US: What Living Through a Pandemic Is Like for Kids

Thanks to coronavirus-induced isolation, countless kids are cooped up at home right now, trying along with the rest of us to make sense of what’s going on around them. So we asked the children of Slate writers and editors to write about what they’re feeling, what their days are like, what they’re afraid of, and what they miss about school. If your child would like to write a coronavirus diary for Slate, email

Sam Cook, age 9, Maplewood, NJ                                              
All this stuff about the coronavirus is really weird. A couple of days ago I was going to pick up my mom and I saw someone wearing a mask even though there aren’t any cases in my town (yet). My dad came in from a run and said, “There’s nobody out on the streets.” I feel like it’s getting very chaotic, you know, everything closing. My parents are worried that the stores and restaurants we like will go out of business. I’m really annoyed that we have to take 2 hour classes on our Chromes at home. Some family friends of ours have to take classes all day on Skype, so I guess I shouldn’t be complaining. I’m not anti-screens, don’t get me wrong, but I would rather see my friends all day. I really don’t like that kids are spreading rumors about COVID-19, it’s annoying and it’s scaring some kids. Well, uh, bye.

Harry Cook, age 11, Maplewood, NJ
My friend just texted me that the schools are closing! Yesssssssssssss noooooooooooooo. I don’t know how to feel about it. On the one hand, ThIs Is EvErY yOuNg BoYs DrEaM! But on the other hand, I’ll have to occupy myself for two friggin weeks. I know that everybody hates school, but whether you like school or not, it still occupies a kid for six hours of the day. So if my calculations are correct (robot voice calculating. X x Y + A = G), school occupies around 25% of your day, depending on how long your school day is. And sleep takes up anywhere from 8-11 hours of your day, which is somewhere around 45% of your day (I have an A in math, not tryna brag though). Which leaves you with, somewhere between 3-5 hours to occupy yourself, not including weekends, half days, delayed openings, etc. My family and I went on a hike together. The day was actually pretty good. I’m still upset at my parents though. They won’t let me listen to music with bad words in it. I’m in 6th grade! MIDDLE SCHOOL.


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