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YPIE QuaranTimes Volume 10

Updated: a day ago

Volume 10: October 28, 2020



By Julia Azulay, YPIE Scholar 2027


In this Issue​

​​

Politics

  • Justice: Has It Been Served?

  • Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court Justice Nomination Advances

Pandemic News

  • Flu season: What’s the plan?

  • Some NYC Schools Close Just Weeks After Reopening

Entertainment and Lifestyle

  • Halloween from Home


YPIE News

  • Connecting Seniors to Students During COVID

YPIE QuaranTimes Staff

Editors

Salamatu Lawal, Editor-in-Chief

Alyssa Lee, Our Voices Heard Editor

Catarina Mendes, Politics Editor

Julia Azulay, Entertainment and Lifestyle Editor

Shemar Forbes, Layout Editor & Director of Communications

Yismel Castro, Layout Editor

Contributors

Julia Azulay

Yismel Castro

Shemar Forbes

Salamatu Lawal

Alyssa Lee

Catarina Mendes

Cecilia Tzompantzi

Danielle Yeboah

The Yonkers NNORC and the YPIE Tech Squad

Advisor

Max Silverman


Welcome to the YPIE QuaranTimes

Produced by YPIE’s Journalism major, the YPIE QuaranTimes is a way for YPIE students to connect and share experiences during these unprecedented times. YPIE Scholars are using this time in so many creative, meaningful ways. As such, the YPIE Journalism major hopes to highlight all of the talent in our community through this publication.



Politics

Justice: Has It Been Served?

By Alyssa Lee, YPIE Scholar 2026


On Wednesday, October 7, 2020, the vice presidential debate took flight.


And as the debate ran its course, the highly anticipated topic of policing in America reared its head.


Senator Kamala Harris advocated for the reform of policing in America and the criminal justice system, in regards to the recent murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and the overall mistreatment of the Black community.

Vice President Mike Pence, on the other hand, replied with the statement, "I trust our justice system." In addition, Vice President Pence denounced the concept of systemic racism in America.

He called Joe Biden’s belief in the presence of implicit bias in law enforcement and the conception of systemic racism itself as a great insult to the men and women that serve in law enforcement."


In this day and age, it is quite evident that all institutions in America have inherent racist undertones. And by dismissing this fact, one is choosing willful ignorance over the understanding of one of the most critical detriments to society.


Vice President Pence’s confidence in the criminal justice system seems to fall flat when one of George Floyd’s murderers, Derek Chauvin, was recently released on $1M bail.


In what sense has justice been served? As the family of the late George Floyd mourns his loss every single day, his murderers are seemingly waltzing free.


In a proper justice system, this would never happen. In a fair system, murderers would be where they belong--behind bars.


As we sit here nearing the end of October, it has been approximately seven months since Breonna Taylor was shot twenty times and killed in her own home.


How can we put our trust in a system that doesn't right the wrongs? An innocent woman died at the hands of those who swore to protect her and she did not receive justice.


Frankly, the list of victims of police brutality, especially Black people, grows exponentially every year. The names pop in the news so frequently that it doesn’t come as a shock to the public anymore.


We have all become desensitized to the blatant murders of civilians. This shouldn't be our norm.


Another day, another body? Is that our new motto?


It is exhausting to see another Black face plastered across the news. These people mattered. Their lives were important, and yet somehow they became another statistic because of the implicit biases that plague the criminal justice system.


It’s time for a change. It's time for a reformation.


Kaneki Ken by Danielle Yeboah, YPIE Scholar 2027

Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court Justice Nomination Advances

By Shemar Forbes, YPIE Scholar 2025


A lot has happened since September 26th, the day President Donald Trump announced Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court pick. Here is an overview of the developments regarding Barrett’s nomination:


September 29th: President Trump submits Barrett’s nomination to the Senate.


September 29th to October 7th: Barrett makes contact with members of the Senate over the phone and in person.


October 1st: In Washington D.C., President Trump and Senator Mike Lee, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, contract COVID-19.


October 2nd: COVID-19 continues to run rampant in Washington D.C. and eventually spreads to Senator Thom Tillis, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Despite that, Senator Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, pushes to continue with Barrett’s hearings as scheduled.


October 12th: The Committee’s hearings for Barrett begins.


October 14th: The Committee finishes questioning Barrett.


October 15th: The fourth and final Committee hearing is held. During the hearing, Laura Wolk, the first blind woman to the clerk on the Supreme Court, Amanda Rauh-Bieri, Barrett’s former law clerk, Stacy Staggs, a mother of twins, and Crystal Good, an advocate for abortion, testify about Barrett’s potential impact on the Affordable Care Act, voting rights, and abortion.


October 22nd: The Committee schedules a panel vote on Barrett's nomination.


October 23rd: The Senate is planning to hold a debate on Barrett's nomination.

*October 26th: The verdict on Barrett’s confirmation is supposed to be released.

As we near the confirmation date, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and other Democrats plan to boycott Barrett's nomination vote; however, this appears to be futile since Republicans hold a 53-57 majority in the Senate. Ultimately, we will have to wait to see how this situation pans out.

*Editors Note: On October 26th, the Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to become an Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court.



By Cecilia Tzompantzi, YPIE Scholar 2026

Pandemic News

Flu Season: What’s the Plan?

By Yismel Castro, YPIE Scholar 2025


Winter is arriving soon. This is a ghastly thought due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis the world is facing, however, the crisis can become even worse with the emergence of the flu season.

If the country faces an increase in flu cases, there will be an even greater crisis. People will have to be admitted to hospitals for COVID as well as the flu. With both viruses on the loose, hospital staff will be overworked and possibly flooded with patients.

In hopes of preventing the detrimental crisis from escalating, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), along with other public health and medical groups, kicked-off the 2020-2021 flu vaccination season, emphasizing the added importance of vaccination this season. Citizens are being advised to please participate in getting vaccinated.

The CDC is strongly advising this after releasing important evidence of how effective last year’s vaccinations were against the flu. It was demonstrated that estimates of flu vaccination prevented 7.5 million flu illnesses, 3.7 million flu medical visits, 105,000 flu hospitalizations, and 6,300 flu deaths.

Our role as responsible citizens would be to be safely vaccinated to prevent a national impasse. Because the flu is an ongoing virus that is constantly changing, flu vaccines protect against the three or four strains of the virus (depending on the vaccine) that research suggests will be most common. It is important to be safe and rid ourselves of a difficult situation.

The best way to prevent this is simple: getting vaccinated. Individuals need to make sure that they employ every form of caution, washing hands, keeping a safe distance, and following government guidelines. This will help decrease the chances of contracting the flu as well as COVID-19. Remaining safe is the country’s priority, but everyone needs to be willing to make the plan towards recovery work.

Some NYC Schools Close Just Weeks After Reopening

By Catarina Mendes, YPIE Scholar 2025


Just a few weeks after reopening for in-person hybrid learning, some schools in New York City are once again being forced to close their doors and return to fully remote instruction.


Having already been forced to stay closed for the beginning of the school year, parents, teachers, and students alike were anticipating the start of hybrid learning. However, many were still anxious about having children in the buildings once again.


New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo allowed reopening of schools to be done on a local level, meaning New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio and other important officials, including schools commissioner Richard Carranza, would oversee the reopening of New York City’s schools. The union representing the city’s principals and school administrators declared unanimously that they had “no confidence” in their leadership, however.


Large numbers of parents have also chosen to continue keeping their children on the fully remote learning track. They simply don’t know if it’s safe for their children to return to school, and they don’t want to take the risk.


It seems that their concerns may have some ground after governor Cuomo ordered schools in 9 COVID-19 hotspots in the city to close once more. Cuomo claimed that there was no data for some of the schools in these areas to confirm that they had low case rates. He, therefore, did not know if these schools were safe, and would not feel comfortable sending children there. He told reporters “Better safe than sorry,” in regards to the closings, which seems to be similar to how many families were feeling about the return to hybrid learning.

Despite the concern, it has been noted that none of the closings are related to a specific outbreak within any schools. All of the schools being ordered to close are in areas where the COVID-19 infection rate has been above 3% for at least 7 days prior to the decision. There is a looming threat that if the city’s overall infection rate gets to 3%, all of its schools will once again have to conduct fully remote learning.

All of the hotspots are located in areas with high populations of orthodox Jews, who often try to keep the government’s influence in the community minimal due to distrust. Many in these communities resent the government’s increased control over them through things such as mask mandates, and as a result, people are defiant and even protest the restrictions.

These closings due to COVID clusters aren’t limited to New York City schools. Several colleges around the country, as well as other school districts, have been forced to return to a fully remote schedule after upticks in COVID-19 cases or potential exposures on or around campuses during hybrid learning. After a gathering was linked to the spread of the coronavirus and Marist College, officials there decided to switch from hybrid to fully remote learning for the time being. They have also implemented other restrictions, such as not allowing visitors on campus or allowing students into residence halls other than their own.


As many schools, including those in Yonkers, transition into hybrid learning, some are also being forced into transitioning back to fully remote learning due to high rates of COVID infection. The debate remains over whether reopening schools is safe, and how it should be done as anxiety fills the air due to these startling trends. As students return to school, people must be observant of how well they are following the COVID-related restrictions and guidelines in order to keep themselves and those around them safe and healthy.

Entertainment and Lifestyle


Surprise! By Shemar Forbes, YPIE Scholar 2025

Halloween from Home

By Julia Azulay, YPIE Scholar 2027


As the month of October rapidly approaches its end, young people who are looking to engage with friends and parents wanting to organize an enjoyable day for their kids are left questioning just what to do for Halloween. Ever since the pandemic hit, as COVID-19 cases struggle to stabilize, it has been assumed that public holiday festivities must remain on hold until conditions settle down. Although this decision to postpone trick or treating and other high-risk activities is ultimately beneficial to public health, it’s strikingly disappointing to those who anticipate the holiday, especially since it falls on a Saturday this year. With all things considered, it’d be nice to assist my peers in brainstorming alternatives to Halloween traditions that have no choice but to be canceled due to the pandemic. Surely, the avoidance of visiting houses door to door to receive candy and attending bustling house parties will cause things to “not feel the same,” but the following ideas may enhance your experience:

Scary movie marathon: For those that are hooked on the feeling of suspense and adrenaline rushes, watching horror movies becomes another tradition for the entire month of October. Spending the day with loved ones and immersing yourselves in a horror film’s universe is a plan to consider. Accompanying the marathon with candy or snacks could even heighten the “Halloween spirit.”

Costume runway: This endeavor will require a bit more effort, solely because costume plans will have to be arranged as well. However, all of the seemingly useless work will be worth it when it all comes together with family members at home or a couple of friends in an outside space, socially distanced. It is more-so recommended to do this at home for the sake of your health, though. Another goal to reach for this Halloween activity is to pose as judges or contestants on an actual runway, rating each other’s costumes based on appearance or quality.


Pumpkin carving: The act of carving a pumpkin is more common prior to Halloween, but, in my perspective, it’s never too late. Pumpkin carving can also be transformed into a contest, depending on your family or friends’ preferences. Additionally, to evade tiring messes, you can paint and decorate the pumpkins by other means.


Halloween baking: Typically, once October starts, the seasonal baking championships air on televisions for all to see. Viewing them is entertaining, to begin with, but attempting to bake following the disclosed recipes could be an interesting route. Stocking up on ingredients and confectionery to complement your bakes should also be mentioned.


Tuning into televised/virtual attractions: Visiting jack-o-lantern blazes or haunted houses online will likely not elicit the same excitement as it would physically, but it is an option for those interested. Perhaps hosting an online Zoom event that showcases pumpkins you carved or a haunted house layout you created is a more tedious yet confidence-inducing choice. If you’re comfortable enough, physical attractions are open to the general public, but it should be kept in mind that this is a high-risk contraction route.


Crafts: Designing your very own Halloween decorations to adorn your house with family or friends sounds like another fine example of fun on October 31st. Whether it be paper decor, figurines, or sewing projects, these decorations can do the trick of enhancing the holiday’s mood and give off a warm feeling upon looking at them. Relying on craft and home goods stores for this project is highly recommended.


Classic Games: At times, a more old-school direction is preferred, so playing in-person games requiring a small number of players can draw out a feeling of nostalgia. To name a few, cornhole, tail pinning games, Twister, and apple bobbing all come to mind. However, remember that these games that require close contact only guarantee safety among family, not friends.

The suggestions above are simply optional since anyone can invent more elaborate plans for October 31st. These 7 ideas were conceptualized out of the desire to promote safety even on special occasions because the pandemic’s effects didn’t just disappear into thin air. A pleasant holiday can even be enjoyed in the comfort of your home. Advocating for Halloween at home can even further improve your area’s awareness and ambition to stay safe. To conclude, please follow all necessary regulations and mandates as one should on any given day. Have a happy Halloween that will keep you out of harm’s way!

YPIE News


Connecting Seniors to Students During COVID

By The Yonkers NNORC and the YPIE Tech Squad

Group picture of the YPIE Tech Squad

The Yonkers Office for the Aging and WJCS were given a grant from the NYS Office for the Aging to launch the first NNORC in Westchester County in January 2020. The Yonkers NNORC (Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community) serves seniors 60+ in Northeast Yonkers by offering information and services from a Resource Specialist, a Registered Nurse, and virtual programs and activities.


Yonkers Partners in Education (YPIE) has been in existence for over a decade. YPIE partners with students to ensure they are ready for, enroll in, and complete college. YPIE works with high school students across Yonkers to prepare them to be lifelong learners equipped to thrive in the future economy and empowered to contribute to their communities and humanity.


The Yonkers NNORC realized early on during COVID that seniors were becoming isolated and that technology was just one of the ways seniors could stay in contact with their friends and families. The NNORC joined forces with YPIE to assist seniors with a myriad of services including learning how to text and email via their phones, learning how to join zoom calls via their computers, getting on the internet, and sending pictures to name a few. YPIE also has bilingual students who are able to assist clients in Spanish.

The students have learned a great deal from working with the seniors as well. They have learned to walk step by step through processes over the phone since they are not able to meet in person. They have also learned customer service skills and have researched devices and issues to help resolve seniors’ concerns. They have learned to be patient, speak lower, be more kind, caring, and respectful, be clear with directions, and learn how to interact with others over the phone.

They meet weekly with their YPIE advisors Genevieve Thevenin and Eloy Cano as well as Sally Pinto from the NNORC in order to ensure that the students’ questions and concerns are answered as well as getting trained in the new technology

Aman Shahzad, YPIE Senior Tech Specialist, assists Joan O’Brien with her technological issues and speaks with her almost every week not only to assist her with technological issues but also to make sure she is getting by smoothly during this isolation period due to COVID-19.


Aman states, “Helping her has been the highlight of his summer and it has made him feel joyous helping someone in such a strange time. What’s more, she is always making sure to check up on me, making sure that I too am doing well.” Joan said, “Aman has been very helpful. I am not that great with the cell phone and he has taught me a lot. It has been a great experience and I recommend that others use the YPIE Tech Squad as well. Aman is a great young man.”

For further information about the Yonkers NNORC and the YPIE Tech Squad, contact Sally Pinto at sally.pinto@yonkersny.gov or call 914-391-1323.

Learn more about the YPIE QuaranTimes.

Interested in contributing? Email YPIEQuaranTimes@gmail.com or Max Silverman, YPIE QuaranTimes Advisor and Director, College Readiness.

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