With Covid-19 cases on the rise once again, many schools across the country have shut their doors for the coming weeks- Avonworth included. Students have expressed that they feel increasingly isolated from their friends, overwhelmed by virtual classes, and unsure about staying safe in the face of the pandemic. “With school it’s harder to get together,”  said senior Rowen Dziubek, “and increase in COVID cases makes it harder too.”

As frustrating as the situation might be, it has caused many to become more innovative with their social interactions. In a survey conducted for this article, 75% of respondents noted that they have been using video calls to hang out with friends. “My friends and I have a couple of group chats. We do google meets a lot and sometimes just talk or listen to music. Sometimes we all play among us,” said senior Sydney Wong. Junior Killian Horigan wrote that he has been “chilling on a discord call and playing video games.” Shared group chats were another sticking point, having been mentioned by nearly every Avonworth student who took part in the survey.

Looking to try virtual hangouts, or just plain missing seeing your friends every day? Utilizing a video platform everyone is comfortable with is a great place to start. For Avonworth, that would probably be Google Meets, which has the added benefit of not having a time limit. Games like Among Us are great to play, along with online card games or other apps. Screen-sharing a Netflix or YouTube favorite is another way to go- just make sure you have a strong network connection! Then, gather your friends, pets, snacks, and phone charger- and have fun!

While we hope that the pandemic will recede quickly, the reality of the situation isn’t lost on anyone. To keep your mental, social, and emotional health in balance, virtual hangouts with friends can be a great way to blow off steam after a stressful day, week, and year.

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