View From a Pandemic: A Kids’-Eye View

Allyson on the trampoline in her backyard with her brother.

TEXT AND IMAGES BY THE FEATURED KIDS AND THEIR RESPECTIVE PARENTS


Kids, too, have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, so we’re happy to add their voices to our View From a Pandemic series. Meet four American kids, all 10 or 11 years old, who have experienced various forms of lockdown from perches all around the world. In June and July they took the time to write about it for us.

Allyson in small-town East Tennessee, USA

Hi! My name is Allyson, and my experience with COVID-19 was like this…I was at home with my dad and my brother. We would get up around 9 o’clock every morning, start to do schoolwork around 10, and we would usually finish schoolwork at lunchtime every day. We would never go to stores, but on my mom’s way home from work at a hospital, she would go to the store when we needed something.

When Covid started, me and my brother went to our grandparents’ house for schoolwork, but when Covid started to get worse, we stopped going to their house because we didn’t want to get them sick. By then my dad was working from home.

Me and my brother like to play with my dad. He got a lot of bird feeders, and we liked to watch the birds. My brother and I liked to learn the different birds and their names. One of my favorite birds are robins. I know the difference between the males and females, I know they can have up to three clutches in a year, I know they usually have four eggs in each clutch, and I know that they eat worms.

There was a family of robins that lived under our deck, and my dad put a camera on the deck, so we got to watch the four babies grow up from eggs and fly away.

Allyson and her brother’s annual Easter photo.

Allyson’s home where she spent so much time with her family.

The baby robins who lived under Allyson’s deck.


Brendan in Bangkok, Thailand

In Thailand our quarantine was hard. Almost nothing was open because of lockdown after lockdown. But somehow we managed to find things to do. We played board games and had fun together. We occasionally took a walk to the park. And since we lived in an apartment, we got to play with our friends because they were also quarantined. We had online school on most days.

This cycle went on for some weeks until things reopened. When the city opened up again, it opened little by little. We got to go to malls again and travel around Thailand. We got to have socially distanced dinners and even went on a beach vacation with friends!

During quarantine, I think that we have all gotten more grateful for the things we have, that we all are excited for the reopening of cities all around the world.

Brendan’s apartment building in Bangkok.

Brendan and his brother getting some exercise outside the apartment.


Erica in Beirut, Lebanon

A more run-down part of Erica’s city, viewed from her apartment.

It was the middle of March in my sixth-grade year when they announced that school would be closed for the next week because of the coronavirus. It was no surprise, because everyone knew about the virus and why it was so threatening. That week was really fun. Nothing was closed, and I could go to the mall and ride my bike.

Then the schools closed “until further notice,” and malls, parks, restaurants, and other businesses closed as well. We started doing our schoolwork on the internet. Zoom calls, PowerPoints, and Microsoft Word became a part of our daily lives. A big turning point for me was when we started keeping a box with alcohol spray, Clorox wipes, latex gloves, and masks on the shoe cabinet in front of the door. It made me realize that this pandemic was a big, scary thing that I couldn’t hide from. It took some time for me to accept that.

After a while I got into a routine. I usually wake up at around 8 o’clock, eat breakfast, do my schoolwork, attend any Zoom meetings, then just watch Netflix. I usually wear pajamas or a big T-shirt and shorts all day. Now that I’m at home all the time, I’ve had a chance to do things that I didn’t have time to do before. I’ve taken up new hobbies, updated my bucket list, and gotten in touch with people that I haven’t talked to in a while. Maybe there is a blessing hidden in this curse. My advice to anyone is not to focus on the things that are hard, but to focus on the good things that are coming out of this mess. 

Editor’s note: Thankfully, Erica and her family were unhurt and their home was very minimally damaged by the devastating explosion that rocked Beirut last Tuesday, August 4.

Erica’s guinea pigs, Auggy (front) and Olaf (back), with whom she spent a lot more time during lockdown.


Reni in a village north of Tirana, Albania

Reni looking out at his village’s street from the wall around his family’s home, the extent of his freedom.

My name is Reni, and I live in Albania with my parents and my sister. The first time we realized coronavirus was coming close was when we were traveling in late February to Hungary for a conference. It was strange to see some people on the airplane wearing masks. At the conference I got sick with food poisoning, and my parents were really worried about flying back home to Albania because officials started doing temperature scans at the airport when you arrived. Thankfully, I got better and my fever went away before we had to return to Albania.

Not long after that, coronavirus did come to Albania. Very strict rules came quickly after that. We could not leave our house without permission. For more than 50 days, kids were not allowed to go anywhere—only one adult per family could ask permission to leave for buying food or medicine. Thankfully, we live in an apartment above a community center that my parents run—not in an apartment building like many people we know in the city—so we have a small space outside.

Every afternoon our family would go outside and throw a football, play basketball, or color with chalk. Our family even started a garden from seeds we already had. I missed not being able to see my friends in person, but I liked the extra time with my family. I liked that it was quiet for a while, because our schedule is usually very busy. I was really disappointed that the visitors we were supposed to have from America could not come. July 4th weekend, though, I got to see my best friends who came to visit from Kosovo.

Tourism is really important here, so Albania reopened its land borders. We do not go to the beaches because they are usually very popular with tourists and crowded, but we went for three days in June and they were not so full. Our family plans to take small trips this summer to see new things we have not seen before and help the economy.

Reni playing Sorry with his mom and sister.

Reni and his sister on their deck.

Reni throwing a football outside his home, but inside the walls, during lockdown.


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