Shared from the 3/18/2020 The Providence Journal eEdition

High-school students hope staying home will get them back to school


Cranston High School West student athletes Cameron and Maddie Alves in their backyard, under self-quarantine instituted by the school. Cameron, a senior, plays football and basketball and runs outdoor track. Sophomore Maddie plays soccer and basketball and runs track in winter and spring, and is the football team’s kicker in the fall. With that level of extracurricular involvement, it’s all the more difficult being cut off from school. [THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL / KRIS CRAIG]

Being forced to stay home from school sounds like a dream come true for many Rhode Island students. But the reality of the situation is starting to hit home across the state.

“I feel like I’m stuck in some book or movie. I feel like somebody is watching me, and I’m in the movie,” Cranston High School West senior Cameron Alves said. “Every day you do the same thing over and over again.”

Whether it’s the self-quarantine imposed on all of Cranston West or the social distancing measures being observed everywhere else in Rhode Island, high school students are trying to do their part by following the rules.

It’s not because they want to get back to history class. The longer the lockdown to protect them from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, the fewer chances they’ll have to make memories.

“We don’t want to miss out on senior year,” said Megan Anderson, a senior at Cranston West. “We don’t want to lose out on prom, spring sports or graduation. People are sticking to it and it’s cool to see most people are listening and taking action.”

Currently Cranston is the only community with students under mass self-quarantine. The 14-day lockdown started Friday when the school department sent out an email notifying students and parents that a Cranston West student tested positive for COVID-19.

Students are supposed to remain at home to help prevent potential spread of the virus. After four days, teens are finding there’s only so many hours of “Call of Duty” or “Fortnite” you can play or Netflix binge watching you can do to help time pass.

“Right now I feel like I’m in a good place,” said Andrew Dionizio, a senior at Cranston West. “It still feels like a long way away to next Friday.”

Cranston East sophomore Kathy Hernandez said being told what to do usually makes her want to do the opposite, but her parents have prevailed upon her to limit her outings and she understands why students at Cranston West are under self-quarantine. Hernandez said most of the people she knows are basically following suit because they have a common goal.

“For us to get back quick,” she said, “everyone has to follow the rules and stay at home.”

“After that first statement came out from the school, everyone starting policing themselves,” Alves said, “and taking it out of the adults’ hands so we can do this together.”

Similar things are happening around the rest of the state.

Nate Lussier, a senior at La Salle Academy, said he and his classmates are doing their part. He said he’s seen people go out, but never in groups bigger than 10-12 people. Not having the social aspect of school has been the hardest.

“I just want to experience my senior year with classmates and friends and finish it the right way, go to prom, graduation and the sports banquet at the end of the year,” Lussier said. “The idea of not having that and not being around friends in the last three months we have is crazy.”

Ella Centracchio, a junior at Pilgrim, has been catching up on sleep, working out, cooking and trying to be as productive as possible the last few days. She’s prepared herself for the possibility of online classes after this week’s vacation to nowhere. Centracchio said her and her friends have observed social distancing rules put in place.

“Sometimes it’s like ‘what else can I do?’” she said. “It’s crazy how staying home and relaxing is proving more difficult than being out all the time.”

Jeremias Skarpos, a junior at Burrillville, said his parents want him self-quarantined. He left the house once since Friday, attending a meeting at Wright’s Farm telling employees they were closing.

“Now that the government is taking action,” he said, “we realize how serious it is.”

Meghan Dolan’s parents are letting her making her own choices about social distancing. The Mount Hope senior said she appreciated the trust — even if it may have been “reverse psychology” — but said she and her friends understand the seriousness of the situation.

“We want to make sure each other is safe,” Dolan said. “Not only to go back to school and practice, but we don’t want one of our friends to get infected if they go out.”

“I feel like I’m stuck in some book or movie. I feel like somebody is watching me, and I’m in the movie. Every day you do the same thing over and over again.”
Cameron Alves, Cranston High School West senior

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