School Closing / Coronavirus Disaster
By: Kaori Perez and Shira Elbaum
Coronaviruses are a type of virus. There are many different kinds but a newly identified type has caused a recent outbreak of respiratory illness called COVID-19, that started in China, but despite Wuhan and other Chinese cities being quarantined, the COVID-19 has spread to at least 100 countries (according to the NBC news) one of them being Japan.
We all have an idea of how it has affected the world but let’s focus on the impact at HIS. With issues like events getting canceled and school closing we decided to ask some high school students their opinions about 4 different aspects:
Jozankei & Junior trip
What most of us consider the most fun trip of the year had to be canceled with less than 3 days of notice. Most of the teams had all the preparations ready: the food, the fashion contest design, and more; we have all been waiting for this time of the year to go to Jozankei with our friends and have fun. We asked the students to share their thoughts on this matter and their responses show that 60% of the interviewed consider that it was not necessary to have Jozankei canceled stating that HIS students were the only group of people assisting to the place and that would not have been a problem, while the other 40% considered that it was necessary to cancel Jozankei due to government’s disclosure of being in an “emergency state” and following their regulations. The other trip also affected is the 11th grade service trip which was not canceled but postponed and asking the juniors what they think about it; the consulted students all agree they understand it was necessary to have the trip postponed and they still look forward to going eventually.
The outbreak affects all of our everyday lives, not going to school, not going out, not seeing friends, dorm students going home, basically is a change of routine we were not expecting.
Some students are saying the situation is affecting their mental health, causing stress and anxiety. Staying at home all day can be depressing and boring, and all the panic from our families and the media is scary and alarming. Nevertheless, some students commented that this has affected them positively by being more productive, learning better time management and having more independence.
Before the school closed, dorm students were not allowed to leave Sumikawa and go downtown which made it “really boring especially on the weekends” according to an interviewed student. School shut down and dorm students were required to leave the dorm and most of them had to go back to their homes. From the responses we got from the students answering “what do you think about the way the school handled the situation at dorm?” the most contrasting ones are:
“I think that the school just decided to completely not take any responsibility for the dorm students and just sent them off.”
“They handled it pretty well, considering the urgency of the situation. there isn't much that they could have improved on.”
These points of view suggest that some students did not support the idea of having to leave the dorm, while others think it was a good procedure that needed to be applied.
Another concern students have about being sent home is that some have to fly to different countries and stay in quarantine for two weeks. These students are also afraid that they would have to be quarantined again when coming back to japan or that they won't even be allowed back in the country.
School closing & online learning
While some students are saying that learning online is working for them, in most of the responses we got students were expressing a lot of concerns about online learning; It is a lot harder for students to concentrate on classwork when they're not physically in class, harder to stay motivated to do the work. Students are worried they won’t be able to keep up, feeling stressed, that they're getting more homework and less guidance. Some students are worried about not having enough time to practice for the KITARA production because of the school closing. 12th grade students are concerned about not being able to graduate by the time they have to go to college. These and some other issues are things that we should try to figure out with our teachers and classmates.
We believe that with unity we can overcome this difficult time, “Unity is strength. . . when there are teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved." ( Mattie Stepanek). If we work together we will succeed. Stay safe:)