COVID-19, FEATURE — April 12, 2020 at 9:11 pm

Parents divided on how to protect their children during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Parents are requiring their students to stay home in order to practice safe social distancing . Photo by Bryan Nguyen

In the past few weeks, a majority of parents have taken measures to ensure their families are safe from contracting COVID-19. This virus has quickly spread across the globe, and many families are in lockdown.

Most families are participating in social distancing by staying home, besides occasionally going outside to shop for essential items such as food or medication. Consequently, many children rarely get the chance to step outside of their homes. Friends are no longer hanging out with one another, parties are being canceled and staying isolated has become the number one priority for most. 

In this time of uncertainty, many college students have returned to their homes and are placed under the same rules. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School alumnus Kevin Trejos came from the University of Florida to stay with his family during quarantine. He has had to follow strict guidelines his father set.

“My dad has been restricting how often I can go out, but I know I need to be safe,” Trejos said. “He mainly is scared of me bringing the virus into the home, so while sometimes it’s frustrating to be told what I can’t do after moving out, I know that he’s doing it out of a concern for the safety of my brother and himself.” 

When a child does leave the house, it is likely to go food shopping with their parents or to stay active with some light exercise outdoors. Others are limited to exercising through YouTube videos or Zoom calls with their trainers. Some parents have ensured that leisure activities are kept indoors, and the amount of interaction their kids have with the outside world is minimal. 

However, other parents are a bit more relaxed, allowing their kids to meet up with one to two friends, or having a friend over as long as they are healthy and have been practicing social distancing.There are also parents who allow their children to lead a normal life of going out to eat and being with friends, but these are in the minority.

“My parents really haven’t been that bad about it. We still go out to get food without masks or anything like that, and I can hang out with friends outside my house, just no one [is] allowed inside,” sophomore Carli Komroff said.

In such dire circumstances, many families have taken several precautions such as wearing masks and gloves outside of the house. Children of these kinds of parents especially have been kept away from the outside world.

“My parents won’t let me hang out with my friends, but I feel it’s necessary because staying away from people as much as possible is the best solution to stopping the spread,” sophomore Michelle Berndt said.

With such high risks and virtually no information about when the COVID-19 pandemic will slow down, parents have increased their control over their childrens’ lives to ensure their safety. In households where someone has a pre-existing medical condition, parents tend to be even more strict on limiting contact with others. 

“We have a son with leukemia, which obviously makes our job a lot harder. There’s three other kids that could get sick as well, so no one can leave the house,” Gilberto Cruz, father of an MSD sophomore student, said. “At that age, we know social contact is important for our kids, but there’s too much of a risk involved.” 

Now that online classes are integrated, students will likely have to spend most of their time completing their work, instead of asking to leave the house. Parents will be helping their kids through online classes while taking preventive health measures at home. Until more direction is given on the most effective methods to prevent and end the coronavirus, parents will continue to have differing opinions on what is best for their kids during this uncertain time.

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David Lopez is a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He is a staff writer for the Eagle Eye. He plays both basketball and soccer and participates in DECA. He looks to pursue a career in sports journalism.

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