R.I., 18, a student in Paterson, NJ

My take on the whole coronavirus situation, I imagine, can align with many others who have parents still working outside of the house.

My father works in a hospital while my mother works in retail. Immediately I see a red light: they’re both in positions making them extremely vulnerable to contracting the disease. As a result of this, they’ve decided to not only social distance themselves from friends, but from their immediate family as well: me and my sister.

It started with us sharing meals together. When I set the table, my parents will slide their placemats down a couple seats. It then transitioned to saying, “Bye, love you!” six feet away before sending them off to work. What made me more upset was seeing the approaches my parents were taking to distance from each other. It made me sad to see that my mother has moved to a separate room from my father to minimize the odds of transmitting the virus to one another, in the event one contracts it.

Despite missing their presence, I remind myself that there are positives of the situation. My outlook on the matter has shifted after I had the opportunity to revisit my passions. I found myself being able to practice dance more often while sketching every other night. Not to mention, I’ve been way overdue for a good night of sleep, which has been much easier to obtain recently. Alongside that, I’ve been more inclined to keep in touch with friends and family members.

While communication through the screen definitely can’t replace in-person interaction, it’s all we have for now. I can’t help but feel that this situation was maybe also meant to be a wake up call for us to reconnect with ourselves and others…

[submitted on 5/13/2020]

Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University.

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