Giulia: “Vaccinate older teachers and students, give us back the school, give us back the air”

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“These are strange days of strange weeks, everything that until recently was normal is no longer normal and seems only the memory of a distant time. The world has discovered an enemy as small and invisible as it is fearsome that brought him to his knees and almost stopped him completely. It is a virus, it is called Sars-CoV-2 and causes Covid-19, a difficult disease to cure for which there is still no vaccine or specific drug. This virus has caused an unprecedented emergency in our lives and has disrupted what used to be our normality.

Now, for example, I’m writing a theme on the pc, I’m not holding a pen in my fingers as I always did and I’m not using a sheet of paper. If I write wrong or I have to rephrase a sentence, I don’t have to draw any lines or use the corrector on the wrong words but delete by pressing a key on the keyboard. It is a new experience that I have to get used to living, which who knows how long it will last. I’ve been in quarantine since mid-February and my life has completely changed in two and a half months».

This was what I wrote a little less than a year ago, at the beginning of April 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, shortly after the schools were closed until a later date, when nothing was known, when fear and disorientation they were strong enough to be tangible. When I thought that in a few weeks we would go back to school and we would be able to finish secondary school normally, or at least as was considered normal until then. Almost a year has passed now. Like my companions, I took the third-grade exams on video call, I have hardly seen my friends or my professors anymore.

Summer, however, seemed to have given back a semblance of normality, the feeling that everything was about to end, so much so that in September we started school in person. I started high school, the classic, a new experience in which anxiety and enthusiasm mixed well. I found new mates but never really saw them in the face: in class we have always had masks. I discovered their faces through social media and video lessons. Because yes, after a few weeks we are back to live through a computer screen, closed in our homes. Lessons in dad, between connections that jump, technical problems, audio that comes and goes… Greek lessons like that, because otherwise it wouldn’t have been difficult enough!

Compared to when I wrote that essay, many things have changed. For example, now there is the vaccine and the vaccination campaign has started, bringing with it an endless and exhausting trail of controversy. However, I will not be able to do it because I have not even turned 15, I can hope that most adults do it, thinking of us too, to give us some freedom, the feeling of the cold morning air as we go to take the means to go to school.

Honestly, after months of seclusion, I lost enthusiasm, I feel tired, without interest, without desire. In the morning I struggle to get up and doing anything is heavy. I wonder why I should do anything if my life is suspended and still between four walls. My maximum freedoms are to go for a walk in the countryside when the dpcm and the colors allow it and go to study with my aunt, always obviously when allowed by the rules and compatibly with the fact that she is in smart working.

During the first lockdown I discovered the app Google Arts & Culture per visit museums online (I finally “visited” the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, directly from my bedroom) I tried to cook, with not exactly excellent results, sharing these experiences with my 9 year old sister. In short, somehow I enjoyed it.

Now, however, I am in the throes of despair and I wonder when all this will end. I miss the life from before, I miss school and only now realize how lucky I am to be able to go; I miss joking with my classmates, being in class and seeing the professors explaining in person, feeling the human warmth.

I have the feeling that we are just considered idiotic teenagers, spoiled kids who only have pretensions. We represent a terrain of fake political clashes, a way to recover some votes, but in reality no one is really caring about us and our future. With school you don’t understand anything. Nobody can find a solution to an issue as important as school, let alone everything else. Because our life shouldn’t just be about school, there would also be hobbies, sports and friends. We are denied everything, we are denied an education in presence, we are denied the opportunity to socialize, to make new friends, and even to fall in love.

I feel exhausted and tired, I’m getting used to being a shadow wandering around the house and discovering the world only through a PC and social media. And I am among the lucky ones to have these tools and to be able to have a form of entertainment!

But for us, going on like this, there is no future. Together with the most fragile sections of the population, vaccinate teachers, vaccinate students over 16, give us back school, give us back the air!

Giulia Pugliese 1 A Liceo Classico “S.Quasimodo” Magenta (MI)

You can send your letter to the school at: lettere@vanityfair.it. The letters are published in the special Dear School, I am writing to you …

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