March 13, 2020. The day everything as we knew it changed forever. The day COVID-19 took over the world and shut everything down. This month, we “celebrated” the two-year anniversary of the pandemic lockdown, as an ironic parallel to the temporary “two weeks” many schools claimed to close for. RHS High Times interviewed several juniors, who were freshmen at the time of the lockdown, to gather their reflections on the whole pandemic, as well as their thoughts on the mask mandate being lifted in early March.
RHS student Chloe recalled, “I was actually glad when they announced the two-week break because I saw it as an extended Spring Break.” She added, “I definitely did not think it would last nearly this long, though, so be careful what you wish for.” Wise advice, Chloe.
Another student, who wishes to remain anonymous, commented on the negative impact the pandemic had on them: “Whenever I think about all the time that has passed since the start of COVID-19, I just feel empty inside. I still feel like a freshman half of the time; It’s like time does not exist.”
In regard to the lifting of the mask mandate, RHS junior Shriya said, “That day really felt like the first day of school again. It was warm and sunny, and it felt so freeing being out of those masks for the first time in two years.” Her excitement is sure to echo the thoughts of many other RHS students, especially those who had never stepped foot into the school building without a mask.
However, the pandemic still isn’t over: As of March 21, 2022, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the world is 471 million, and the death toll is 6.08 million. Although it is easy to get tired of the restrictions that still exist, it is important to keep in mind that these aren’t just numbers. These are people who have families and aspirations, and in times when many are still struggling, the one thing we need to retain from this pandemic is empathy.
Staff Writer/Graphics Editor
Graphic: Gina Vaynshteyn