In accordance with Governor Gavin Newson’s restrictions, a stay-at-home order was officially implemented in San Francisco on December 6. San Franciscans are required to shelter in place and refrain from meeting with anyone aside from their immediate household, even outside. Two weeks later, restrictions were lightened, but as of now, it is only legal for residents to meet with one other person outside of their home.
Before the stay at home order, many Urban students did not follow federal guidelines. According to a survey conducted by the Urban Legend, only 30% of students were social distancing. This time around, as restrictions tighten and COVID-19 cases rise, Urban’s administrators feel strongly that acting in accordance with regulations is paramount to the safety and wellbeing of society. “I get it when people tell you ‘don’t be a typical teenager’ of course you want to break the rules, but this is different,” said Dean of Students Charlotte Worsley. “By not following the guidelines, you could be causing someone’s death.”
A survey by The Urban Legend displayed that out of a sample group of 60 students, 11% of whom were quarantining before the stay at home order, 57.7% have sheltered in place after the change in regulations. The survey defined quarantining as only being in exposure to immediate family members, and was conducted before the legalization of maintaining socially distant contact with one person outside of the household .
“I am at a place where no one is at risk in my family, and where I feel it’s very important for my mental health to go see people,” said Gilbert Escalante ‘22, a student who has not been obeying the order, and whose name has been changed to maintain his privacy. “However, I used to be seeing large groups of people, but now I’ve cut it down to just my closest friends.” Out of students who reported they were not sheltering in place, 98% claimed that they were socially distant all of the time, or all of the time aside from a close group of 2-3 friends. Only 1 student responded that they have seen Urban students outside of a small bubble without any socially distancing.
However, forming a “bubble” with multiple people is technically breaking the law at this time. “Two weeks ago it made a lot of sense for students to form small social cohorts that they can maintain, especially if they are using good common sense but the current regulations forbid it, but now it is a different story,” explained Head of School Dan Miller. “We, as a society, a community, a school, are dependent on one another to make good decisions – not just for ourselves, but for everyone in our lives.”
Nevertheless, when asked whether or not they believed all Urban students should be obliged to fully shelter in place, only 39.1% of those surveyed voted yes.
Another anonymous Urban student ‘22, Ingird Carter, whose name has been changed to maintain her privacy, has been in a bubble with close friends and family during the stay at home order. Ingrid feels she could make it through another lockdown without her close friends if everyone was obeying it. However, she notes that when some students start to break regulations it is a different story. “At the very beginning of quarantine, I actually kind of liked being alone when everyone else was too because there was no reason to go out. But when other people don’t listen to the order and then you’re like ‘oh shit all my friends are hanging out without me,’ it gets pretty hard,” she said.
For the 57.7% who have been acting in accordance with the stay-at-home order, watching other students socialize has been difficult, to say the least. “I think it’s frustrating because I’m trying to be conscious and it’s really difficult to not be able to hug or see my friends like I kind of could before, and it sucks that people aren’t doing anything in precaution,” said Ariana Reynoso 22’, whose name has been changed to maintain privacy.
Worsley feels that no matter how hard it may be to stand alone and fight through peer pressure, it’s important for Urban students to stay strong and avoid seeing others in this difficult time. “This is what we train you for from the moment you’re in 9th grade,” Worsley said. “This is where you have to step up, this is the moment not to be selfish.”