BETHLEHEM AVTS NEWS by Liam Chavez - Studying the COVID-19 from Italy’s perspective
Health career students at the Bethlehem Area Vocational-School had the opportunity March 10 to Facetime college student Margherita Grillo, presently studying at Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia in Modena, Italy. Her family residence is located approximately 623 miles from the Università. Therefore, she is being restricted from returning home. Residents were told at the end of January to limit travels and stay home. Margherita said she feels residents did not heed the warnings issued by the government to restrict travel, possibly because many people believe the rules apply only to others.
Margherita is a cousin of one of the staff members, Nina Pardoe, at BAVTS. To bring the virus impact attention to health career students, the BAVTS staff held an interactive session with Margherita. She said Italians first heard of the virus at the end of January and felt nonchalant toward the disease, as they felt it was too far away from their home. Little did they realize that their region would be considered a red zone where residents are now in a lockdown situation which restricts travel for emergency situations only. After a brief exchange of introductions between Margherita and the students, they began their questions and answers.
Students had the opportunity to pose questions regarding the situation from her point of view. As of March 8, Margherita said, Italians were starting to be in low supply of bread and pasta. Here in the U.S. snow belt, it’s bread and milk.
A student asked about the space in their hospitals. As of that time, Margherita said, the public was informed that even if they did follow instructions and self-quarantine, hospital staff may have to choose whom they could provide care for.
Was the population preparing for this outbreak? She said nobody had been preparing because they didn’t realize how quickly the virus spread.
Unbeknownst to our students, within less than a week, they would be in practically the same situation of limiting travel and interaction with others. Empty store shelves, empty schools and increasingly empty streets are a few of the effects being experienced. COVID-19 was officially declared a global “pandemic” by the World Health Organization. Since then, the panic surrounding the virus has grown worse.
Governor Tom Wolf officially announced the closing of all K-12 schools in Pennsylvania for 10 business days beginning March 16. After the 10-days, an evaluation will take place to determine whether or not more time is needed.
Currently, some people foresee the schools possibly being closed for the remainder of the school year. At the same time, a big question facing school administrators right now is how exactly to go about online schooling. This problem is even more significant amongst the state’s career and technical schools because of how hands-on the work is.
The fact of the matter is that no one was quite ready for the effects COVID-19 would have. While many students are pleased by this inevitable leave of absence, others are concerned about things like graduation and sports. Most schools have seen their sports seasons either canceled or postponed.
Despite the fact that local school practices have been canceled, Liberty HS Head Baseball Coach Andrew Pitsilos says, “Liberty’s team will not give up and will continue to keep in shape, anticipating the time when they will play again.”
As for seniors, what will happen concerning graduation remains uncertain. I know that I have found myself a bit concerned when it comes down to whether I will graduate this year, this summer, or next year. Nothing is certain at the moment.
What is important now, though, is that we all do our parts in taking the necessary precautions to prevent the catching and spreading COVID-19. This includes washing hands, staying home, and practicing social distancing when in public. Otherwise, all we can do now is wait and pray that our government makes decisions that are in the people’s best interest.