High Schoolers Cope With The Coronavirus Shutdown | KALW

High Schoolers Cope With The Coronavirus Shutdown

Mar 30, 2020

Bay Area schools are shut down until at least May. That leaves tens of thousands of students at home, finding ways to learn, to cope, and to find joy. This is a special episode dedicated to life during the coronavirus crisis.

Click the play button above to listen to the full episode and subscribe to the tbh podcast to hear the whole series.

Asian-American Students On Racism Fueled By The Health Crisis 

Dozens of Asian-American high school students in San Francisco say that when the coronavirus began to spread, people looked at them with panic and suspicion. Many of these teenagers have been afraid to sneeze or cough over fears of discrimination, bullying and harassment.

Click the play button below to hear their statements.

Samantha Kuang

Junior at Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco 

They're very open. Like, when they hear someone sneeze, and it's an Asian person, they'll say something like, "Coronavirus!" I heard this Asian lady sneeze. And then this group of teens shouted, "Coronavirus!" And then she asked them, "Coronavirus?" And they just laughed at her. I am sad and angry when I reflect because I feel like I can't do much about it. It's just like you have to take it. I just want them to know that their actions will have consequences because it's not like a small thing. Eventually, it will escalate and get worse. 

Casey Tang 

Junior at Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco 

I feel like racial discrimination is everywhere. And for some reason, everyone just thinks that once you cough or like an Asian person or Chinese person coughs, they're like, “Oh, no, you have corona.” But that's not true. And you can't really just think that all Asians have corona if they just have a common cold. And it's not like other races can't have corona. People shouldn't think that way. People shouldn't just assume things like that. 

Izaiah Dela Cruz

Sophomore at Phillip Burton High School in San Francisco 

People are just like, oh, he's Asian. You know, he got coronavirus and all that. And I really [hate] that because people were taking this as a joke. But in all seriousness, this is a real crisis. It really has been getting to me. Racism is so common to us. Now people are meaning it. They're hating us for something we didn't do. And they're just taking it out on us. I really can’t get this. I could still spread it around to my family members and I just can't let that happen. So then when people just keep constantly bringing up it just kind of angers me. 

Clementine Loh

Sophomore at Phillip Burton High School in San Francisco 

There's people staring at me just because I'm Asian. I feel like teachers should explain to students that you shouldn't be making a joke out of it. Since the virus is going around, it's only going to increase. We should be worried and we should prepare for what's going to happen in the future. 

Prom, Graduation, And Class On Hold 

Students also shared their thoughts about distance learning, social isolating, and savoring the good moments. 

Hannah Ni

High School Senior in San Jose 

This morning when I woke up, I opened the blinds, and was immediately met by this gorgeous blue sky, with the trees just lightly swinging and the birds still chirping. And it was amazing, because it had been raining for a couple of days now, so I was super ecstatic to see everything clear up. And then, I just opened my window, and this breeze came in, and it felt so fresh, and so liberating, and I just felt so happy that I could still enjoy some of the beauties and wonders of the outside while being indoors.

Matthew Policarpio

Senior at Abraham Lincoln High School 

I don't really know what to think about this right now. I'm probably not going to walk across the stage to get my diploma. It gets me a little depressed. I don't really know what's going to happen. I've been joining a lot of college group chats. Any friends that want to talk, I've just texted them. I've been talking to other friends at school that I don't really talk to that much just to keep ourselves occupied. 

Chosang Tenzin 

Junior at Oakland Technical High School 

I'm feeling overwhelmed, and worried, because the coronavirus has quickly affected all of our lives and impacted our daily routines and education system and social interactions. It's just been a quick and abrupt change. Our teachers are starting to adjust to online assignments, and I'm getting an overflow of assignments from every single teacher with their plans for the next three weeks or until I don't know when to be honest. I've been home doing homework. It's been hard not seeing my friends, but I try to text, Facetime, Snapchat my friends, Instagram, just keeping in contact with them in any way possible. 

Samuel Getachew

Senior at Oakland Technical High School 

Like many in my generation, I grew up reading dystopian novels and watching post-apocalyptic movies, judging the actions of fictional civilizations and characters. Some moments feel eerily familiar like I am living the stories I spent years reading. And while there is fear in that, I also think there is power. It’s easy enough to condemn the misdeeds and complacency of the people in our history books and tell ourselves we would have done better, but this is our opportunity to do better. When you see Asian Americans being unjustly persecuted in public, stand up and say something. When you hear racist sentiments expressed by the people in your life, say something. Stay inside as much as you can. When it comes time to vote, vote in the collective interest, not just your own.