Students react to one year of the coronavirus pandemic

It has been over one year since Idaho’s first COVID-19 case, and a new normal has taken over both the state and the entirety of the world. 

Oliver MacDonald, a freshman engineering student, is surprised that it has been one year since the first coronavirus case. 

“I did not have high hopes for it lasting a year,” MacDonald said. “It was very surprising to me to know that.” 

For MacDonald, there have been fewer things he can do outside of his home, due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Since most of the state dropped the mask mandate, I’m not doing anything until I can get the final vaccine,” MacDonald said. “I’m a lot more careful around people when I do have to go out.” 

[Photo of Oliver MacDonald]
Photo by Abbey Nimegeers | The Arbiter

MacDonald is concerned for the future, thinking it might look different in America than in other countries because of the differences in handling the situation. 

The thing MacDonald misses the most about pre-pandemic times is having classes in person, which Boise State has not been able to do for approximately a year. 

Desiree Brunette, a sociology lecturer, hopes Boise State, and the larger Idaho community, will be back to normal soon because of the vaccination rolling out. However, Brunette has been lucky.  

“I have had the privilege of not suffering economic or physical health consequences from this virus. I have been affected personally by my children doing ‘distance’ learning for the past year, and trying to do my own job.  My husband is a physician, and it has been nutty for health care workers,” Brunette wrote in an email. 

Due to living with someone who has an understanding of epidemiology, Brunette knew everyone would be in this pandemic for at least a year. 

“I kept hoping it would get better sooner, but unfortunately somehow we managed to politicize the virus, there was not a collective move to stop the spread,” Brunette wrote. 

Also concerned for the future, Brunette hopes the community will be able to return to as much of a normal as possible. 

“I think the mental health consequences of people being locked in their homes will linger and have significant consequences. We may normalize wearing masks, which, don’t get me wrong, I am fine to wear a mask for public health, but it bums me out because it really impedes communication,” Brunette wrote. ‘I worry about all these little kids that haven’t been socialized in public settings. I think there will be a new ;normal,’ and as a social animal it kind of scares me!”

Brunette truly misses everything about pre-pandemic times, like hugging and her kids going to school in person. 

For Abby Quigley, a freshman health studies major, it feels unrealistic that it has been one year of the pandemic. 

“A year ago, I was a senior in high school. The pandemic changed the way I live life. Now, everyone wears masks and the way everyone interacts has changed,” Quigley said. “It’s a different reality.” 

Due to the pandemic, Quigley did not move to Boise because it was not practical for her, since classes were moved online. Because of that, Quigley does not feel as if she received the full college experience. 

Quigley initially felt confused by the pandemic, but she will be able to study respiratory care this fall, and feels excited by that. 

“I think this eventually will be past news but in the close future, COVID-19 will be our reality. Masks will still be worn and vaccinations will still be given out,” Quigley said. 

Quigley misses the simple things about life, like going out with friends and not having to worry about getting others infected. 

“I miss school in person, too. I really took that for granted,” Quigley said.

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