Youth speak out on the global pandemic

Kids use their quarantine experience to offer insight in a time of need


Chesney Evert

Many young people’s traditional experiences have been altered by COVID-19 restrictions.

Amidst a rampant viral outbreak, a young generation emerges, equipped with candid perspectives on a global health crisis. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that children who have contracted COVID-19 have a significantly lower mortality rate than adults. While this keeps many kids out of the at-risk population, it does not grant them immunity to the impacts of the COVID-19 restrictions.   

It has been close to seven months since the beginning of quarantine in the Bay Area. School closures and physical distancing have fostered an unparalleled reality that many will remember as their childhood. 

“I feel isolated,” said Maya Koren, a fifth-grader at San Carlos Charter. “You usually can think of yourself as part of a group of people, but that is getting harder.”

From between the pages of Rick Riordan’s novels, Koren sees the decay of personal connection while the world takes a virtual turn. As tense breakout rooms silence casual conversation, she expresses that online school feels different and sometimes lonely.

Despite this, she finds hope in unity around a common problem. 

“So many people have worked hard to make things better. I know not everyone’s definitions of better are aligned, but everyone is trying,” Koren said.

Koren’s reference to conflicting perspectives on COVID-19 recovery extends to politics, a topic of interest to Spencer Morse-DeBrier, an eighth-grader at San Carlos Charter. A fellow for California State Senate Candidate Josh Becker, Morse-DeBrier has used this time to pursue his passion for government. 

He spoke of the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the upcoming election, specifically using alternative voting methods. 

“I know that the blue shift is something that worries people, as President Trump has made it clear he will not respect the boundaries of an election that uses mail-in ballots,” Morse-DeBrier said. 

Coined by former Ohio Solicitor General Edward B. Foley, in 2012, the blue shift is a wave of democratic votes that flow in after election day. Like Foley himself, Morse-DeBrier outlined that the U.S. must adhere to polling regulations and avoid voter suppression to maintain the credibility of the democracy. 

Recent political action has also spotlighted race and climate health issues, bringing activism into the foreground of COVID-19 culture. 

Molly Rosenberg, a seventh-grader at Crystal Springs Uplands School, recognizes the importance of these issues. 

“Not only is there COVID, there’s Black Lives Matter, there’s climate change; there’s a lot of things going on,” Rosenberg said. “Just because there’s a global pandemic doesn’t mean we can forget about all those things.”

As the children of an ailing country, the troubles of today’s adults’ will one day belong to these kids and others. With hope for the future, Rosenberg points to collective goals to unify Americans across all walks of life. 

“In the end, we all want the same thing; to reopen in a healthy way. Right now, we just need to be responsible,” Rosenberg said.