COVID-19 is changing students’ relationships

Senior+Olivia+Sewell%27s+family+is+adapting+to+social+distancing+practices.+They+celebrated+Easter+from+their+driveways+so+they+could+still+be+together+while+staying+six+feet+apart.

courtesy Olivia Sewell

Senior Olivia Sewell's family is adapting to social distancing practices. They celebrated Easter from their driveways so they could still be together while staying six feet apart.

Staying close from six feet apart isn’t always easy. In the age of coronavirus, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends keeping a minimum distance of six feet away from others, avoiding group gatherings and staying out of crowded places. Finding ways to socialize while social distancing can therefore pose some challenges. Regardless, many students are managing to hang out with their friends and spend quality time with loved ones with the help of apps like Zoom, FaceTime, and Skype.

Junior Anna Booth and her boyfriend have had to find creative ways to spend time together as they have not been able to see each other in person for over a month. “We spend most of our time Skyping each other, which is the closest thing we can get to being together, even if its nothing new,” Booth said. Booth and her boyfriend also play video games and watch movies together, both of which can be done virtually. However, the pair has felt the impact of a lack of contact and physical affection. According to Booth, the uncertainty of when they will be able to see each other again makes it even more difficult. “We both make sure we stay optimistic,” Booth said, “And we keep hoping that we’ll see each other soon.”

However, for a lot of students, social distancing has been a wake-up call regarding their relationships. Sophomore Morgan Brody voiced a sentiment shared by many students. “Quarantine reveals which friends care enough to check in with me at all,” Brody said. Others have found themselves in similar positions. As communication becomes more difficult and less passive, the relationships that used to be close have grown distant.

Senior La’Nya Kelly expressed that the biggest challenge for her was matching schedules as her and friends each form their own routines and try to deal with copious amounts of schoolwork. “It’s taught me who my real friends are, but also that everyone communicates differently,” Kelly said. She has been keeping in touch with friends via FaceTime, Netflix party, parties on Zoom, and even playing online games together.

Social distancing can be hard on families as well as they are forced to celebrate holidays without the traditional gatherings. However, for senior Olivia Sewell’s family, a safe celebration was possible with the proper precautions. Sewell’s family, including her parents, two sisters, cousins, nieces, and grandparents, all gathered to celebrate Easter in the cul de sac of her neighborhood. They each brought their own food to avoid cross-contaminating and sat at a safe distance from each other.

“My parents and I were in the grass in our front lawn and my sister and her fiancé reversed his truck into the street and sat on the bed,” Sewell said, “My grandparents even came wearing gloves and masks.” The family also watched the same church service on their individual TV’s to make up for their usual attendance at church on Easter Sunday. According to Sewell, the distance didn’t put a damper on the celebration “We talked from a distance with our own food and drinks but since we were doing it together, it made it seem more like an Easter celebration,” Sewell said.

While quarantine can be isolating for students used to seeing their friends every day at school, other means of communication like video calling and online gaming are allowing many people to stay in touch with friends. “It made me realize who was important in my life,” senior Alekhya Peddu said.