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Features Magazine News Volume 69, Issue 7

Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak Review

Graphic by Al McLeroy

The new Netflix Original documentary series, Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak, is a beautifully shot documentary with a very unique angle on the spread and management of pandemics. The most important thing to clarify is that it’s not a scientific documentary, it’s about the socioeconomic effect of viruses. When you finish the series you won’t come out learning the chemical makeup of a virus, but how governments and communities manage these outbreaks and how it affects the average person.

Critics and regular viewers had a lot of negative things to say about the show. For instance, users on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes called it a “Reality TV Show,” the reason being that the documentary does not go into the specifics of how viruses spread and mutate, how vaccines are made, or anything remotely related to the actual science around them. Viewers believed that the show lacked focus on what they believed to be the main idea of the series. What these users say is all very true, though there is more to Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak than that.

The series follows a variety of different people, such as a team of scientists creating a universal vaccine, a small Oklahoma county’s only doctor, a worker giving vaccines to immigrants crossing the southern US border, an anti-vaxxer parent, the lead manager of an ebola outbreak in Africa, and plenty more. It follows the stories of these people’s lives and how they respond to a worldwide pandemic.

The production quality of the show is fantastic. The shots are excellent, the editing of all the interviews makes the show flow very well, and it does a good job to keep viewers invested with both heartbreaking and heartwarming moments. I believe the “Reality TV” angle the producers took for this documentary is exactly what people want to and need to see. For most people, knowing all about the scientific side of pandemics isn’t very important, but knowing the effect it will have on them and their community is. Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak succeeded in its goal to give people the information they needed in a time of fake news and misinformation.

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Features Magazine News Volume 69, Issue 7

Journaling during Shelter-in-Place

by Stella Chapital

Graphic by Christy Knudson

Today people are undergoing a situation of uncertainty with hundreds of assumptions, thoughts, and worries flying through their heads.

 Journaling can help control feelings of confusion and other strong emotions, also while helping organize thoughts and help one from feeling overwhelmed. Anyone can journal, even if writing sounds like something out of your comfort zone, it can really improve mental health and increase motivation. 

Many students right now are surely experiencing fear, stress, and confusion, all on top of trying to figure out online school. Sophomore, Trinity Keefer said, “Well, I think in times like these where people don’t necessarily have their friends or family to talk to it can be helpful to be able to let go of how we feel by writing it down. It makes you feel like you aren’t going through this alone and will help you release the stress that the media and current situation in our world is causing.”

Rather than keeping those emotions inside, some have found writing is a great way to calm yourself down and collect your thoughts.  Journaling also can inspire creativity which will eventually take part in curing boredom and will help pass time during social distancing.   

Sophomore, Sydney Mauer said, “It could help a lot because when you self isolate, you can get bored, and its something to do. Also if going to talk to a teacher or friend is how you get your feelings out, journaling can be a way to do that while staying alone.” 

Rather than being unproductive, you can use journaling as a way to grow emotionally and otherwise. Ever since the shelter-in-place has been enacted, mental health has been more important than ever, and just journaling a small goal or plan is largely beneficial to your well being.

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Features Magazine News Volume 69, Issue 7

Easter From Home

By Roxy Schneider

Graphics by Christy Knudson

Easter  means getting up early in the morning, running downstairs to see what the Easter Bunny had brought you, getting all dressed up and pretty for church, going to brunch, and then eating all the candy you got. 

Psych! Since you can’t do a lot of those things, here are some fun things you can do this Easter.

Don’t have plastic eggs to hide? No problem! You can hide real eggs. Real eggs work just as well. To make them decorative,you could dye then, or use a sharpie to draw faces on them, or even write a little message to whoever finds it. The hunt can get a little messy if someone drops an egg or your pet finds one and decides to make it a snack. 

Can’t do a nice Easter brunch? Why not make a grilled cheese bar? All you need is whatever food you have in your house. Any type of bread you have works. Ciabatta, Whole Wheat, Whole Grain, even moldy bread works. Once you lay out the bread then you put the cheese. Then comes the extras; pickles, onions, ketchup, sour cream, and peppers, whatever your heart desires. Once your masterpiece is complete, throw it into the pan and listen to that cheese sizzle. 

While you’re waiting for that cheese to melt, grab a paper plate and start drawing. Draw away till your cheese is melted. To make things a little harder, create a competition of who can draw a quarantined Easter Bunny the fastest. . Winner takes all the glory. 

No matter what your plans are to do this Easter, make sure you do it with your loved ones and most importantly have fun during this hard time.

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Magazine News Volume 69, Issue 7

COVID-19 Does Not Discriminate

by Katelyn To

Graphic by Madison Laxamana

Xenophobia is disliking or prejudice against people from other countries. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, xenophobia and racism rose to higher grounds all around the world, specifically towards those of Asian descent, regardless of whether Asia is someone’s birthplace. 

On March 16, Donald Trump posted on Twitter: “The United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus.” That tweet earned him backlash from many, including Asian-Americans. In response to this, junior Sarah Long said, “Because he has many avid followers, they follow in his example and start to harbor dislike for Chinese people. People like this are usually close-minded and make assumptions, so they generalize and start to hate all Asians.” Additionally, junior Lorraine Pracale said, “Just because it started in China, does not mean it is a ‘Chinese virus.’ It may have started there, but it ended up spreading to countries all around the world, regardless of race. No country is immune, and anyone can carry it.”

Racism also spread outside of America. In London, a 23-year-old man named Jonathan Mok was brutally attacked simply because he is Asian. Mok heard people shouting “coronavirus” before four people assaulted him. Also in London, the Affordable Art Fair exhibition dropped Vietnamese artist An Nguyen. An email sent to her stated, “The coronavirus is causing much anxiety everywhere, and fairly or not, Asians are being seen as carriers of the virus. Your presence on the stand would unfortunately create hesitation on the part of the audience to enter the exhibition space.” Long said, “It doesn’t benefit anyone when Asian people are being accused of having the virus but have no evidence to back the claim up. All it does is create more xenophobia.”

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Features Magazine News Volume 69, Issue 7

Las Lomas Alumni Reactions to COVID-19

Graphic by Zeyada Negasi

Many businesses, schools, and lives have been upended and canceled by the coronavirus, or COVID-19, as Las Lomas High School moved to online learning on March 13th, and a shelter-in-place order was placed over Contra Costa County three days later, on March 16th. However, before the alarm was raised in the East Bay, many universities and colleges had already started the transition to online learning, canceling future events and sending students home.

At Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles, students were on spring break the week of March 8th, when their classes were canceled and moved online, and students were strongly encouraged not to go back to LA. Simone Millan, a Las Lomas alumnus who now attends Loyola, traveled back to Walnut Creek for spring break but ended up staying after the announcement. “Being home [and doing school] has been interesting…I feel like I’m going to DVC,” Millan responded when asked about how she was settling into online classes. “We [the students] wanted them [school administration] to hold off [going to online learning], but we understood why they canceled it so early…It’s disappointing, but it needed to happen.” She added. “They handled it all pretty well, considering.”

Up in Oregon, at the University of Portland, classes were moved to online, and students were ordered to move out five days after the school announced their move online. CJ Cabungal, a Las Lomas alumnus who now attends the University of Portland, traveled back to Walnut Creek after being ordered to move out of her dorm on March 17th. In Portland, students got the notice that they would be moving to online learning on March 12th, that they would have to move out by the 17th and that they would start video-chat classes the next day. “A lot of [the professors] don’t have a lot of experience teaching on an online platform…If they have adequate training [in how to teach online], they basically just give lectures,” Cabungal said.

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Features Magazine News Volume 69, Issue 7

Coronavirus: A Senior’s Perspective

When I texted my mom everyday to convince her before lunch to excuse me from my sixth period statistics class, not going to school and moving to online is not what I meant. May first is when school is supposed to restart, many are unsure about what will happen, the possibility of school resuming after that  is slim but not none as new information about coronavirus comes out daily. 

Senior Kate Cashion said, “The coronavirus has made me feel very anxious about making the most out of my senior year. I feel like I’m going to miss out on a lot of memories with my family and friends.” 

As most of us are practicing social distancing and self isolation, we have not been able to have normal interaction with our friends and extended family. I imagined this part of my senior year filled with good memories and spending time with my friends and family that I won’t be able to have within the next four years, but once we are off a quarantine the times will be short but will make up for all the time spent apart. Activities like Ball and Graduation are coming up and I would hate for these events to be cancelled or moved to a later date because I want to have these memories with my friends before it’s too late to move to the next chapters in our lives, but of course everyone’s health is and should be the first priority. With the possibility of the rest of the year being canceled this brings a lot of anxiety to all students and parents especially those who are preparing to make college decisions. Emmi Farell, a senior at Las Lomas, had plans to visit colleges over spring break to help her make a decision but now she can’t. I had a trip planned to New York to meet students and maybe a few roommates in late April but the hotel canceled our reservation due to the severity of coronavirus in New York City. Most schools have pushed back the decision deadline from May first to June first to relieve some stress so hopefully the spread of this virus can get under control so people can travel and choose where they want to spend the next four years. We can only hope coronavirus gets under control so we can have the things we’ve waited four years for; the senior barbecue, reflections, ball and walking across the stage in a cap and gown to get your diploma then finally flipping the tassel, because let’s be honest a zoom graduate wouldn’t feel all that special. 

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Features Magazine News Volume 69, Issue 7

COVID-19: Our Solution for Climate Change?

by Ally Hoogs

Las Lomas students are currently restricted for 3 weeks inside their houses while shut-downs of all non-essential businesses continue to ramp up throughout the state, leaving the climate to its own devices

A freshman mentioned that fewer factories “have not been running as much, [making] a lot less smog,” they noted in areas like Venice and China, which has witnessed many transformations in the past several months. 

The new respiratory disease that ignited in late February has grown so far as to be a global pandemic, but it may be their solution to a better climate.

NASA reported that this year, 2020, “values in eastern and central China were significantly lower (from 10 to 30 percent lower) than what is normally observed for this time period.”

In the same report, nitrogen dioxide levels have not gone back up in density, making the rate noticeably different than previous years. Liu noted that “the reduction rate is more significant than in past years and it has lasted longer…because many cities nationwide have taken measures to minimize the spread of the virus.”

Fei Liu, a NASA air quality researcher, said, “This is the first time I have seen such a dramatic drop-off over such a wide area for a specific event,” regarding the immense drop in air pollution levels in mainland China. 

“NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) pollution monitoring satellites have detected significant decreases in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) [a gas that is a waste product of factories and cars] over China. There is evidence that the change is at least partly related to the economic slowdown following the outbreak of coronavirus,” as said by a report of satellite data from Nasa.gov. 

However, these findings are usual for this time of year with lunar new year and celebrations ordinarily shutting down China’s industry, lowering the amount of NO2 levels, and after the holiday the density goes back up the scale. 

Therefore, the typical density of the NO2 should be bumped up in cubic meters, as scientists like Liu predicted. But there’s one problem.

It hasn’t reverted.

On February 10-25 of 2019, the density of pollutant gasses (including NO2) was at dangerously high levels. Greater than 500m2 in some areas of China and down to 250m2 in others. 

On February 10-25 of 2020, the density in most areas of China were less than 25m of nitrogen dioxide, according to data collected by NASA and ESA satellites.

The water canals and air quality in Venice are starting to take a turn for the better. “The air…is less polluted since there are fewer vaporetti [canal boats] and boat traffic than usual because of the restricted movement of residents,” commented a spokesperson for the Mayor’s office in Venice, who was interviewed by CNN. 

This has only happened in places where complete lockdowns are in effect, but if “things get really bad and no one is allowed to drive around…by then there would be no CO2 from cars, boats, factories, and planes in the U.S.” as said by an anonymous student, amidst the new lockdown issued by California Governor Gavin Newsom, on Thursday, March 19. 

According to some, the global shutdowns may be a step into cleaner air in and around the Bay Area, as well as internationally. 

An anonymous junior reported that “the air, with less commuting and factories running on a day to day basis, will help the world, including the Bay Area, have better air and environments.” 

She made sure to mention, however, that currently in the Bay Area there will not be less pollution or reduced climate change effects because “we [the Bay Area] are not in a state where all transport is cut off, which isn’t going to help [the climate] very much since people are still moving around.”

Although this is a rapid story where every day there is something new, there are some measurable incidents in and around Europe that are benefitting the overall health of the planet and sustainability of its natural resources and natural waterways.

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Features Magazine News Volume 69, Issue 7

Online Workouts at LL

By Roxy Schneider

Graphic by Luke Theodossy

Since school has shifted into online school, so has Physical Education, which is cut into four different categories: freshmen P.E., yoga, weight training and team sports.  All the teachers seem to have the same method.

 Doug Longero and Mike Ivankovich both have their students keeping logs of their exercises. As Junior Mason Reese said, “We basically just have to keep a log of what we are doing along with some worksheets.” These logs consist of sections with titles such as “Aerobic activity” or “Muscular Strength.” Students then have to fill in those logs each day. For example, doing squats would be an example of muscular strength. 

I asked Sophomore Cian Malone about cheating and he said, “Yes it’s very easy to cheat if you want to but I try to do the workouts every day.”

 On the other hand, Erika Marshall is having students video proof their workouts. Junior Hailey Lopes said, “Ms.Marshall sends us weekly routines and we have to film ourselves doing it and then submit it to google classrooms.” Marshall does this with not only her yoga class but also her freshmen class. 

Overall, students seem to like what the teachers are doing. Most students feel that this is a lot easier than doing written assignments like other teachers do.

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Magazine News Opinions Volume 69, Issue 7

The Challenges Of Online School

by Mateo Requejo-Tejada

Graphic by Luke Theodossy

In these past weeks the effects of COVID-19 have been felt in all aspects of life,  this virus has caused a global pandemic. As students it has moved our main source of education from a physical public school, to online homeschooling. Initially several students welcomed this change and jumped at the idea of an early break from school; however as the first week has come to an end students have begun to realize how much they really miss school and a regular schedule. 

The minutes feel like hours and hours like days as students deal with this new reality due to the pandemic. A common challenge students are dealing with online school, is a lack of motivation for doing schoolwork, or much of anything. Quintan Collins commented that “being stuck at home made me realize that I hate videogames and I have no self motivation” his reasoning for this is that he believes school forces him to be motivated and not play video games, but now that he has all the time in the world he realizes that he much rather be in school. Another effect of online school seen with many students is boredom. Sophomore Tommie Matthews , said that he misses going to school because of the constant boredom caused by online school. Matthews said “it’s impossible to concentrate because nobody is forcing us to.” 

 SophomoreCarmen Alsip has recently just moved and currently doesn’t have wifi. “None of the hotspots can reach my street so I have to walk around my town to find one of the xfinity hotspots to do my homework,” said Alsip. As a country, we aren’t certain when this pandemic will end, but one thing we do know is that we all will have to continue making adjustments to our daily lives in order to deal with this new challenge and keep ourselves from going insane.

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Magazine News Volume 69, Issue 7

SAT/ACT

by Josh Morgan

Graphic by Madison Laxamana

Another domino that fell amid the coronavirus outbreak has been the SAT and ACT standardized tests. ACT, Inc. which previously scheduled the April ACT, for April 4, will hold it on June 13, and outright canceled the May SAT. The College Board also canceled the March SAT makeup exam.

These standardized test companies are in a difficult situation considering that the tests were done with pencil and paper, meaning that they are reluctant to hold the tests online. There would also be numerous problems coming with online testing. The ACT and SAT both worked working on ways to move the test online in the future out of convenience, but those plans were developed enough  to go with them at this time.

These standardized tests are important parts of college admissions, so many juniors could be in a very difficult situation thanks to  postponed and canceled test dates. However, many colleges are starting to take initiative to adapt to the situation; many schools already announced that they will remove standardized testing from their admissions process next year, and more schools are expected to follow suit.