What are iSchoolers doing during quarantine?


Zach Kaplan, Junior editor-in-chief

When the ball dropped on New Years’ Eve, everyone was looking forward to a new decade and new beginnings. But no one could’ve predicted that in March, a highly contagious virus would infect thousands and leave nearly everyone at home. Despite all of this bad news, some, including myself, are looking at this odd situation as a blessing in disguise. People are using this time to take up new hobbies, catch up on work, and help their community. 

One of those people who are helping their community is Jay Gottesman, a sophomore, who is using this time to make masks for those in need. “We send the masks to our elderly neighbors and relatives that are susceptible to [catching] COVID-19,” Gottesman said via email. “We take old bed sheets and whatnot and sew them together based on some patterns that my mom found online.” 

Another person who is helping his community is Austin Yu, a senior, who is proactive at this time. “Another way to help the community is if you cough/sneeze, try to keep in check with your health for three to four days, just to make sure you’re not sick and still going out,” Yu said he is also careful of how many supplies he uses. “Right now we have a limited amount of supplies,” he said. “Taking more than what we need will limit the amount of people having access to the essential items (food, masks, etc).”

However, you don’t have to help out your community in order to be spending your time productively. Chi-Chi Ezekwenna, a junior, dances and practices piano to pass the time. “It takes time to learn and perfect both a dance routine and a piano piece, so I can spend multiple days working on one. Also, since I’m stuck at home, I have the time to learn movements and pieces. Doing these hobbies make me feel productive as well,” she said. 

Ezekwenna says that the best way to help her community is by limiting the amount of time she spends outside. “Not being a part of the problem and possibly being a carrier/spreader is a way I’m helping out. In terms of how I feel, I do feel a bit frustrated because I’m playing my role in preventing the spread while other people aren’t, but I’m glad to know I’m not possibly making it worse,” she said. 

Another person who is spending her time productively is Nassia Curtis, a freshman. “I learned how to make pasta from scratch, how to do fiberglass nails and I’ve been trying to learn how to be more organized,” she said. As for how she’s helped her community, she has worked on a few projects for her dad, who is on the board of a non-profit called ‘Project Sunshine,’ which “travels from hospital to hospital and tries to cheer up pediatric patients with visits from their favorite celebrities like comedians and actors and do fun events for the kids,” according to Curtis.  “Because of COVID-19 everything is virtual, and I’m not horrible at video editing, I did a few projects for my dad.”

Finally, one student who is looking on the bright side is Margareta Stern, a senior. “I have been spending my time in quarantine doing work and engaging in things that make me happy,” she said. “I’ve been trying to feel a sense of control in my life right now, since everything else that is happening around me is out of my control.” 

Stern is also a member of iCare, which is doing awesome things for the iSchool community. “We’re doing everything that we can to keep school spirit alive and help those that are struggling during this tough time,” she said. 

The news is mostly bleak – headlines of death tolls rising and heartbreaking images of patients who can’t even see their family to prevent the spread. But it’s heartwarming to see people take it upon themselves to help their communities and to slow the spread of the virus–while also using their time to pick up new hobbies, and to do things they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do normally.