One Year (and more) Later…


Image courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

Paul Yoon, Staff Writer

The once busy streets packed with life were now empty.  The streets that once contained people pushing and fighting were now filled with trash bags and flying papers.  There was nothing.  Shops were closed and the once vibrant atmosphere that was known as the “Big Apple” ceased to exist.  The smells of car exhaust and hot dog grease were gone and replaced by the depressing smells of garbage. The few people that were outside, wore masks and looked as if they had not seen the sun in months.  The once lively and energy-filled Time Square had become nothing more than an empty parking lot.  It seemed as if the New York I once knew was gone. But beyond the empty streets, I could see the windows of small apartment buildings.  I could see movies playing and people doing at-home workouts.  Now one year later, the streets are filled again.  Businesses are open and I can see people eating outside.  Through all of the changes in the world, people still found ways to prevail and move forward.

In March of 2020, all New Jersey schools were announced to be closed for two weeks.  Little did students and teachers know, they would not return for the rest of the year. When initially hearing of the school closing, Sydney Zaikov, a CHS student, said that she was happy to hear that they would have essentially a two-week break. Another CHS student, Dylan Costa, said he was very happy that the school closed and that he would be able to train for soccer.  

During the initial lockdown, students were heavily discouraged from going out and were recommended to stay home and quarantine. During this extended period of isolation, many students changed and developed new skills.  Kevin Ovalle, a previous student of CHS, said, “During my time in quarantine, I really developed a love for knitting.”  Kevin added that he had knit over three pairs of socks during his time at home. 

After the email was released that Cresskill’s schools would be closed for the remainder of the school year, there were many mixed feelings.  Students were happy that they did not have to wake up early and go to school, but they were also upset that they were unable to see their friends and speak with their teachers.  Kevin said, “I really miss my buddies at school.  Yeah, school being closed is cool and all, but I miss the fun times at gym class and the lunchroom conversations.”  Both Dylan and Sydney said similar things as they both missed their friends at school.

Having so much time to oneself gives an opportunity for self-improvement. Due to the fact that Kevin had so much time to reflect upon himself, he really worked on becoming more studious over the quarantine. One of his major goals was to read more books and try to learn more about the world around him.  He said, “I decided to take a crack at War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.  It was a difficult read and I couldn’t finish it, but I was really proud that I made an attempt.”  Kevin now has extremely good grades in his new school, and he believes that it is thanks to the quarantine.  

Dylan also had a lot of time during his at-home lockdown. While alone, he also worked on becoming a better student.  Instead of reading books, he studied with an SAT practice textbook.  He worked on it for 30 minutes every day to slowly become more prepared for the upcoming standardized test.  Dylan believes that he has improved tremendously and he has a feeling that when he takes the real test, he will be prepared.

Sydney also learned to become much more independent over the quarantine.  She learned to do many things on her own such as mowing the lawn, cooking, and working. She is now more helpful around the house and enjoys doing activities on her own.

Not everyone has been lucky enough to be positively affected by the quarantine.  Many have not responded well to being in isolation for so long and symptoms of anxiety and depression have increased since last year according to It is important to realize and acknowledge that many students are struggling to deal with the new world that has been created due to COVID-19.  Whatever you can do to help others, you should do because it can change someone’s life for the better.