BSA POV: Life After Quarantine

Jonah Kim

Governor Laura Kelly’s recent announcement of a four-phase plan to reopen the state begs the question of how will people live differently after coronavirus. With hundreds of thousands infected, restaurants, gyms and public facilities shut down and social-distancing guidelines applied in daily life, it will be difficult to go back to the way things were.

The first phase of reopening Kansas, which starts on May fourth, limits gatherings to ten people, with social distancing still enforced, but things like restaurants, pools and community centers will remain closed. During the second phase, most buildings will remain closed, but gathering limits will be increased to 30 people. The third phase will include a big jump: Kelly will raise the maximum gathering size to 90 people and allow all establishments to reopen as long as they follow guidelines. The last phase, called “phase out,” goes into effect no earlier than June 15th and allows most things to return to normal, albeit with social-distancing guidelines applied.

  No matter what restrictions are lifted, changes may be long-term or even permanent. Seabury students offered a variety of predictions for how the world will look after stay-at-home orders are lifted. Freshman Enzo Karam voiced his opinion, saying, “People are for sure going to be much more cautious. People will probably start to appreciate what they’ve got more than they used to and, hopefully, we treat the earth better realizing that it’s the only one we’ve got.” The sense of caution will certainly be there, especially around elderly people, infants and those who have respiratory issues.

Seventh grader Olivia Hazlett voiced a similar opinion on caution, saying, “We will probably subconsciously still do the whole social distancing thing because we’re so used to it now; it’s just habit.” The idea of social distancing has been strongly enforced throughout this lockdown, and it certainly will be interesting to see how long people will continue to practice it.

Sophomore Ivan Calderon focused on the business and economic impact: “I feel the heavy impact will be on a lot of small businesses and jobs for people who’ve had to file for unemployment or abandon their private businesses due to COVID,” he says. “I’m not entirely sure what’s going to happen, but I wouldn’t be surprised if smaller businesses downtown were still closed for a while. Of course carry out, delivery, and drive-throughs are becoming a necessary move for some restaurants, but what about those that don’t have that option? Some people are required to be physically present with their customers and or clients for their jobs, so this is going to be a heavy hitter on those that specialize in that field. In general, I believe that smaller businesses will lose their footing for a bit and need to regain their balance. Plus, people will hopefully be a lot more careful about spreading disease now that this has occurred.” 

Seventh grader Hazel Powers described a few things that this period of isolation will teach people: “[People] will  realize that they can work from home and don’t need to go into the office as much, and that quarantine seriously affects mental health.” 

With the plan to open Kansas going into effect and many waiting to return to their normal lives, it will be interesting to see how Seabury, Lawrence businesses and individuals respond.