Travel and Self Isolation for a boarding school student

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Travel and Self Isolation for a boarding school student

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Travel and Self Isolation for a boarding school student

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I was in my first year of boarding school in Oxford, UK at the start of 2020, I was 16. Over the course of the worsening of the pandemic, the magnitude of the situation became increasingly apparent as cases grew within the UK and areas near me. I remember being on a bus in the city centre and noticing a newspaper left on the ground with the ominous headline of the first UK death from the mystery virus. As I walked through town, I noticed the proximity between people. No one worse masks, everyone was touching distance from each other on the bustling, crowded, main pedestrian road. When the WHO declared it a Pandemic, I received a call from my parents, who had began preparing to send me back, which I, not understanding the full severity of the situation, disagreed with, arguing it was an over reaction.
Then borders began closing. First it was one classmate that had to go back to India, then it was another to Lithuania. Slowly, but increasingly noticeably, my school of 300 began to empty. By the time I left, my year group of 100 dropped to 15. I eventually was told by my parents I had to leave, my father flew to England and rented a flat for a week to make sure me and my brother, also studying in England, were safe and ready to fly back to the Middle East, where my family lived.
We flew in late March, through an empty Heathrow Airport, usually bustling with passengers from dozens of countries on several continents. Being one of the few airlines that remained operational, my flight was filled with passengers. This contrasted the many pictures of empty planes with a few lonely passengers that I had seen online. We arrived in the late hours of the night. As we entered the border checks, airport staff with masks and gloves took our names, looked at a list, and sent us to an area of waiting passengers, with several doctors administering tests, and pacing around. with documents and IDs. We didn't leave the airport until the early hours of the morning, and we were driven to a hotel, which the government had assigned as a quarantine facility. We each had individual rooms, and we entered a two week period of self isolation, where I worked online, and found time to reflect on the impact this virus I had deemed so distant had on my own life, a valuable lesson on and a story I am unlikely to forget.

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