Six months ago, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the state into lockdown for the COVID-19 pandemic, closing in-person schools and offices. Ever since, students and parents have had to get used to a new workspace; one much closer to the other members of their families. Students’ family relationships have been tested, causing changes in various ways.
“When COVID first started, it was like hell,” said Julian Marquit, a freshman at High School 1327 (HS 1327). Marquit’s dad had worked in the East Bay, but started working from home when the lockdown started.
“Immediately after lockdown, we didn’t really know what to do. Like my dad was figuring out his work scenario, and so was my mom, and everybody was fighting over who gets what space in the house, it was not good. There were Zoom lessons all over the place, so it was pretty hectic, and we did not get along,” Marquit said.
Kalina Kula, a senior at HS 1327, also recounted her family tensions in the early days of lockdown. “Definitely in the beginning of quarantine, it was really really hard. For the most part, all four of us were inside 24/7,” Kula said.
She also recalled dinner conversations getting repetitive, further straining relationships. “After two weeks of talking about the same thing every night I was completely done with seeing them. We were just snippy with each other. You know? If the wifi went down we would blame each other,” Kula said.
Eventually, tensions seemed to relax as families got used to what has become the new normal.
“We got into a routine. We woke up, did our Zoom lessons, we figured it out. I just sort of settled on the couch, and my sister settled in her room, and my mom used her studio in Fairfax, and my dad has his own home office. So yeah, we got our own little spaces, and got to work,” Marquit said.
As families were forced to spend much more time with each other, new bonds and closer relationships were formed. Many students found themselves forming a stronger bond with their fathers, who had normally been at work all day.
“I definitely feel like I’ve grown in my relationship with my dad, because he usually before this worked in San Francisco, and so now I get to see him in the afternoon, I get to cook lunch with him and run with him in the mornings,” said Sophia Nowlen, a sophomore at HS 1327.
Kula had a similar experience. “For my dad, I got to sit in on a couple of his calls this summer, which is kind of nice. That’s like a cool experience that came from this, because I see how he’s working online and what they’re doing and stuff like that,” she said.
Relationships with siblings have also seemed to improve among some students. Kula describes this happening with her younger brother, who’s a sophomore.
“I think, for me and my brother, we’ve gotten closer just talking about our calls, a lot of times complaining about our calls, so we’ve bonded over that a little bit I think…We’ll see each other between classes and I didn’t really see him at school before, so that’s kind of nice, like I get to see him more,” Kula said.
As students and families continue to work at home through lockdown, students’ relationships with their families continue to be tested. While many students wish lockdown would end, it looks like the time spent with their family could help strengthen bonds and bring them closer together.