I am a 19-year-old pre-freshman at Yale College living in Warsaw, and I wish to describe below the Polish perspective on the COVID-19 pandemic.
The hardest part of the situation for me, and many of my peers, is the uncertainty regarding the national final exams which were originally scheduled for the beginning in May. Until mid-April, we did not know if they are going to be postponed (as they ultimately were – until June) or cancelled just like the IB or A-Levels exams.
The first rules have been imposed on March 12, and first were being increased with almost each week, and now are being continuously relaxed. The hardest regimen went into effect in late April – the government closed all schools, parks, larger shops, fitness areas, cultural objects and restaurants. They also shut all flights and enforced a mandatory two-week quarantine for people returning from abroad.
In March and April, during the lockdown, I virtually did not leave my house at all, maybe with an exception for a short bike ride every two days, but since May, as the restrictions are being eased (May 18 – reopening of restaurants), I am going out more often (though always wearing a mask).
The fourth phase of the reopening of the economy goes into effect on May 30. It lifts almost all restrictions, including mandatory wearing of the face masks in the open spaces (parks, etc.). The new normal is social distancing and regular disinfection. The only things closed for good now are dance clubs (but no theaters and cinemas), music festivals and borders. At the same time, government indicated that the restrictions may be re-instated in case of the second wave of the virus in the Autumn or an increase in the number of people being infected with the virus.
I am not bored. There is so much that needs to be done before leaving for the US (vaccines, applications, etc.), that I find myself almost constantly working on something. In the free time, I am meeting friends over lunch, walking in the parks, and watching TV series.
During the lockdown, I was barred from doing groceries by my parents, they ordered groceries delivery via the internet. Since mid-May, things went back to normal and I am again doing groceries in a nearby shop.
I had online lessons from late March until April 23, and right now am focused on the final exams which start on June 8. For the first two weeks of the lockdown, we did not have any lessons and it was unclear if we are to come back to school at a later time. Many of the teachers are not that accustomed with the technology, and the quality of their lessons is somewhat mediocre, but in general I feel good about the online lessons. The only thing is that I miss my friends.
I think that generally people have been following the rules, especially during the lockdown, but are now starting to feel more relaxed and ignore some of them.
1 June 2020