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Although the pandemic happened around the world the ways it affected me and my family will be hard to forget. My family is very close and spending time together is how we celebrate. We see my grandparents often and my grandma is a very social person. She is usually the first person to greet me when we go to her house for holidays. I took the pandemic seriously when she was too scared to get out of her car to see us when my grandpa came over. As her fear subsided we went to the mall. She said she was way more nervous about transferring the virus to someone than of getting sick herself.

When school shut down it felt like an apocalypse. The superintendent of my school district spoke to us on the intercom and said we would be learning virtually. I started to realize that this coronavirus thing was getting pretty darn serious. Adjusting to virtual school was difficult for everyone. I’m pretty sure no one in the school had ever taught virtually. Even the official record of that quarter is blank - no final grades. I think I had ten to fifteen assignments missing in my info tech class. That class is elementary for the most part, but not in the virtual setting. What made virtual learning ten times worse was that we didn’t have any way to connect with teachers through a Zoom call or Google Meet. They just sent out some assignments, and we did them. I hated that time of school. I had to miss a field trip where I would have gone to a lake and done activities like fishing, basketball, football, and swimming at a camp. I also missed a trip to Florida in eighth grade that my older brother got to go on, but now, not me. 

Every single year of my life, I’ve celebrated holidays at my grandparents’ house. The biggest shock came when my grandparents canceled Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations at their house. This was one of the most surprising things that happened and considering this year that is saying a lot.  When my mom told me the news, I felt all of the excitement that builds up in me around that time of the year just left me. I still think back on all I missed. I completely understand why my grandparents canceled. They are in their seventies, and they are the most at risk in my family, even without any underlying illnesses. I still think back to the 2020 holidays with regret about all we missed.

In some ways, I wasn’t surprised when both of my parents caught Covid-19. They are both people who work in the community as a police officer and a teacher. When my mom got it, she still had to teach virtually even though she had a virus that had taken over the world. I felt terrible for her. My dad’s symptoms were much worse than my mom’s. I remember him throwing up every time he ate. He was out of commission from his work and his life. He lost over twenty pounds because he was eating so much less than what his body needed. Even when he was just walking around our house to take his medication, he was wearing a big painter’s mask that looked so very uncomfortable and hard to breathe in. 

They made it through. Now both my parents are healthy and happy. We all made it through and our family is still close. We appreciate the time we have together and we understand the importance of looking out for others.

© Jack Jachowicz. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.