EDITOR’S NOTE: Autumn Brant is the niece of Chuck Buck, RACmonitor publisher and program host/executive producer of Monitor Mondays.

My name is Autumn Brant. I am 15 years old, and I am currently a sophomore at Francis Parker School in San Diego. I am on the High-School Girl’s Golf Team. I previously attended Mt. Helix Academy, from kindergarten to 8th grade. I played piano for seven years, and took horseback riding lessons for five years. I enjoy poetry, technology, reading, and hanging out with my family and friends.

As soon as I heard about COVID-19, I was shocked – devastated, even – that so many people are dying every day from a worldwide pandemic. I couldn’t believe that something close to an apocalypse had hit us like this.

Luckily, my school immediately jumped to an online program, setting up each class to be attended two days a week, with extra office hours after school and during lunch. I haven’t found it very difficult to get accustomed to this new schedule, because I find it quite easy to roll out of bed and click a button to get to class every day. I feel that my teachers have given us more work than before; however, I will admit that while it is a larger amount of work, we have more time to do it. Several of my friends go to public schools. They had a month-long spring break without any schoolwork to do. I find it concerning that students’ school years have been cut short, and important topics have been skipped.

One day, I got a call from one of my best friends. Concerned, he told us that he had COVID-19. Before he could elaborate, he had to leave. I was mortified. How could one of my best friends, my longest-known best friend, in fact, and his entire family, get the virus? Every day I thought about him and wished him the best. His family described the symptoms they had, and my heart broke. They were struggling to eat and move and do anything, really. They said that their lungs felt bruised and everything was tasteless, with the exception of salt. I was so relieved to hear that they are now healthy, and hopefully immune to COVID. It’s scary knowing that the United States has the most deaths due to the coronavirus.

My friends and I, specifically my friends that don’t go to my school, have been calling each other almost every day. There really aren’t that many interesting things going on at home, so the calls end sooner than planned, but it’s always nice to talk to people I rarely talked to before quarantine.

During my free time, other than studying, I have been watching more television and movies than usual with my brother. He’s graduating high school this year, and I wish he could have a better celebration than a video call or a sign in the front yard. We have been watching TV until 11 p.m. every night while eating popcorn. This is the favorite part of my day. I haven’t found it that difficult to stay home every day, since I usually just relax at home every day anyways.

We have also been going on walks to the local park, and it infuriates me to see so many people without masks, walking so close to each other. I can’t believe some people don’t realize the severity of this pandemic. Putting a mask on and staying six feet apart from each other is not that much to ask, especially when thousands of healthcare professionals are risking their lives every day to care for and treat patients with COVID-19. People need to do their part to help avoid further lives from being lost.    

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