John McLaughlin and Johanna Martinez

Celebrating love and friendship during a pandemic has become a test for people across the country. Relationships have been affected ever since COVID-19 began to take its toll in March of 2020.

Viviana Cedillos, a senior at El Paso High School has had to adjust being away from people she’s close to with the use of technology.

“I would say that my relationships and friendships have been affected because I am simply not able to be physically in contact with them,” Viviana said. “Usually, I like to hug my friends and be really close to them, go out and have fun, but now, we just communicate through technology.”

Viviana also mentioned that the way her parents took social distancing and quarantine affected the way she would do things, and how she can’t stop doing her activities just because people are afraid to go out.

“My parents were really strict with the idea at first, but eventually they started letting me go out little by little. I also have to go out to go to work, and I also have to go to practice for my sports and extracurricular activities,” Viviana said.

Now that Viviana’s parents let her go out with friends a bit more, it does not mean that other people are reacting the same way. Everyone handles social distancing differently, some people don’t like to go out at all, and some people do.

“But I also have certain friends where their parents are very strict about Covid and won’t let me see them, but I do have other friends that I am able to see,” Viviana said. “There are certain friends that I do have to take precautions with and there’s other friends where we are just able to let ourselves go because we trust that we are taking precautions around other people.” 

For some families, the pandemic has worked as a way for them to get closer due to the amount of time they’ve spent together.

“I think this has affected me and my family in a good way because I simply have spent more time with them and gets us closer together because we usually did not spend this much time around each other. But I definitely feel like I have made closer relationships with my siblings and my parents and I think it has been a good thing for my family,” senior, Julie Ortega said. 

Although Julie appreciates the time she’s been able to spend with her family, she’s missed the time away from friends.

“Covid sucks, I can barely see my friends and I am just stuck at my house not being able to do anything, I just want the vaccine to be out already,” Julie said back in October.

Even though some families build a stronger bond, Viviana said that it doesn’t mean that everyone in her family thinks spending time with each other is a good idea.

“I do have certain family members that are very strict about the situation and were not able to see them as much. They get very anxious and they’ll start asking a lot of questions about who I’ve been hanging around and if I go out,” Emma McLaughlin, a middle school student at Mountain West Montessori said. “Covid has not only just affected people from high school.”

The pandemic forced schools to begin classes virtually and since Jan. 18 has gone to a hybrid format with most students still working from home while less than 200 attend face-to-face instruction every day except Wednesdays, an asynchronous day. 

Senior, Shalom Armijo said, “Since COVID, I haven’t had much communication with my friends, because I am in my classes all day, and after I am tied in to homework.”

Some students have felt the negative impacts of the pandemic more harshly than others. 

“Covid has affected me really negatively because all my friends have family members that are really prone to the virus so I haven’t been able to see any of my friends during this whole time and it sucks really bad,” Emma said. 

Technology has offered people new avenues to communicate with the use of text messaging, FaceTime, Zoom and other video calling software, but that has not been universally welcomed by everyone.

“I haven’t lost any friends, but contact is way harder now because to communicate with someone I have to be on my phone and texting all the time. But that’s really hard for me because I don’t like texting,”  Shalom Armijo said.