Teens adjust to “new normal” in school and at work



Daily routines have changed greatly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. https://unsplash.com/license

Brigid McCarthy

As Communications High School students prepare to endure another school year through a global pandemic, they are saying one thing: bring it on. 

“I’m not sure anything about the pandemic really surprises me anymore,” said senior Charlotte Frick of Wall.

The shock and disbelief surrounding the early months of the nation’s public health crisis has somewhat worn off; now, teenagers are adapting to what has become “the new normal.” After spending the summer finding new ways to have fun, from outdoor drive-in concerts to distanced outdoor dining, CHS students are taking a few more weeks of remote learning in stride as they remain vigilant to future changes. 

“It’s hard to remember what life was like before any of this, where there could be enormous crowds and no one would think twice,” said junior Drew Lepping of West Long Branch.

Both Frick and senior Chad Fruscione of Marlboro commented on how comfortably mask usage slipped into our daily lives: another subtle difference from the world seven months ago.

“The past few months, wearing masks and being socially distant has become very second nature to me. Especially bringing masks everywhere and wearing masks,” Fruscione said. “I’ll leave my house and I’ll go into my car and I’ll be like ‘Okay, I have my wallet, I have my phone, I have my keys, I have my mask.’ It’s just a part of my daily routine now.”

“I’ve definitely gotten used to wearing masks, though I will occasionally realize half way down the street that I forgot to grab one before leaving. I hostess at a restaurant a few times a week so I’m used to wearing a mask for several hours at a time,” Frick said. “Everyday when you leave the house, you do the mental check of phone, keys, wallet, mask, hand sanitizer.” 

The adjustment to this new routine was not one that came easy. Governor Murphy’s ongoing executive orders in tandem with the changing infection rates and daily cases are making for a hectic year full of changing expectations. Lepping knows, however, that each time he wears a mask and social distances, “it’s for the greater good.”

“I still can’t believe that COVID was like a joke in February and no one was even concerned and we had no idea what was yet to come,” Lepping said.