by Ellyssa Jeong & Anya Lefkowitz, Centerfold Section Editors
Read for an hour, exercise for 30 minutes, watch a movie and work on a short film for four hours — these are the key components of junior Charlie Weinstein’s new daily schedule.
Weinstein said that he plans to submit his new five-minute film as a part of his college application portfolio, but it’s been challenging to work on during the school closure.
“About 20% of it takes place at a school, and I was hoping to shoot at South,” he said. “I was in the beginning stages of figuring out how to do that and getting the school’s permission when we were quarantined. It’s another roadblock for a movie that’s already been quite challenging to make.”
Art teacher Abygale Choi said while remaining connected to her students is a challenge, her Instagram account has helped her stay engaged with them, as she has been able to pass on messages to students and encourage them to remain creative through popular drawing challenges that she posts on her story.
“I can check in on them, and recently they’ve been liking posts to show me that they’re seeing [them], which has been helpful,” she said. “Any sense of response from the kids is so life-giving to teachers because we are thinking about our students constantly, finding ways to connect and trying to be creative.”
When she has personal time, Choi said that she tries to maintain a daily schedule, and has spent her time cooking, going on runs and catching up with her colleagues and friends online.
“Finding that routine during the day to feel normal is crucial because you need to find a balance that involves work,” she said. “I think that we, as people, are engineered to work, so I’ve been trying to balance my work, my physical activities, getting vitamin D and also having connections with the community around me.”
Sophomore Linnea Fried, who used to start her days with A block ceramics, said that she finds herself revisiting what used to be her favorite class.
“I looked forward to ceramics class every day, so I’ve been trying to be active with that with the clay that I have,” she said. “I was able to get clay, so I’ve been experimenting with that –– making pinch pots, bowls and little figurines. I haven’t been able to fire it, so they’ve just been sitting in my room.”
Junior Sophie Gu said that her Mathnasium tutoring job has moved online. Now, she tutors over BitPaper, a program similar to Zoom, which she said has both benefits and drawbacks.
“Their parents are near them, so they have to focus, and they also don’t have other kids to talk to because it’s one-on-one,” she said. “Obviously, there’s a challenge because you’re not face-to-face with them, and you can’t exactly see what they’re doing all the time, not to mention the technical difficulties.”
In search of the silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic, sophomore Maya Garg has tuned into John Krasinski’s YouTube channel, which is dedicated to sharing good news.
“Watching about all the good news has been very nice because amidst all of the horrible things that are going on, people are really rallying together to do good things,” she said.
Additionally, Garg said she has used this time to learn how to use a sewing machine to recycle and personalize her old clothes.
“We have a sewing machine at my house, and when I was cleaning my room out, I found a lot of old shirts that I want to turn into other things,” she said. “I thought that would be really cool and fun to do.”
“The first week, I went on a walk along an old train track and somehow ended up finding a farm,” senior Sherry Kou, who’s currently stuck in New Hampshire, said.
Kou said she is currently self-quarantining in New Hampshire because of the quickly escalating spread of the coronavirus in Boston. She said she has made the most of her isolation by exploring her surroundings.
“I went to New Hampshire on the Thursday of the week that school got canceled and planned to stay through the weekend, but once I got here, the situation got serious, and I decided to avoid public transportation to get back to Newton,” she said.
When she’s not hiking, Kou said she attends free online college classes.
“I’ve been trying to figure out what direction I want to go in and what majors I want to pursue in college through these classes,” she said. “I’ve been using this time to figure myself out.”
Sophomore Victoria Rivard said that she has busied herself with watching musicals — she’s currently halfway through “Falsettos” — and taking online dance and acting lessons.
“For acting, it’s really simple since it’s just on FaceTime. It’s a one-on-one session, which is easier to manage. It’s kind of as if you’re there in person,” she said. “For dance though, there are a lot of us, so what we normally do is we have the instructor on the big screen. The instructor has us on small screens. Combos [and] warm-ups — the whole shebang — is on Zoom.”
Wellness teacher Amy Aransky said that when she’s not keeping busy by baking or taking walks with her dogs like most are, she’s outside practicing yoga as a means of escaping reality.
Aransky said she keeps positive by taking time out of her day to watch videos that make her laugh.
“Sometimes I keep them running on my phone for a few minutes just to lighten the mood and release some good chemicals and hormones that help alleviate the stress,” she said. “It keeps my mind focused on something other than worrying about certain people and figuring things out for the school schedule.”