Flu and allergies are always a nuisance people expect, especially this time of year. With around 34 million cases and 56,000 deaths each year from the flu alone, staying healthy and developing sanitary habits is vital. But with the current outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, people are more concerned with their health than ever before.
COVID-19 originated in China and has now spread worldwide with cases confirmed in many countries, including the US. Little information is confirmed about the disease, but it’s said to spread from person to person and causes respiratory problems such as trouble breathing and coughing. The virus appears to spread easily, but can be prevented through limiting exposure and washing hands.
Senior Syeda Shams feels that looking out for yourself physically was always an important skill to have.
“Even before corona [virus] I was pretty attentive [about my health],” Shams said. “Like keeping a distance from someone who is sick, not sharing straws and stuff, and just being cautious because I don’t like getting sick.”
Senior Arya Kataria has picked up new cleaning habits to stay safe.
“I’d like to think I was moderately hygienic before the virus,” he said. “but since the outbreak I have been washing my hands more often and trying not to touch my face.”
Concerns surrounding the virus have caused many districts to shut down schools and to suspend most community and school activities in hopes of reducing chances of people getting the virus. As of March 12, Alief has closed schools and canceled all school-sponsored field trips and family/community events throughout April.
“I think that the concern surrounding the corona virus is reasonable,” said freshman Kelly Nguyen, “considering the high number of confirmed cases.”
To counteract the effects, the district as of March 30 has switched to a virtual learning experience where students and teachers are encouraged to continue working from their homes and practice social distancing.
“I’m actually okay with it,” Syeda said. “As Kerr students most of our work is already online, so I don’t think that it’s affecting us in that way. It’s just a unique experience for us all and we all need to cooperate with each other to be equally successful this term.
Many students are dealing with the effects the virus has caused them and maintaining their responsibilities for school.
“My mom owns a salon and obviously she has been staying home to avoid catching the virus,” Kataria said. “As a result, we’re kind of out of our only source of income, so I’m thankful many utilities are extending payments and similar changes.”
Nguyen has also been put into a similar situation.
“Since the outbreak, my mom was told to stop her business and has been staying home with me ever since. Considering that we have lost one source of income, it forced my dad to work ten times harder.”
Due to the epidemic, many issues have occurred with some students not having internet at home or face difficulty with necessities. The district has been working on programs and sources for students and families, such as the Meal Curbside Pick-Up, which is open throughout the closure and provides eligible students with free breakfast and lunch meals to pick up. Other concerns such as academic testings and class of 2020 prom and graduation have all been reconsidered. Most tests are either rescheduled or completely cancelled and events for the class of 2020 are still uncertain. As for when the district will be opening schools, only time will tell.