Although the coronavirus has upended life for almost everyone, human connection and appreciation must remain strong. (Zainab Shafqat Adil)
Although the coronavirus has upended life for almost everyone, human connection and appreciation must remain strong.

Zainab Shafqat Adil

Editorial: Connection defies coronavirus

April 6, 2020

COVID-19 is undoubtedly testing the world. It is our generation’s greatest global challenge yet and is changing our society in a way that we have never experienced before.

Generations before us have experienced worldwide disasters. War and disease both struck the globe in the 20th century. Even more recently, our parents had to endure the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil, followed by the worst global recession in nearly a century.

Yet, this is a novel crisis for all. Governments are imposing nationwide lockdowns on a scale not seen in recent history. From pilots to academics, everyone has been affected. According to UNESCO, 89% of students worldwide have been sent home from school.

Despite the uncertainty that comes with these changes to our lives, we must recognize and understand that we can’t control what happens. However, we can choose what lessons we take from this situation.

In 30 years, how will textbooks explain the pandemic? Will we be judged by the way we dealt with it or applauded for how we developed as a society afterward?

It is important to take time to process what we’re going through. At the start of 2020, it would have been difficult to believe this was going to be our reality in three months. This pandemic is a threat to everyone. It doesn’t provide warning for who, when or where it will strike.

We must also acknowledge that the coronavirus affects everyone in different ways and to different extents. Health concerns cut off income for millions of people. Crowded hospitals force doctors to work overtime, sacrificing both their family and,  in many cases, their safety. Families with at-risk loved ones have had to endure a heightened sense of anxiety.

This should be seen as a time when we banded together to each play our role against the hidden enemy.  We must not let isolation beat connection.”

With all this strife, many may initially see it as a time of grief and suffering. Upon reflection, though, it will be viewed as a time that was filled with uncertainty, but also brought about a greater sense of global unity, despite the literal isolation which exists. Despite the dire situation we find ourselves in, it has seemingly brought out the best of our society.

It was heartwarming to see that on March 26 and April 2, people across the U.K. opened their windows, clapped, hooped and hollered for the thousands of NHS workers at the front lines of the outbreak response. People stuck their heads out of their windows, cheering for unknown individuals who they would likely never meet.

At Coffee Regional Medical Center in Douglas, Georgia, the whole town went to the local hospital in their cars and blinked their lights in support of the workers. People across the world have turned to social media to engage in challenges and share videos to create a sense of connection. Across India, people banged together pots and cheered for their health care workers.

Just as we are connected to those halfway across the world, we are also connected to our school community. Unity is much more difficult now, but is also a primary focus for members of the school. There is a sense that people are coming together in a time of crisis. It’s almost as if we are trying to hold virtual hands as a community, and the result has been pretty astounding.

Many councils and clubs in the High School have begun solidifying projects to create a sense of normalcy among the community. Faculty have been supportive in the distance learning transition and are reaching out to students, despite not being in the classroom. Grade 12 students and Dean Ivan Hauck have been brainstorming what grade-wide activities can create a sense of bonding.

It seems as if people are taking common steps toward embracing where we are and supporting each other through it.

A government lockdown and social distancing are new practices. We are all living a different life, driven by a virus which we cannot control. It’s emotionally taxing.

Through all of this, though, humanity has nevertheless shown an overwhelming sense of positivity and unity that exemplifies the power of love and hope in these situations. Trying to find means of connection is what has kept us going.

It is important to be aware of how our world will be irrevocably changed. People must find ways to endure and move forward and spending time talking to those closest to us often helps. As we are learning to value connection now, we must continue that into the future.

We want to make sure we are proud of the way our response is remembered. This is something we are going to be telling our grandchildren about, so we must be proactive and set an example of how to handle situations of crisis.

Not only should we help others, but we should take care of ourselves and retain some sense of normalcy in how we conduct ourselves. When people learn about this in history class, we don’t want to seem as though we were fixated on how miserable this situation was. Rather, this should be seen as a time when we banded together to each play our role against the hidden enemy.  We must not let isolation beat connection.

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