COVID-19, FEATURE — April 14, 2020 at 1:37 pm

Separated parents struggle with children moving back and forth during shelter in place order

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Graphic by Darian Williams

Throughout the United States, everyone is encouraged to practice social distancing to lower the risk of catching and spreading the virus. With the coronavirus forcing people to stay inside, it has brought up many concerns to families. Florida Governor Ron Desantis has issued a stay-at-home order for all of Florida to keep citizens safe, but unfortunately, this makes it difficult for children to move from place to place if their parents are separated. 

Due to safety precautions, some students are unable to see their family members. Senior Kaley Morabito lives with her dad and visits her mom a couple of times during the week. She expresses how upsetting it is not being able to see her mom as much as she used to. 

“Before the virus occurred, I would go back and forth to see my mom and dad but now I only see my mom once a week. I feel more comfortable staying at my dad’s, but I miss being able to go to my moms more often. I try to stay in connect with my mom over the phone but she also works a lot so it’s quite difficult,” Morabito said. “I really wish this would go away soon so things could go back to normal. 

Some challenges include deciding where the child should stay and if they are able to see the other parent. As families continue to practice social distancing, it is becoming challenging not being able to see their child for a long period of time and not knowing how long this separation will last. 

“My dad lives in Delray so during the weekdays when there was school it was really hard for me to visit him. My mom is really concerned with the virus so she doesn’t let me leave the house and I haven’t been able to see my dad. I really miss my dad and being able to go out and do fun things with him,” senior Payton Price said. “I know we have to be safe and practice social distancing but this is affecting being able to see my dad more.”

Despite not being able to see family members, students are finding ways to keep in contact with family members through facetime or phone calls. Being in quarantine has brought families closer together but also brings stress and conflict due to the frustration of not being able to see other family members and disrupting their old routine. 

It has been difficult with bigger families as it creates a greater risk and worries parents. Senior Sanjiv Ramnanan and junior Sanjana Ramnanan both live with their mother and three other siblings and they have yet to see their dad in weeks. 

“Because of the virus, I have not seen my dad in four weeks and since we have a bigger family it’s a challenge for all of us to go and see my dad. I really miss the way things used to be and going out to do different family activities,” Sanjiv said. 

Since they have a big family they try to spend time together and keep themselves busy. However, arguments can occur at times as they are all angry by the fact that they are unable to go out. They are trying to adapt to this change and are unable to process not seeing their dad.

Being in quarantine has also created difficulty with families lies continuing their normal routines. Sanjana and her family are very close and would do things like go out to eat, go shopping and travel frequently. Her family tries to stay close by playing games and having family movie nights but she says it doesn’t feel the same. 

“It’s really hard not seeing my dad like we used to. Before the virus, I saw him way more so it’s sad now because we can’t. My dad makes sure to keep in contact by calling us and making sure we are okay. We had lots of plans and unfortunately, they were canceled, but we hope when all of this is over we can go back to our normal routines and be able to follow through our plans,” Sanjana said. 

Having separated parents is challenging and can have major effects on parents and children alike. The pandemic is causing separated parents to make sacrifices to ensure their children are healthy and not exposed. Families are trying to stay positive by keeping children distracted but it has become tough due to the fact that schools, restaurants and other common areas that they enjoyed are closed. Although there are restrictions, the importance of staying home and being safe is encouraged. 

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Anayiris Guzman is a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She is involved in many clubs at school, like Big Brothers Big Sisters and Peer Counseling.

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