PARKLAND, FL- My life has completely changed since the COVID-19 outbreak happened: no hanging out with friends, no eating at restaurants, no going to school. I can’t go to the store, I can’t go to a friend’s house and if I want to talk to someone, I have to call them on Zoom!

I’m mostly worried about my Uncle Rick, because he is the Chief of Police in Fort Lauderdale and is a first responder. Then there’s my Grandma and Pop-Pop that live in Plantation. They don’t leave the comfort of their home, so I hope they stay safe too.

When I started going to school online, I didn’t think it would go well. I have been doing this for two weeks now and my classmates are comfortable with it, and I am too.

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School has less hours than normally because we don’t stop for recess, specials, lunch, or Book of the Day. I still finish about the same time as if I was in school because I read for an hour and “school” now doesn’t start ‘til 9 AM.

One good thing that makes me happy is that I can do many more things with my family, like play Bingo, go on walks, take bike rides, and watch movies. I’m becoming a pretty good blackjack player too! Also, I get to bake a ton. All of this is because we are staying at home. If the outbreak didn’t happen, we would have been too busy to do any of this because we would have karate, baseball, tennis, and Sunday School.

In the mornings I take a walk with my mom all around my neighborhood, and come back to eat breakfast. Then at night I go on a bike ride with my dad and my brother. In between that I bake cakes, cookies, banana bread, brownies and chocolate lava cakes.

I’ve started to watch The Office and some other shows on Netflix and my mom’s friend found something on YouTube called Some Good News (SGN) which talks about good news around the world. It’s funny and tells happy stories. When something bad like this happens, it brings out the good in people.

With all that said, I hope I never hear the word “social distancing” ever again.

Luke De Meo is a fifth-grade student at Riverglades Elementary School in Parkland.