By Nathan Ham
Getting some young people to understand the importance of following social distancing warnings and staying home as much as possible has been a problem at times. By now, everybody has seen the spring break footage on Florida beaches from last week and the week before.
For three Appalachian State students, they quickly realized that this worldwide pandemic is a serious situation.
Elly Murray is a senior getting ready to graduate and a former intern at the High Country Press. She has continued working locally in the High Country and she says when she got a call from her mother a couple of weekends ago, which was when the situation started to set in with her.
“I was telling her about going to church the next day and she says ‘you can’t go to church’ and we had a whole big argument about it but ultimately she was right. You really can’t think about yourself – you might get sick and be fine – but you have to worry about the other people you will infect and therefore stay at home as much as possible,” said Murray. “So that’s what I’ve been doing, basically staying in my house all day.”
Elly works at a local grocery store and has limited herself to working just a couple of shifts here and there. She’s also seen first-hand all of the work done to keep the store clean.
“At work, they are taking extra care to wipe down carts every time they are used. We are wearing gloves, washing our hands a lot and wiping things down constantly,” she said.
Most App State students have left Boone and remained at their homes since spring break. However, Elly says students she does know that have decided to stick around the High Country say they are all staying in their houses a lot more and having fewer interactions with friends.
“I think everyone here in Boone is doing a really good job at trying to be preventative,” said Elly.
Syd Moore is another senior at App State that is getting ready to graduate with a degree in recreation management with a focus in hospitality management.
“I was really excited about graduation so with that being canceled, that’s a bummer. I love App State, I love Boone, I’ll be sad to see it go, and the fact I have to leave my apartment now is really sad too,” says Moore.
Moore said between conversations with her parents and the university announcement saying that spring break had been extended and classes would be transitioned to online-only, that was when everything on the news really came into focus.
“App State wouldn’t do that unless something was wrong. Once the university did that, it was like, okay, we need to figure this out. We probably need to go home and not be around other people right now. I think it is the only way to stop the curve and I wish more people were actually doing it. Even though we are supposed to be self-isolating, I can still see people going out and about. At my apartment complex people are still getting together and playing basketball,” said Syd. “I get it, I’m stir-crazy too, but right now we just need to stay at home and stop the spread – especially in Watauga County – with our cases you just never know where it could be.”
Another senior who left Boone and decided to stay with her family in Charlotte is Danni Miranda-Hernandez. She’s a psychology major with a concentration in business that will graduate this spring. She says she went home for spring break and has stayed there to help out her family.
“I have two parents that have health issues so I’m trying to practice everything that is being recommended with social distancing, washing my hands constantly, and using hand sanitizer,” said Danni. “It’s been very difficult because I’m the one that goes out shopping because I’m scared for my parents – and there are lots of people that are not following the guidelines so that brings me lots of concern.”
Miranda-Hernandez says that her friends are taking this seriously.
“I have one friend who works in a supermarket and she is afraid about exposing the virus to other people, especially the elderly, and I have another friend who has issues with her immune system, so she is afraid to go outside just to get her basic needs,” she said.
Danni also hopes that people will stop buying so much stuff at the grocery store that they don’t need to have so much of.
“When my parents and I went shopping, everyone was running around like it was the end of the world. Everything was out of stock. I hope they will stop buying things in bulk and I hope my generation will pay more attention to this and realize this is actually real and not a hoax,” Danni said. “I hear people saying it’s not that big; it’s like the flu. Yes, the flu can kill people but this can kill more people at a larger rate. People need to pay attention to this because they are causing more damage than good.”