(HS Insider)

Opinion

Column: First day of school after quarantine

After more than a year of distance learning, it was such a great feeling to be with friends again — something I didn’t know I took for granted until the pandemic struck.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/sabrinas08/" target="_self">Sabrina Su</a>

Sabrina Su

February 5, 2022
I never thought I would ever think, I am FINALLY going back to school!” But that thought was on my mind all weekend long before the Monday of June 7, 2021, when I was going back to school for summer classes.

Since March 2020, it has been quite a unique and special time. Many stores and restaurants had to be closed. Schools had to be closed. If we were going somewhere, we had to wear masks and be socially distanced. Parties weren’t allowed. Toilet paper and masks were being hoarded. Prices of dairy and flour rose. People’s daily lives changed. There weren’t as many cars driving around.

We all had to stay home like criminals in jail, only, there weren’t any actual bars on our doors and windows stopping us from going out. Instead, it was a virus.

This pandemic upended my life because it prevented me from going to school. I had to go through distance virtual learning, causing me to sit hours and hours a day on a chair in front of the screen. I couldn’t see any of my friends and classmates in person since it was too dangerous. We texted each other online, but it wasn’t the same. Even in a virtual classroom full of 20 or more classmates, I was really still alone in my room.

However, June 2021 finally came, and with vaccines, the pandemic was starting to ease up. Summer classes started, in-person now.

That first morning going back to school after over a year of quarantine, I was tired. It wasn’t in my body’s internal clock to wake up this early anymore. The sky was still gray and gloomy, but the thought of seeing friends motivated me to get up and get dressed. I took out the clothes that I spent a million hours trying to choose, put them on, ate some breakfast, and it was time for school — finally.

The car ride seemed to take hours when, in reality, only a few minutes had passed. When I finally got out of the car, there was already a line of people waiting to get their temperature checked before they could go inside. Since some people who had COVID-19 got fevers, the temperature check would decrease the amount of people with the virus inside the school. 

I didn’t recognize anyone in line. My head was spinning. My heart was beating fast.

Would I be able to find my friends? Where are they?” I thought to myself. I

walked towards the campus, looking around at the blue and gold letters printed on the wall showing the school’s name, at the flags waving high up in the air, then, finally, back at the people. I was on my way to the back of the line, when I heard someone whisper-shout, “Sabrina!” I turned around.

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh! I’m with my friends! I’m talking, I’m seeing my friends!” The emotion flooded through my body.

“Hi,” I said shyly. One of them was wearing shorts and a jacket with the hoodie up. The other was wearing a gray sweater. They both had blue masks on. These were the friends that I had met online, and I wasn’t surprised by their faces since I’ve seen pictures of them before. I slid into the line next to them.

As we were chatting with each other, another familiar face popped up. This was a friend that I had known for two years. She was wearing a camouflage mask, and I noticed another blue mask underneath. She was the only one I saw so far to be wearing two masks.

“Hiii!” she said. “I got here at like, 7:40, and I was looking through the car and then I found you.” 

I laughed. It was such a great feeling to be with friends again — something I didn’t know I took for granted until the pandemic struck.

We continued chatting about our classes and things that we had been doing during quarantine. Finally, the gates opened. I was going to room 62 where I had a math class, and then I just had to take a few steps to go to room 64 where I had a Skills 4 Success class! As we walked in, I found some more friends and said hi to them. It was such a simple, normal day. It was wonderful.

Being isolated in quarantine made me realize how important friends are in my life. I need them to support me. I want to support them. Being able to keep each other company all the time is such a treasure. I had a great first day back at school with all my friends and was looking forward to “tomorrow!”