We find ourselves in a unique time as we isolate ourselves from as much social interaction as possible in order to stop the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus. This has brought on fears, worries and anxieties we never knew we had but it has also highlighted the heart, kindness, compassion and resourcefulness we knew we had but had kind of forgotten about! Some of our LC1s have been reflecting on all this.
Amelia sums up our initial reaction:
As we all know, on early Thursday Leo Varadkar announced that all schools in the Republic of Ireland will be closing due to the Coronavirus. I've never seen the people in my school so happy in my whole entire life, all you could hear is people screaming out of excitement and plastic bags all over the school corridors for the books to bring home, that day really felt like the last day of school.
Although we do have school off, I don't think I like the whole idea of the lockdown. Our town doesn't feel the same since. I think you could now describe it as a ‘ghost town’. Nearly everything but the shops is closed, and you can't even hang out with your friends and the worst thing is that nobody knows for how long all of this will last.
Cliona points out that even the luck of the Irish couldn’t stop this:
Living in Ireland we have always been quite secluded from the horrors of the world around us. Close enough that we here about them, but lucky that they never involve us. We get sight of bad weather and the country goes mental, schools shut, bread goes missing, Lidl stores get mowed down by a tractor! But for the last twenty or so years we have lived in peace, a shaded generation from suffering.
I think that’s why when I heard about the corona virus it didn’t really faze me. “Sure, it could never reach Ireland!” Messing about buying hand sanitizers and the jokes when someone coughed in class. “It's only a joke, I do feel bad for China though” When Italy begin to shut down their borders with thousands of cases and kids returned home from their ski trips. “Hardly? Wouldn’t be possible, we couldn’t have this virus here”!
But nevertheless, here we are, exactly three weeks later, as I write this article for you, the other students and teachers who are at home on our computers. I defiantly didn't think it would come to this. To be honest last week I was still in denial, why should we shut down the country even though we have less than 50 cases? What I've come to realize though this lockdown isn't about stopping the virus it's about slowing it down, minimalizing the affected.
Krzysztof is learning about himself and the opportunities this is bringing:
The one thing that I noticed as time went on, I have become more conscience of the food I eat and what I drink. I try to eat all my food and not waste anything. I also try regulating how much I drink from the stored drinks.
I really find the aspect of internet classes interesting because this is completely new for me, probably for everyone. I like the aspect how I can lay out my day and divide up the workload. It made me feel a lot more responsible for completing my homework and more satisfied. I get a feeling like I am in college because I am completely in control of my learning.
But is is still scary, as Lauren points out:
Over the past few days the virus has escalated quickly, and it is beginning to become quite worrying now. Each day we have teachers sending us more and more work, which I find daunting, personally It would be easier to be present in a classroom to learn. It was announced that all bars, pubs and restaurants are to close immediately. I find it quite scary but to be honest I’m surprised that it’s taken the government so long to act. I feel like the next beneficial step in containing this virus would be to lock down the airports. If anything, this has made me realise that here in Ireland we are quite lucky if you compare us to any of the other countries such as Italy and Spain.
Ciara points out some of the unique highs and lows of this lockdown:
As an overthinker I am well prepared, I went to the shops and stocked up on pasta and rice and of course sweets to keep me going during lockdown. Although I haven't been on lock down for long, I'm already bored out of my mind, so bored that I played monopoly for 6 hours yesterday I also picked up a new hobby which is origami, it's a great stress reliever and also passes the time.
What's affecting me the most is not being able to see my friends or play sports all my trainings and matches have been cancelled which makes me angry because my Gaelic football season has just started and I had a really important match coming up which I can't play, it's all just really annoying.
Sarah places the whole thing into a wider context:
As a sixteen-year-old I had never experienced a pandemic in my life. Ebola never felt real as it never got close enough to home, as selfish as it sounds. In fact, the closest I felt to Ebola was while singing along to Bandaid’s “Do they know it’s Christmas”? Which of course didn’t show me any kind of reality into the disease itself. I was too young to remember SARS or anything that came before that.
Due to this the novel coronavirus began to scare me, the jokes started to make me cringe and the news began to feel like something out of a movie, “Forty new cases! 2 new deaths”. It all is starting to feel like the end of the world.
As for isolation? As an extrovert the thought of not being able to see my friends for the next few weeks or go to school is extremely painful. I like to keep myself busy and I’m beginning to think the three books I’ve already read and sixteen hours I’ve put into my ukulele won’t be enough to keep me occupied.
To look on the brightside: thankfully I’m born in a generation where social media is at my fingertips so as I write this essay, I’m listening to 6 of my friends chat about everything and everything while we tip away at our work. So, it’s almost as if we never left school at all, except this time there’s no teacher to tell us to be quiet.
Jack talks about his worries for the future and the response of our government:
Is it just me or does all this feel fake, like we are in a zombie apocalypse movie of some sort? Not allowed to leave the house. Food shortage. I don't know it all just seems fake. Something like this will probably never happen again. People are losing jobs. The thing I’m most scared about is that there is going to be a global recession after this pandemic disappears. Huge amounts of people are going to lose their jobs. It is going to take years to repair the damage caused by the covid-19 virus both health wise and financial wise.
Being totally honest though it is very angering being stuck inside the house all the time. One thing I have noticed is that the streets are empty the roads are empty. Everything is empty. If were all being honest it has surprised me how well the Irish government has handled this situation. They have been very professional, and I think if this pandemic happened before the general election, I do think Fine Gael would win by a land slide. Through this whole process Fine Gael have kept the Irish population calm by telling them exactly what's going on. I know it has kept my family and I calm.
Liam points out that isolation is not a new burden:
So many of our great heroes have faced isolation for reasons other than a simple virus. It has only been three days and I already know the meaning of life and unlocked inner peace and clarity, so what else is there to do? Take another nap, take another Buzzfeed quiz to see “What my taste in pasta says about me?”. I have researched a lot about how to stop myself from going insane from my mind-numbing boredom and honestly, I haven't seen anything that has been very helpful. Nelson Mandela said when he was in isolation for twenty-seven years that he stayed sane was the community that was formed in the prison itself and the sense of unity that the prisoners formed, but alas I only have my family to talk to and I have already grown tired of talking to them, so that didn’t work. I then remembered the story of how Jesus stayed in the desert for forty days and stayed sane through prayer, but unfortunately, I am an atheist, so I don’t have any motivation to do that. When Elaphaba had Dorothy trapped in ‘The Wizard of Oz”, she dreamt of her family and in the end, I believe there is a message to be taken from Dorothy, she was able to get rid of her problem simply with just water. So why can't we do the same but just add some soap to the mix. I fear that I may have resigned to my fate of being trapped in my house for another two weeks, held captive by a microorganism that can be killed with hand sanitizer.