The following articles are reprinted from the Titan Tribune, a newspaper written by students from the Miami Youth Academy, which is a commitment facility for teenage boys.
The newspaper is part of a journalism class run by Exchange for Change, a Miami nonprofit that teaches writing skills at MYA and adult correctional facilities.
The coronavirus has turned the world upside down. Here at MYA, four students tested positive and were isolated. Family visitation ended and classes went online, with our teachers delivering instruction from their homes. On this page and succeeding ones, you will read the feelings the virus has evoked in our students.
What it was like in isolation—First person reaction
By J. E.
It was really boring because all you’re doing is looking at four walls every day and thinking about life. I was feeling down because when I thought, I would think about my family most of the time. I also thought about what I’ve done wrong in life and my future — plans for when I go home. I spent time listening to music, writing in my journal, reading books and sleeping. As for having COVID-19, I really did not feel much, except for a bad chest pain. The virus was mostly like the flu, which was not a big deal for me. I was just trying not to spread it. But the virus is killing a lot of other people. Right now, I’m out of isolation and counting down my days before I get to leave.
By S. H.
Being isolated I felt down and depressed like I was going to lose it. It was really boring. I managed by sleeping throughout the day. I often thought about my family and their safety, due to the virus. I tried to keep my head up, but this virus is too depressing. I already lost a great aunt due to the virus. Being isolated makes you think hard about whatever it is you are going through.
By A. R.
They had to quarantine me because I had a high fever. Then, they tested me for the coronavirus and I came out positive. I started crying because people were dying. But I did not want to be one of them. After a few weeks, I thought I might be OK because my symptoms went away. I am not sick any
more and back in the classroom where I belong.
By T. H.
Cough, touch, sneeze
I’m sick and have wobbly knees Will I survive through the cold night? Or will I go where there’s no
light In the dungeon I must go
Stay away you must know
For I’m sick
Lord, have mercy on us
Reactions of students who were not isolated
By L. G.
The coronavirus is affecting me by keeping me from seeing my family on visitation day. I feel like it’s getting worse every day. When it first started, I thought it was not something serious. But as time went on, I started to see why people were going crazy over this. It caught me by surprise. One day I was in class watching the news and things were normal. Then, the next day, it was all hell. I really hope things can go back to normal.
By A. S.
I ain’t gonna lie, it’s been kind of hard to deal with the fallout from the coronavirus. But I don’t worry because it has not really affected me because I’m locked up. Some of my peers can’t handle it because they’re not built for this kind of stuff. The online classes are straight, but I would rather have school be in person. The only time it has really affected me is when my people were coming to see me but they canceled family day. It had me hot. Also, I felt bad for them boys in the back. Four of them got infected from the coronavirus and were put in isolation. Now, we have to wear masks, watch what we touch and do other stuff like that.
By Y. P.
(Translated from Spanish)
I really have experienced many thoughts about the coronavirus. Because it is very dangerous, we cannot be together with many people. Also, it is important to wash our hands so they stay clean and help us avoid getting infected. Also, it is important to wash our hands so they stay clean and help us avoid getting infected. Four students here in my program got the virus and were separated in isolation. They could not be with the other students for along time. Every day, they checked their temperature and monitored their health condition.
By D. M.
The coronavirus is getting worse before it’s going to get better. It has changed a lot in people’s lives. Too many people are leaving the earth because of an infection. I can’t even see my people where I am now because of Covid-19. Too much is happening all over this world. I’m waiting for the
cure to come out already. A lot of people who don’t deserve to leave too soon can get cured before it gets worse. Always stay six feet away from everybody and always wash your hands for any little thing you touch. The coronavirus is very serious. It’s no joke. A lot of people are too young to go
from this earth. I am worried about my grandmas and aunties and dad and mom. My auntie got the coronavirus and was not doing well, but she has recovered a little from it. Schools have been shut down along with all the other stores.
By J. S.
I have been locked up going on 11 months. When I first got arrested, time was not that bad. I could see my family, there was no six-foot distance, and there was no concern about going home to a stay-at-home order. But things have changed now. I think the most harmful experience I’m having is not being able to see my family. It is a hard transition from getting visitors every other week to none at all. Another hard experience is online school. School with the teachers in person has been a lot better than this online school. When I needed help with my work, I could learn hands-on, which is
the way I learn. Now it’s really complicated.