Concern grows as COVID-19 cases climb before holiday season


Because of social distancing precautions, students resort to video calling for communication — with the occasional interruption from pets.

The usual Christmas for some is the smell of pine needles and burning candles, a warm fireplace filled with life and color.  For others, it may mean a vacation to somewhere where it’s warmer, or the tidying of the house to welcome family home. 

But for hardly anybody does a usual Christmas mean trying to ignore the fact that we’re not allowed to go outside, worrying instead of laughing, alone instead of together.  For nobody does it mean yearning for the end of a global pandemic.

As the holiday season approaches, the number of COVID-19 cases is rising. 

“I’m concerned about how many people will suffer from it,” says RCMS seventh-grader Lulu Huang, “until it’s finally over.”

This concern seems to be shared among other students and staff.

“Some people are not taking precautions—they are being careless and putting everyone at risk,” says seventh-grader Agrim Bansal.

Seventh-grader Olivia Wu estimates that on a scale of one to 10, the number of cases is going to hit a seven or an eight.  She predicts that there will be a “dramatic rise in cases.” 

Amber Li, another student at RCMS, pointed out that illnesses seems to worsen in the winter.

“December to February are the darkest times,” she says.

Mrs. Sharri Clifford, a seventh-grade history teacher, shared that concern, saying that the flu Spanish flu of 1918 spiked during wintertime as well. The 1918 Flu Pandemic was a pandemic caused by the H1N1 influenza virus, infecting about 500 million people worldwide, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

Winter holiday traditions of gathering in groups, going on vacations, and visiting public areas may have to change this year to stay as safe as possible, as COVID-19 spreads most commonly through close contact with another person.

Both the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) urge readers to stay at home during the holiday season, and if traveling, to take other precautions, such as mask wearing, diligent hand washing, and social distancing from other people.

“Viruses spread very quickly,” says Amber, “and you can’t see them.”

2020 was a rough year for some, but the end of it is approaching.

“Give yourself grace,” says Mrs. Clifford, “take life one week at a time.” Get yourself to Friday, celebrate, and then start over.

If asked the question to describe the year of 2020 in one word, students suggest a lot of fitting answers.

“Chaos,” says Lulu.

“Shocking,” says Olivia.

“Teaching,” says Amber.

“Unforgettable,” says Mrs. Clifford.


Aadit Gupta contributed to this story.