High School Students Create Organization to Combat COVID-19

A Covid-19 Testing Center in Philadelphia, PA (Philadelphia Fire Department)
A Covid-19 Testing Center in Philadelphia, PA (Philadelphia Fire Department)

Bars packed in Nashville. People crammed together on Bourbon Street. Tourists flocked to the beaches for Spring Break. Despite Americans being asked to socially distance to prevent the spread of Covid-19, millions refused to do so. 

These are the pictures that three High Schoolers saw. On March 23, Josh Harycki, a junior at the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, decided that he had seen enough. 

Harycki, theorized that the younger generation’s awareness and apathy towards Covid-19 and social distancing comes from the generational gap in TV viewership for those under the age of 34.

Harycki then contacted two of his friends, Carson Rhodes, a junior at Palos Verdes High School in Palos Verdes, California, and Steven Pu, a senior at Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia, PA. From there, the Social Distancing Pledge emerged.

The organization aims to educate those around the world, particularly those under 25, about the dangers of Covid-19, the importance of social distancing, and the need to flatten the curve.

The organization is particularly active when it comes to spreading its message on social media sites, including Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok, (where younger users tend to spend more of their time) users are less likely to subscribe to traditional media.

The organization’s website has a pledge that individuals can sign to assert they will practice social distancing. Only three days after the organization’s creation, more than 200 signatures had been gathered from countries including the United States, Denmark, China, and Israel. In total, signatories have come from a total of 17 nations. The organization’s website also has an interactive map of the signatories countries. “We hope the social distancing pledge and our maps of supporters will serve as ray of good news and show how we are united as global community during this difficult time period”  Harycki says 

The Social Distance Pledge Organization’s website is constantly updated with the newest CDC information regarding the spread of Covid-19 and facts and figures about how Covid-19 is impacting the youth. Along with this, they provide tips and ideas about how any and everyone can stay connected and try to take care of themselves during the COVID19 outbreak.

Right now, many High Schoolers are stressing about when the NBA will return. Yet, these three remain focused on making sure that the world stays safe and healthy.

The organization’s pledge can be found at www.socialdistancingpledge.com

About the Author
Blake is an 11th Grader at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in Bryn Mawr, PA. He most recently served as a Congressional District Lead (PA-4), a volunteer and Jewish Liaison for Andrew Yang's 2020 Presidential Campaign.
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