By Isabel Danzis
On March 12, Maryland Governor, Larry Hogan announced that all Maryland public schools would be out of school from March 16-27 because of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Since this original announcement, the closure has been extended and will now last until April 24th. In addition to that, all non-essential business has been closed and the country has begun to practice social distancing.
A worldwide pandemic is something that most people living today have never experienced. It's a hard thing to wrap one’s mind around. The closures and the need to limit social interaction have been life-changing for most people. However, as adults and high schoolers, most of us are able to understand what’s happening and why spending time in quarantine is so important. For younger kids, kids in elementary school, the pandemic is raising a whole new set of worries. Many are seeing their parents confused and unsure of what will happen, and for a young kid who depends on their parents for stability, it can be very alarming. Additionally, many didn’t fully understand what the coronavirus was before schools closed and if they were aware of it, they didn’t anticipate it canceling school. The pandemic was talked about in elementary school, but without kids having the ability to read news reports or fact check each other, rumors and false facts about the virus spread quickly. “People talked about it in school a lot,” said one nine-year-old.
Like all of us, elementary schoolers’ social lives have been changed by the virus. The CDC recommends that people should stand 6-feet apart from each other at all times in order to stop the spread of the virus. However, unlike adults, it’s hard for a younger kid to understand and visualize what 6 feet looks like. Many parents have been using bike riding as a way for their kids to get social interaction. Biking inherently requires about 6-feet of distance so it ends up being a simple way for kids to have social interaction while following CDC guidelines.
As the Coronavirus began to take over more aspects of life, younger kids have begun to fully understand and realize what is happening. Like most older people, the severity of this pandemic creates a lot of fear. Some kids worry about contracting the disease despite the coronavirus being proven to have minimal to no health effects on children. Parents have told their children this to suppress nerves, however, at least older kids in elementary school have begun to realize what the virus could mean for other people in their lives. “I’m not worried about if I get it, I’m worried about [my grandparents] getting it,” said another nine-year-old.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed life for all members of society, and it’s scary for however old you are. For younger children, however, the pandemic has caused some of the younger members of society to have an early in life “wake up call” to the reality of the world.