3 students detail their experience with COVID-19

According to the Guardian, the omicron variant is the most transmissible of COVID-19 variants—and its impact is evident within the MVHS community. Just last week, the 83rd COVID-19 case on campus was identified after a semester with only six COVID-19 cases—totaling to 77 cases in the last two weeks alone.

Senior Aryaa Pathak is one of the 77, and has been quarantining in her home for four days. She describes her quarantine routine, being away from her family and friends.

“I wake up around 11 or 12, and then I have to call my parents to let them know that I’m awake so that they can all leave the second floor so I can go to the bathroom,” Pathak said. “After that I can’t touch anything in the bathroom—everything is plastic wrapped and I can only touch my towel and my brush and that’s it.”

Pathak’s bathroom sink is plastic wrapped to prevent COVID particles from transmitting to her parents. Photo by Aryaa Pathak

Pathak spends most of her day watching television or sleeping, resting until she can return to school, and has finished 47 episodes of Criminal Minds, 3 seasons of The Good Doctor, and 10 movies. 

“I binge watch movies and shows because I was symptomatic, so I couldn’t really do much other than sit in my bed and go on my laptop,” Pathak said. “I’m literally stuck in my room, so I’m just sitting down all day and I’m really sad.”

Although Pathak is confined to her room, her parents take care of her by leaving food and medicine by her door.

“The way I communicate with my parents is, I call them and I’m like, ‘Can I have this food? Can you refill my water bottle? Can you bring me a paper?’” Pathak said. “And there’s this table that we leave outside the room and they put it on the table and then they go downstairs and then I can come outside and get it.”

Pathak’s family leaves water and food for Pathak on a table outside of her room. Photo taken by Aryaa Pathak.

Senior Diya Sarin recently recovered from COVID-19 last week—however, unlike Pathak, Sarin’s whole family had COVID-19, making the quarantine process easier.

“I started [showing] symptoms on Saturday, and I tested negative that Saturday, but then I got tested on the Tuesday and it turned out I was positive. So my parents were actually around me, and so was my brother—so then they all got COVID,” Sarin said. “It was kind of like [my family] was mingling around after we found out that everyone got it.”

Sarin’s quarantine looked much like Pathak’s—a time to binge TV shows and rest while recovering. 

“Actually, a majority of my day was spent in bed with my laptop, probably watching TV because I didn’t have the energy to think.” Sarin went on to explain that she, her parents and brother avoided interacting with her grandparents during this time, who also live with them but did not contract COVID-19.

Many students who have contracted the virus have had their lives impacted like both Sarin and Pathak—however, life on campus at MVHS has completely changed as well. With the mask mandates and frequent testing schedule, freshmen and sophomores have never had a non-COVID MVHS experience.

“[When I was] a freshman, I would talk with upperclassmen more, and get to know people better. But now, everyone’s hesitant—people tend to stay within their close friend circle and not really reach out,” Sarin said. “I would just like to see [underclassmen] outside, and talk to them and get to know them.”

Sarin’s call for students to connect and engage more may not be so simple, as students who contract the virus are isolated from their friends and family. Junior Derek Shen, who returned to school last week after contracting COVID-19 over winter break, recounts the impact of being isolated from visiting his friends. 

“The day I came back from New York, I tested positive, and then I tested negative on the 6th of January,” Shen said. “It was just really annoying because it came during the [second] half of break—a lot of my friends came back from vacation as well, and I just had to stay at home doing nothing while they all got to go out.”

Shen humorously recalls his time spent during quarantine, which was swiftly met with stress as he returned to school.

“So I woke up at 12 and then I sat in my room playing League of Legends—[I] didn’t do anything else between that time and 2am,” Shen said. “Not going to school wasn’t really an issue until I got back to school, and then I [started to] have to do way more schoolwork to catch up.”

Although Sarin, Pathak and Shen had varied quarantine experiences, they all concur that MVHS should be doing more to prevent further cases and ensure student safety.

“We should definitely be going online,” Shen said. “Although omicron is not as severe, it’s still just causing a lot of issues where kids that are going home because they have COVID can’t come back for the five-day period—and then they’re screwed for school because they missed all that.”

Pathak agrees, expressing that MVHS could implement a short online schooling period, as many colleges including the UC system have done. 

“Something that we talked about in class office was how colleges are handling everything,” Pathak said. “They send everyone home for two weeks and get them tested—and if you were sick, you stayed home and then you had to get tested one more time to come back to school.”

Regardless of whether we remain in person or online, this school year will continue to uniquely impact students of all grades—and we should all mask up and test frequently to stay safe, and avoid the omicron onslaught.

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