of complete boredom. I had done four paintings and cleaned every nook and cranny in the house. Most of my day was busy work, but moments with nothing to do lasted a lifetime.

I paint glasses in order to pass the time during the stay-at-home order.

Day five was when all types of parks, both recreational and amusement, started to close down. My brother, Robert Hovhannisyan, a Universal Studios engineer, said that graveyard shifts would turn into daytime shifts, since no one would be at the parks. “All the procedures that we do once a month or year will all be done this week,” Hovhannisyan said. “I don’t know what will happen after that.”

It was day seven when I started to uncontrollably bake. From snickerdoodles to chocolate cookies, my house was filled with cinnamon and flour. It wasn’t the smartest idea since most recipes use eggs which is a food item grocery stores often lack.

Every day my sister and I would walk through the neighborhood streets to the store to pick up some supplies, but all we were faced with were empty shelves. We played endless karaoke games, and I would eventually end up bankrupt at every game of Monopoly.

By day eight, I had caught up on all my shows and watched all the blockbuster movies — from The Great British Show to Goodfellas. It was quite hard to watch all my desired shows since four people had to fight for the remote control. You would not believe how many times I fought to watch Law and Order: SVU while my brother wanted to watch The Sopranos.

On March 30, GUSD started remote learning. Finally, online learning gave me something to do. Very few of my classes actually did video calls using Zoom, but the teachers still posted the same amount of work they did in school. Math teacher Amir Ghavam said that this shift was a bit of a challenge since the use of remote learning was a fast change. “I plan earlier in advance because I don’t want to send my students ill-prepared into the next school year,” Ghavam said.

Clarkies are using Zoom as a way to communicate with their teachers during remote learning.

By the eleventh day, I was missing my friends and every other type of social contact. “I know that it is needed but I feel like I’m getting cabin fever,” said junior Monica Kilamyan. Kilamyan said that she is relying on the various streaming programs to keep her busy, but that doesn’t stop the ache she feels from missing her friends.

As the days stretched on, social media seemed like a bright light in the darkness. People used TikTok and Instagram as a way to lighten the situation by making jokes about the quarantine. One of the most memorable figures during this crisis was the 64-year-old Leslie Jordan. Almost every day he posts funny videos, acting as if the audience was FaceTiming him.

It was on April 2 when I had my first Zoom call. It was beautifully chaotic. Half of the students didn’t know what to do. Junior Arpa Hakopian said that it was so hectic that the teacher ended the class early. “No one knew how to use the microphone or camera. It was funny for three minutes, before it got annoying,” Hakopian said.

One of the hardest parts of this entire quarantine, besides the fact that I couldn’t see anyone, was the fate of this year’s yearbook. The publications class had worked hours on this book and I was terrified it would all go to waste. Luckily, we are working overtime to get this book done and into the hands of Clarkies. It wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the Publications class editors and the Publication teacher, Christopher Davis.

On April 8, the CDC required that anyone who goes outside must wear a face mask. They also said that it was important for people to stop going out as much as they did before. This halted my daily walks around my neighborhood and started my indoor yoga classes with my sister.

My sister, Emmily Hovhannisyan, reads a research paper to write her own phycology paper.

As of now I have been in quarantine for about 19 days. I hate it. The CDC said the next couple weeks will be the worst. Now that I feel like I am under complete house arrest, I regret ever thinking that I liked staying home. Although there are many ways to communicate with friends and family like through Skype or FaceTime, there are only so many times you can do that before it gets tiring.

Junior Jannice Rigor said that this time away is teaching her to appreciate life while she has it, and conquering adversity will only make the things in life more special. “Although this pandemic is scary, and it sometimes may not even feel right to be having fun amidst a serious time, I believe that it’s best not to panic and just continue doing my part of washing my hands, social distancing, and informing people to do the same,” Rigor said. “And I believe this quarantine will end soon.”

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