‘A Day of Life’ – Concord College (COVID-19 Edition)
Watch the Sixth Form students’ (lighthearted) perspective on COVID-19 and life at Concord…
By Anson and Nico.
COVID-19 in Shropshire: A Student Perspective (Part 2)
We feel that coronavirus news in the media is gradually starting to evolve from being dramatised to more balanced as the UK has reached the plateau and, more excitingly, a constant and steady drop in numbers of newly identified coronavirus cases since May.
Despite the fall in cases though, the government remains vigilant, putting “caution and safety first,” as the vast majority of the new cases were identified and traced via the current test and trace system. Thousands of contact tracers were recruited to interview people who have tested positive, meaning the government has information of their close contacts.
Another positive piece of news is that on the 7th June, it was announced the UK had exceeded its target to increase coronavirus testing capacity to 200,000 a day by the end of May; considering the current trend, it’s very commendable that the country has more capacity than it needs. As the trend is expected to drop continuously, the early success should be given credit to the coordinated hard work of all frontline workers, healthcare professionals, and cooperation of all citizens in the country.
Socially speaking, as cases have decreased, lockdown restrictions are starting being eased. The 2-metre distance rule has been decreased, to at least 1 metre between people. However, this 1m rule includes the use of some personal protective equipment, such as a face mask. This has normalised the use of face masks across the country and face masks are even mandatory in some places, such as whilst travelling on the train and other public transport.
Recently, I have met up with some of my friends in the Quarry (a spacious park in the centre of Shrewsbury). The park was quite busy as many people were spread out, enjoying the sunny weather we have been having. It felt like life was beginning to return to a sense of normality.
Furthermore, shopping is becoming a more normal experience here once again. I am able to shop in Shrewsbury and get everything I need from fully-stocked shelves and I feel the shops are a safe place as there are one-way systems in all shops to minimise contact between people. Even though shops are a reminder of normality, customers clearly remain aware of covid-19, shopping in a more diligent rather than leisurely way, only picking up and touching things they are paining on buying.
The country is opening up again too. From the July 4th there will be hairdressers, hotels, restaurants and several other services being allowed to open. However, some places for now are remaining shut, like spas and swimming pools. Although this is not best for the economy, it will allow the country to open up in a more staggered and safe way. These services will also be a little different from pre-coronavirus, as there will be social distancing and the use of PPE.
Many of my friends from other schools in Shropshire have returned to school and are currently having lessons on their school’s campus. They mentioned that the main differences are that there are seating plans in lessons and lunchtime rotas that ensure students can remain socially distanced from each other.
Rose, Cindy and Holly – 6.1
COVID-19 in Shropshire: A student perspective
Our names are Rose, Holly, and Cindy and we are currently in 6.1 at Concord College as ‘Day Students’ living very near the school in Shropshire. We are going to be writing a few blogs about the realities of the coronavirus here in the UK, as we feel it differs greatly from media portrayals. We seek to reassure overseas parents and students that are starting/returning to college in September.
Rose: It is understandable that the UK having the highest death rate in Europe is making overseas families anxious and everyone is entitled to their own viewpoint, but I would like to put these figures that the media constantly flashes into context. The majority of deaths occurring in the UK occur either in care homes or in hospitals. Care homes are a hub of elderly and therefore vulnerable people, whilst in the hospital patients tend to be also elderly or have a pre-existing health condition such as asthma, making them vulnerable to the virus. Studies show teenagers are not vulnerable to the virus, as the deaths for people aged 15-44 has not increased.
Of course, the virus should still be a cause for concern for teenagers and that’s why myself and everyone I know in the UK are continuing to socially distance, whereby we stay at least 2 metres away from people outside our own household.
Another significant point to highlight is that here in Shropshire, the death rate is below the average of other counties. We are in the countryside, sparsely populated with plenty of open space, making interaction with others infrequent. Therefore, the virus here is not the mad, wipe-out wave that the media portrays, but rather a gentle tide that just needs to be watched.
Holly: With the government’s position changing weekly and the decreasing number of deaths, it is important that we continue to implement the government’s set rules into our day-to-day lives.
Across the country, supermarkets and pharmacies remained open during the nation-wide lockdown. Shopping for essential goods was and is to be kept to a minimum. Non-essential shops will be starting to open up again on 15th June (provided they meet the government’s standards) after being closed since the 23rd March.
We are now allowed to meet up with up to five other people in the outdoors but must remain 2m apart to limit the potential spread of COVID-19. This is a drastic change when compared to the previous rule of not being allowed to meet with any more than two people outside of those in your household.
Aside from essential workers (for example NHS staff), employers are looking at how to safely bring employees back into the workplace. Some employers even thinking of implementing shifts to minimise contact between employees and thus any further spread of the virus.
Cindy: Whilst COVID-19 has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and created worldwide panic, as a Concord student, my life has been relatively different – much quieter and peaceful.
The world outside Concord has also changed drastically, as customers in essential shops such as supermarkets, must keep a 2-meter distance from each other; people are also frequently utilising face masks. Only one member of a family/household is allowed to be in the store at a time to avoid crowding but to ensure accessibility. Customers were advised to only touch items they intend to purchase and adopt cashless payments whenever they can to avoid any unnecessary contact. There are multiple cleaning stations, hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes installed in front of the stores for the use of every customer that is queueing to make their purchases. Currently, people are no longer panic-buying, as we once again are seeing fully stocked shelves. For those who do not want to make the trip to the supermarket, contactless home delivery options have become very popular, as whatever you need is brought to you right at your front door. Everything is being processed in a very orderly manner.
One thing I have really enjoyed during the lockdown is walking my dog every day, as I can appreciate the peace and quietness in nature. On the other hand, I have also been keeping myself very productive as I have been having online lessons daily. I am able to FaceTime my friends all over the world to catch up with them. Quarantine life is not too stressful here in the UK, though I do wish life could get back to normal in the near future.