Quarantines Across the Country


Jacqueline Lovci

Our public school system has now been shut down for about four days, and it feels like we’ve been out of school for forever. The NYC official shut down of schools was issued at 5:00 on Sunday, March 15th. On Thursday, March 19, we began to learn more about our online education with virtual zoom calls with Jessica and emails from Molly. 

Our friends in Seattle have been out of school for a week now and have been cautious since the first case entered their city. Seattle public schools cater to more than 53,000 students spread among 113 schools. Due to a lack of technology in classrooms, students face a serious struggle when it comes to learning outside of school.

When speaking to Elsa (‘22) and Signe Rediger (‘24), childhood friends of mine from Seattle who both attend public schools, we discovered that there are a lot of differences between how our cities are reacting. Since schools in Seattle work mainly off paper, teachers are forced to communicate with students through email, and even then cannot contact all students. This is because much of the student population is without internet at home. Elsa specifically stated that “It’s a completely new experience for everyone and the fact that I’m living in Washington, where it all began for the United States, is quite terrifying, but we are working together day by day to get through it.” Even the work educators can get to students is ungraded and mainly review material. Elsa recounted how most of the work is English and essay-based. To help with trigonometry her family has invested in an online tutor who has been helping her in prep for end of year exams, if they are still happening. The students of Seattle were told weeks ago that if a case entered their school, the building would be shut down and deep cleaned, then after 24 hours they would be allowed back in the building. Schools were eventually canceled for two weeks in order to avoid the worst of the disease. A few days later this was extended to six weeks, running into late April at least. Similar to our situation, students didn’t have a chance to pick up all of the necessary materials for studying at home.


Signe and I mostly talked about how COVID-19 was affecting their community and she explained that like New York, most restaurants were closed or only offered takeout. But what was shocking for her was seeing the Starbucks in their village dispose of all furniture, leaving a small area with no seats for mobile order pick ups. To control this epicenter of outbreak, the Seattle government has restricted the amount of people that can meet up, even further than the rest of the country, to no more than ten people. Recently, cities like New York have passed the same ordinances. We know all about the horror stories of COVID-19 in China, and Italy. We know the statistics and what the virus is. But we forget that our country is large and the coronavirus is changing things not just here, but across the country.