Students Walk Out As Protest For Not Shutting Down Schools; Virus Spreads Throughout City

“Yo, I don’t know what God put in the water on New Year’s, [coughing] but de Bruhsio just made it worse.” —Violet, also a Revolutionary

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Cover Image
By Aries Ho

After the coronavirus, more formally known as SARS-CoV-2, successfully invaded New York City in February, the number of cases has grown exponentially. Fury spread even faster than the virus itself throughout public schools after Mayor Bill de Bruhsio refused to shut down schools up until March 16. After we interviewed countless students across the city, a particularly well-spoken student, who wished to remain anonymous, from none other than Stuyvesant High School put it best: “It’s completely irresponsible for a man in power to put over one million students and the rest of the city at risk. Like, I get it, you couldn't become president, but that doesn't mean you have to try to kill us all. Just go on some sort of confessions page with your emotional breakdown like the rest of us," they said.

Students around the city seemed to agree. Thus, as teenagers these days often do, they decided to organize a walkout. After an event created on Facebook titled “de Bruhsio can’t stop us” went viral, over 75,000 people signed up, and unlike the Area 51 raids, everyone actually showed up with posters and makeshift facemasks ready. The event took place in Times Square, where it was eerily deserted, perfect conditions for what was planned. Many students coughed as loudly as possible as a form of expressing their anger with the way the situation was being handled by the government. When I joined them there, I had the pleasure of meeting the organizers of the event, both of whom were students from Stuyvesant.

“This disease is truly something bigger than us. Like, the seniors haven’t even claimed it as a senior tradition yet,” Joseph said. Their partner in crime, Violet, agreed, adding, “We may not have hand sanitizer, toilet paper, or proper face masks, but that’s not important. What’s important is the thought. Everyone is so focused on this one thing and winning this battle that everything else is forgotten about. It’s also essential that we promote diversity: we have people wearing surgical masks, construction masks, gas masks, paper masks, cloth masks, Halloween masks, and moisturizing aloe vera with honey masks. It's truly a sight to behold.” As a finale to the walkout, Joseph and Violet did the smooching thing, and everyone in the crowd followed in order to promote love and positivity in these trying times, of course.

Joseph and Violet have been known to throw successful revolutions like this. Just recently, they overthrew the monarchy for taking their WiFi. Well sort of; it was more just Violet being irresponsible and letting that lizard sneeze on the prince. Maybe the lizard had the coronavirus. Either way, I also asked them why they chose to organize a walkout as their form of protest, to which Joseph responded, “It worked so well for climate change and gun control that we knew it was absolutely necessary for pushing for the shutdown of public schools. #thisiswhatanactivistlookslike.”

However, over the next few days, events took a turn for the unexpected. At around 3:00 a.m. two days later, hospitals around the city were bombarded with phone calls from students requesting to be tested for the virus. The doctor at the hospital I visited explained how they expected something like this to happen. I would give you their name, but I couldn’t hear much of what they said through their bubble of protective gear.

“We all knew something like this would happen,” the doctor told me. “If de Bruhsio closed schools like everyone on Twitter was yelling at him to do, we would not be facing such extreme circumstances right now.”

Currently, over half of the students who attended the walkout have been confirmed to have the coronavirus, and since they probably have come into contact with other people, more are expected to be confirmed later on today. Around 10,000 of the people affected are considered to have severe cases of the virus, but according to the circulation of coronavirus memes on Instagram, they should be able to recover eventually. One of the student organizers was hospitalized and could not join us for an interview today. However, she left us a message which read, “Yo, I don’t know what God put in the water on New Year’s, [coughing] but de Bruhsio just made it worse.”

Some students voiced their support for coming into school during the outbreak. When a poll (or five) was created in each “Dear Incoming” Facebook group regarding the question of whether students were going to attend school the next day, a number answered “yes.” When asked for their reasoning, many replied with things like

“I still have to get my Chipotle gift card from winning SING! assassin, dude.”

“Lol, boomer disease.”


“The College Board keeps ripping us off; they planned this whole thing so they could suck out money away.”

With the onslaught of the coronavirus, the school staff has been working nonstop, having very little time to eat, sleep, or maintain their hygiene. Several well-respected Stuyvesant teachers have written articles begging for New York City schools to close, but as we should know by now, Mayor de Bruhsio cannot read—he couldn’t even discern the difference between quarantines and angsty teens. When New York needed the former, it got the latter.

It is truly a tragedy to be written into our AP U.S. History textbooks; such intelligent minds, those who were possibly the most prepared out of all of us to fight this virus, have succumbed to its grip. It seems as though nothing can stop COVID-19: not the last Lunchables at your supermarket or the extra rolls of toilet paper. Every person for themselves. Stay updated and stay safe, everyone.