No more pencils: students share how their backpacks have changed since COVID-19

Sophomore Keiichiro Sato shows his packed lunch and snacks for the day. COVID-19 has impacted Mid-Pacific students to carry different items in their bags as part of their regular school days.

Riko Santos, Staff Writer

The usual items students would bring before COVID-19 included their pens, pencils and notebooks. Now, student’s backpacks are filled with face masks, hand sanitizers and wipes.

Students who are learning in-person now follow safety measures such as social distancing and wearing face shields and masks.

Sophomore Reese McDonald said she cannot help fellow students and teachers the way she used to with the limited touch and interactions with others.

“I used to bring helping hands by being able to assist teachers and other classmates in the class, but now it is difficult because of social distancing,” said McDonald.

Junior Bethany Nakano said she likes that she doesn’t have to get up hours before school starts or fully get dressed for class. Nakano decided to learn online for the rest of the first semester.

“I don’t have to get ready, I just roll out of bed and log into class. It’s that easy,” said Nakano.

Some students said they have started to bring their personal laptops to class because some classes require students to be present on Zoom due to some teachers teaching online.

“My bag is now heavier because I have to carry my computer so I am able to join my Zoom call in class and work on my IPad, which is more helpful for me,” said McDonald.

Freshman Skye Choi said she also took accountability in bringing her own hand sanitizers, wipes, face masks and face shields.

“I carry two face masks and because they help keep me at a lower risk for COVID-19. I also use hand sanitizer and wipes because I want to keep others safe too,” she said.

Hula teacher Michael Casupang said the new lunch rules have affected him in ways such as how his occasional off-campus lunch runs have come to an end due to safety concerns.

“I used to be able to bring home lunch or I’d buy school lunch. However, now, you have to order ahead of time and I can’t just go down and buy just one meal. Like today, I didn’t get to eat lunch because I forgot to bring mine and you can’t go off campus to get anything because once you leave, you can’t come back,” said Casupang.

Now, students are bringing more food to school. Without the snack bar and caboose open for snacks, students cannot go to buy food on-the-go.

“I mostly bring my own lunch and snacks to school now. The reason for this is I can’t just go to the snack bar and buy food due to COVID, so I pack food that’s easy to carry around, and more importantly, easier to eat than school lunch underneath my shield,” said Choi.