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RBC | With the rise in cases, COVID-19 has become a hot topic in the community. There’s talk of it everywhere — stores, school and restaurants. Here at the school there’s a level of uncertainty about whether we have to go home or if we get to stay in school. We often hear the adults perspectives on COVID-19, but the students’ opinion is often not as commonly heard.
The first student interviewed has had a direct experience with the virus. Tatum Kennedy’s mother tested positive a little more than two weeks ago and has just recently been able to return to work at Meeker High School. While Tatum was in the two-week quarantine, she spent a lot of time observing her mother’s symptoms. “With this, I have noticed the seriousness of the virus, and I now completely understand the protective measures being taken by the community to ultimately protect us,” she said. Personally she is not afraid to get the virus, but still has taken all the necessary steps to make sure she is not the one to spread it around the community.
Her recent quarantine was a much needed time to spend with her family. With nothing to do except stay in the house, it was a nice change from their busy schedules. “We never have the chance to sit down to have dinner together. I wish that I could have this time more often,” she added. While there was some added stress for Tatum and her younger brothers because of her mom’s symptoms, they stuck together and have come out of it closer. While they are all ready for a little time apart, there was a silver lining that came out of their quarantine.
Braydon Garcia, a senior at MHS, was also among those interviewed. Garcia, like Tatum, is not scared to contract COVID-19, but doesn’t want to spread it. “I most likely won’t know if I’m spreading it or not,” he said. According to Garcia the virus hasn’t affected him a whole lot. Aside from the fact that most of his summer plans were canceled, he still went to work as usual as well as being, “at his house the normal amount.” On the recent rise in cases in the community Braydon says, “We knew this was coming,” so he wasn’t surprised when the uptake in cases started showing. He does, however, wish that he could go about his senior year as well as other activities like normal instead of, “People forcing us to live in fear all summer.”
Morgan Kehrig, also a senior at MHS, has had COVID-19 affect her the most out of the three. “I lost my great-aunt, my friends lost family members,” says Kehrig. Currently she knows two people that are hospitalized, luckily they aren’t from Meeker. One is 16 who started having seizures after she contracted the virus. The other is a father of her friend who has developed double pneumonia after catching the virus at work. With all of her close connections to the virus Morgan is worried for our community. “In our small town we have been a little sheltered from this virus. I think as we start to see the effects of COVID-19 firsthand, people will take this more seriously,” she stresses.
Now that the seriousness has sunk in as opposed to back in March, she’s been even more worried about spreading the virus. Morgan’s father has severe health issues that could be detrimental if mixed with COVID-19. Due to the recent rise in cases she hopes, “that this will encourage others to wear a mask in public, if not for themselves, then as respect for others.”
One common idea that prevailed through all the interviews was where the students got their information. All of them said they rely on Rio Blanco County Department of Public Health and Environment and the CDC. Their studies take up most of their time so their information intake wasn’t a whole lot. Each person had a little different take on the virus, but all are relevant to other students in the school.
By Sophia Geodert – Special to the Herald Times