“The environment in the school bathroom was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.”

When COVID began to get more serious our middle school had a huge assembly, which we talked about hand washing, covering your mouth and nose when sneezing, and we even watched a Brainpop video. Right away, the class clowns started to poke and slap each other and the ones that were really desperate for attention began to roll around on the cafeteria floor. At that point COVID was a joke to us, something scary but too far away to hurt us. And when the teachers used the words “global pandemic” and “historical event”, and then when the principal compared it to 9-11 in a somber tone that was when we all started to worry. Later that day, we were told to wash our hands in the bathroom before lunch and being a bunch of middle schoolers that wasn’t typically a habit for us. The environment in the school bathroom was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. Every single person in that bathroom was on edge, and usually for a bunch of middle school girls, we’re talking and laughing all the time, but at that point, people were afraid to touch each other. That was March 11th. The next day, school shut down—March 12th, 2020. The school closing was surreal, but since we’ve been warned at the assembly, I figured that after spring break, I was most likely to be back in school. To be honest, I was most upset about not being able to see the guy I liked, which seems so silly now. My dad and aunt were out of the country at the time and they were visiting family. So I was shocked to hear that there was a very real possibility that they might be stuck there. I think that’s when I knew COVID was getting more serious and there would be restrictions in our lives that I never experienced before. When we went to the grocery store, many of the aisles were bare, even the ones you wouldn’t expect, like the fruit and nut aisle or the cereal aisle. And there were news reports of people hoarding toilet paper and basic supplies, which was so crazy to me, because toilet paper didn’t seem like such a big deal before 2020, but suddenly it was something everyone needed and everyone needed so much of it that there were restrictions on the max number of these items available. So I think for me, it was the toilet paper that made me realize we were in for a long haul.

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