Students Find New Ways to Socialize Amid COVID-19 Distancing Measures

Norah Hussaini, Staff Writer

Due to COVID-19 safety regulations, opportunities for social interaction became more and more scarce. People started isolating themselves, and big events like award shows and concerts were canceled. Now, some students are looking for ways to socialize safely.

On Sept. 8, students returned to school online. Since then, almost all schoolwork has been virtual, leaving little room for socialization between students. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to interact with others, and some have found workarounds to their predicaments.

Sophomore Lola Galindo DeLeon has found a way to always be close to a friend for the entirety of quarantine. Sophomore Jaxie Niles and DeLeon have been seeing each other during the pandemic and have found ways to overcome the challenges.

“We’re around each other enough that we’re basically in the same germ pod,” DeLeon said. “There’s as much of a risk as there is with anyone in our family. It was definitely a lot of just trusting each other and trying to be reasonably safe.”

Similarly to DeLeon, freshman Mari Parzick joined a germ pod, a common way to hang out with friends without putting other people in danger. Germ pods are a group of two or three people that only hang out with each other, meaning they stay away from other people to keep the rest of the people in the germ pod safe.

“My study group, it’s inside, so we all stay at different sides of a table, we’re somewhat spread out while doing schoolwork,” Parzick said. “When I hang out with friends, I always hang out with them outside, we’re not allowed indoors. When I’m hanging out with the people from my study group we can be closer, but with others, we keep a distance. Regardless of who the group of people is, when we’re in public, we always wear masks.” 

Junior Mary Martinez has taken a more careful approach to hanging out with friends during quarantine. Instead of in person, Martinez has mostly been meeting online with her friends.

“At first I was pretty isolated, I FaceTimed with friends, and we played games online, and we would do group calls,” Martinez said. “We would play Pictionary and capture the flag online.”

Though Martinez, DeLeon and Parzick have all handled socializing during quarantine differently, they all share the opinion that big groups of people hanging out with no precautions is very unsafe. All three wondered why people wouldn’t just take the extra few steps to make sure no one was harmed during hangouts.

“I get it — you still wanna have fun and hang out with friends, but you have to realize there’s hundreds of thousands of deaths from this, and people are actually being affected by it,” Parzick said. “Even if you think, ‘It’s fine if I get it because I’m young, and I’ll get over it fast,’ it doesn’t matter. You have to think about the tons of people you could come in contact with and really affect.”