Alli: Diary of a Quaranteen

By Alli Lipsit, Staff Writer

Dear fellow Quaranteens (and qurant-adults?),

The arrival of COVID-19 has changed most aspects of our lives. In the matter of just a couple of weeks, school has been canceled until March 31st (for now), but I’d be willing to bet we won’t be seeing the Niles West hallways again until August.

I think in times like these, where it may seem like the world is falling apart or like everything is changing, one of the most beneficial things you can do ensure that this catastrophic turning point in world history does not go unnoticed or unremembered in the future is to write about it.

So, without further ado, here are my reflections on my first official week of being a “Quaranteen.”

Last week, I told my boyfriend Ben that people were being way too dramatic when it came to talk of COVID-19. I told him there was no way we would be out of school because of it.

The following Wednesday, I told him I thought we probably wouldn’t be quarantined until after Spring Break.

On Friday, Niles West announced the end to all after school activities until March 29, and then, the end of school.

On Saturday night, I officially became a self-Quaranteen 🙁

Now, today, March 20, Governor of Illinois, JB Pritzker, has announced that we will actually be going back to school (at the earliest) the week of April 7, and effective tomorrow at 5 pm, Illinois will go on lockdown.

When they announced the e-learning plan third period via email, I think I just about jumped out of my seat in Spanish class. I was ecstatic, to say the least. To me, e-learning sounded like nothing short of an extra week of spring break.

In my mind, there were endless possibilities. I immediately texted some friends who don’t go West, and who I haven’t gotten to see in a while, and asked if they were free the next week to meet at Starbucks and do some e-learning together, but I knew we would eventually end up out to get food or at someone’s house.

My friend Veronika and I made plans to wake up early and go on runs in the morning, which thank god for her because I have a pretty hard time motivating myself to run when I’m alone. I knew running with Veronika would not only motivate me to be active because I would be with another runner and friend, but it would also be a great way to start my morning before going to work on schoolwork with other friends.

Most of all, I have to admit, I was super excited to hang out with Ben. College tours and AP Week were bound to take up most of my Spring Break, so to me, this extra week was a free week to hang out with Ben and make up for some of the lost time over break.

On top of that, Ben recently started his baseball season, and his acapella group, Echo Effect, was on its way to semi-finals, so he had to stay an extra three hours after baseball practice every day to practice for that. This week off had both of us pretty excited, and we were already planning things like day trips to Chicago.

So, on Saturday night, Ben and I watched the movie “Contagion” and wasted no time enjoying each others presence, as we knew we would get to see a lot of each other in the following weeks.

Then, in a plot twist, Ben and I probably should have seen coming, right as our night was coming to an end, and we were saying our (very temporary) goodbyes (because we really thought we would get to see each other the next day), Ben’s mom informed us that his mom and my mom had talked and decided it would be best for us to practice social distancing.

So, in conclusion, besides the couple times we just happened to see each other at the park walking our dogs at the same time (which is really a coincidence because I never walk my dogs), I have had pretty much no in-person contact with Ben. Although not being able to see Ben has called for an increase in food deliveries to my front step, which is a benefit (Ben knows I can’t cook), I must say. The other day he even dropped off a Costco churro.

I’m not going to lie, that churro was 100% the highlight of my day. Being a “Quaranteen” has made me pretty easy to please, fortunately for Ben.

The main reason it’s been so important for not only Ben and me to practice social distancing, but everyone and me, is because my mom works at a hospital in Chicago, and so far, there have been 435 known cases of the Coronavirus in Chicago. My mom is a physical therapist, and although I’m not aware of all that’s going on her hospital specifically because she can’t provide me with that information, it is no secret that as the virus spreads, the need for healthcare providers will increase substantially, and as a result, healthcare workers will continue to be exposed.

My mom was actually feeling a bit sick, so she took a test. Fortunately, she tested negative for the virus. However, she will continue to work, so her risk of exposure to the disease is not over.

This situation has really made me think about other families, too, families in different situations. My mom is the only adult in my household, and she’s exposed to the virus every day, which is a really scary thing for me.

I’ve actually heard from several people that my mom will most likely get the Coronavirus because she works in a hospital, in some form or another. Although I know people don’t mean it to intentionally scare me, and don’t realize the effect it has, it does instill fear in me (but then I remember that it’s going to take a lot more of a virus to get rid of my mom. With a weak respiratory system, she would never be able to yell at me. This really helps the negative thinking).

Nonetheless, the increased fear I have for my sole provider and loved one getting the virus is only one situation where fear of the virus may be escalated.

Many families rely on the school’s food to keep them adequately full throughout their days, and without school to go to, their food security is at risk.

It’s also hard not to think of people who are trapped inside their homes…literally. Many domestic abuse victims have no choice but to lock themselves inside with their abuser, whether it be a partner, child, or a parent.

Situations like these help me to remember that though the situation isn’t ideal, I can make it work.

Plus, I really like e-learning. I pretty much finished all of APUSH through the rest of the week on Sunday night when “Gossip Girl” started to get a little repetitive and I could no longer take any more Tik Tok videos (2 hours and fifteen minutes spent on it today, and I haven’t even gotten to my night time scroll yet).

Shout out to all the teachers who posted all of their assignments for the week on Sunday night or Monday so that I could finish all my week’s work that day and spend the rest of my days sleeping, eating, and lip-syncing to country music videos I put on my TV. You guys are some real heroes in a time where we need you the most. (especially Mr. Wiemer, I think I’m done with all my readings for your class until May).

I would love to spend more time talking about what I’ve been doing this past week, but those last couple sentences pretty much summed up.

I did cry a little today when I found out they were shortening AP tests, and I noticed I’ve been laughing at really unfunny things. It could have to do with the social isolation, but I guess we’ll see.

I saw a Tik Tok where a girl decided to list some of the goals she would have for the quarantine, so, I thought, what better way to end my first diary entry, then some goals of mine for the next couple weeks.

  1. Learn how to cook food well enough to not starve while my mom’s at work. PB and J, scrambled eggs, and Kraft Mac and Cheese DO NOT count.
  2. Take more than 1600 steps a day (yes, that’s how many I took today, and yes, I may have exaggerated the number a bit).
  3. Become Tik Tok famous.
  4. See my friends, or have social interaction with anyone other than my dogs, sister, and mom. Maybe put on gloves and a mask and hug the mailman or something.
  5. Learn the “Renegade” dance.
  6. Sing the song “Bulletproof” on my front porch as the rest of Skokie accompanies me in a harmonic masterpiece (this could go with #3).

I’ll be sure to update everyone on these goals shortly.

Stay safe, and stay away (from me) 🙂

your friend and fellow “Quaranteen,”


P.S. I really miss my best friend, I enjoy it when she waves to me while on runs.