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YPIE QuaranTimes Volume 15

Updated: May 7, 2021

February 15, 2021

Artwork by Chelsea Deane, YPIE Scholar 2025

In this Issue

  • What Masks are Best to Wear During COVID-19?

  • How Have Hospitals Changed During COVID?

  • The Poet That Took the World By Storm at Biden’s Inauguration

  • Joe Biden: America’s “Saving Grace”?

  • A Socialist is Now in Charge of the Budget Committee

  • What One Saunders Teacher Expects From the Biden Administration

  • 5 Small Businesses To Look Out For

  • Goth: Funeral Fashion + Experiences with Gothic Fashion

  • Chile Set Ablaze

  • Equal Opportunity for All?

  • 186 Ninth Graders From Across the District Officially Join YPIE

YPIE QuaranTimes Staff


Salamatu Lawal, Editor-in-Chief and Pandemic News Editor

Alyssa Lee, Our Voices Heard Editor

Catarina Mendes, Politics Editor

Julia Azulay, Entertainment and Lifestyle Editor

Shemar Forbes, Layout Editor and Director of Communications

Yismel Castro, Layout Editor


Julia Azulay

Paola Baizan

Tereza Biswas

Yismel Castro

Chelsea Deane

Shemar Forbes

Vanessa Gentile

Salamatu Lawal

Alyssa Lee

Catarina Mendes

Raquel Negrón

Max Silverman


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 talents in our community through this publication.

Pandemic News

What Masks are Best to Wear During COVID-19?

By Raquel Negrón, YPIE Scholar 2026

You may be wondering what masks are the best to wear, even though we are almost a year into the pandemic. Funny enough, many others are in the same predicament. This is not because they don’t care. Rather, it’s because the information on COVID-19 is always changing. The news and a variety of other outlets share daily updates on what’s best to do, but some cannot keep up with this information. With that said, here are the best masks to wear right now.

Initially, many people wore N95 masks; however, those were soon deemed inadvisable. While they are one of the most effective masks to stay safe, they started to sell out fast, leaving none for health care workers. To ensure that health care workers and other essential workers have enough N95 masks, we should look into other types of masks for protection.

One of the best masks to wear are regular surgical masks. They provide three layers of protection and are fairly breathable. A lot of people believe they need a high-end, raved about mask, but all you really need is a surgical mask which you can purchase on Amazon or any store near you.

Now, let’s delve into one of the most controversial masks: a cloth mask. Many say that these types of masks are not good ways to protect others; however, this isn’t completely true. You can use a cloth mask as long as it’s breathable, fits snugly against your face, can be secured with loops or ties around the ear, includes multiple layers of fabric, and washable.

When buying a mask, the material is also very important. According to research by GoodRx, masks with two layers of different fabric, like cotton/silk, are most similar to the N95 masks. This includes the surgical mask, which has three layers!

Remember, the mask you decide to wear is just as important as washing your hands, and don’t underestimate the construction of the mask and the reason why you’re wearing the mask. Our part in helping to stop the spread of this virus begins with your choices. With that said, choose your mask wisely, remain positive and test negative.

How Have Hospitals Changed During COVID?

By Paola Baizan, YPIE Scholar 2027

COVID-19 has affected the world drastically. From schools shutting down to the demand for self-isolation, we have all experienced the effects of COVID in one way or another. However, there is one place, in particular, that may come to mind when thinking of the effects this virus has had on society as a whole: hospitals.

In April of 2020, ABC News published an article discussing how the treatment of patients has changed during the pandemic. Ever since the pandemic started, hospitals have implemented various safety precautions that have become known as the “new normal”.

Face masks have become a necessity for front line workers and anybody who enters a hospital. Once having entered, individuals are required to stay socially distanced and there is a limit on the number of people who can be inside at once.

Family members are not allowed in most patient rooms. But in some cases, doctors may not even be allowed in the room with their patients and may have to communicate with them remotely.

Having no visitors can create a tragic situation because friends and family are unable to visit their loved ones in-person to see if they are getting better. And many people have had to say goodbye to the people they love through a glass wall or through a video call.

Medical tents have also been widely used. This is a method that enables frontline workers to see more patients in a safe environment that is not overly crowded. The ABC News article also implies that patients are using and relying more on technology, like apps, to maintain their health.

Another article, which was uploaded by the American Heart Association in May of 2020, also talks about the ways in which hospitals have changed during COVID and if it is safe to enter them. At some hospitals, two different entrances can be found: one for individuals who have COVID symptoms and one for those who do not display any COVID symptoms. Workers at hospitals have been wearing complete protective equipment to interact with their patients in an effort to reduce the number of workers that are exposed to patients with COVID. Lastly, most hospitals are being more thoroughly cleaned to maintain a secure environment.

In the article, Dr. Phillip L. Coule mentions that “admissions [in his hospital] have been down by 25%-40%.” Dr. Coule assures that going to a hospital for an emergency during COVID is still safe and says to not ignore any health complications and to not doubt calling 911 in times of need.

Many hospitals have adapted to COVID and have taken many precautions to create a safe environment for their patients and their workers. Ultimately, their actions keep people safe and create an environment where people can go and seek necessary aid.


Realistic Lips by Tereza Biswas, YPIE Scholar 2027

Joe Biden: America's Saving Grace?

By Catarina Mendes, YPIE Scholar 2025

On January 20, 2021, Joe Biden was inaugurated as the United States’ 46th President, despite threats and fears of violence, surrounded by immense security measures. He got right to work, signing a whopping 15 executive orders on his first day. So what sorts of changes has Biden been implementing in his new position?

President Biden has been busy signing all sorts of orders, reversing some of former President Donald Trump’s policies, and creating his own. Most notable are his actions regarding the environment, LGBTQ rights, COVID-19, and immigration. The U.S. has now rejoined the Paris Climate Accord as well as the World Health Organization, which Trump had left in 2020 after he announced he felt it wasn’t doing its job properly. Moves like these are reversing what many would consider damage to the country’s reputation and helping further environmental protection as well as global health.

Similarly, Biden has also halted the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in Montana; however, this decision is controversial. Critics fear it will lead to loss of jobs and income during an already tough time economically; however, certain tribal people living in the area are relieved, as they no longer have to worry about potential water contamination.

Many of President Biden’s decisions will of course be scrutinized, especially given the heavily divided political climate. With the extremely large number of executive orders he has signed within his first few days and weeks in office, some are wondering if this is legal, or right for a President to be doing. They argue that he is deliberately trying to use the executive order to fast-track actions he believes Congress would not approve of.

He has also overturned former President Trump’s ban on transgender military service, a victory for the LGBTQ community. Additionally, Trump has reversed the Trump era travel ban for several Muslim-majority nations, as well as halted construction on the wall at the Mexican border. However, some experts believe that this was an illegal move and may seek to block it.

On the topic of the pandemic, Biden had initially pledged to secure 100 million vaccine doses for Americans by his 100th day in office, a goal that while hefty, has been said to be possible. He has now stated that the goal has been increased to 150 million doses. He has issued a mandate stating that masks must be worn on all federal property, and will be working with local and state leaders to institute widespread mask mandates across the country.

He has also rehired Dr. Anthony Faucci, a prominent figure in the COVID-19 crisis who has provided the country with information, strategies, and updates throughout the pandemic. President Biden himself has been tasked with creating a plan to continue combatting the virus, as the Trump administration did not leave one behind. His new $1.9 trillion economic relief package is expected to make its way to Congress and includes provisions such as a $1,400 stimulus check, state aid, and an increase in the minimum wage. Biden is also committed to making health care, including COVID measures such as vaccines and testing, more accessible and affordable for those who need it.

With many in dire financial straits due to the pandemic, Biden has also persuaded the CDC to extend the eviction moratorium until the end of March. This brings relief to many, who were nervous about the coming deadline that would likely have left some renters who had fallen behind on payments on the streets. However, it also, unfortunately, means that squatters can continue to treat the homes of landlords poorly without much fear of repercussion, and many homeowners are continuing to lose out on the use of property as well as much-needed income.

President Biden is even already tackling prison reform, which many believe is long overdue. He has signed an executive order that will end government contracts with privately run federal prisons. This is certainly a step in the right direction, as it is predicted to lead to a decrease in mass-incarceration. According to David Fathi, director of the National Prison Project, private prisons are an industry that is incentivized by money to perpetuate mass incarceration. Therefore, this executive order is thought to change that.

Student debt is an ongoing issue that has plagued many students for years, with roughly 44 million Americans currently experiencing some form of it. As such, Joe Biden recognizes the struggles many face in this area of their finances, especially during such a trying time. He has extended the pause on student loan payments and kept the interest rate at 0%. He has also pledged to make public college tuition-free for all families with an income lower than $125,000 and proposed other measures to ease the burden of student debt, such as a $10,000 yearly loan relief payment to public service workers.

With all of these positive changes, there must come a cost. Some people are concerned as to where the money for all of these relief programs will come when the U.S. is already at its highest deficit in history.

There are always two sides to the story, and where one person is pleased, another may see the same issue from another angle. Joe Biden must continue to be a president for all Americans in an effort to ease the concerns of those who may doubt some of his actions and reforms, while still maintaining his proactive stance on these issues.

A Socialist is Now in Charge of the Budget Committee

By Yismel Castro, YPIE Scholar 2025

Bernie Sanders is an American politician who has dedicated most of his life to creating equality in America. He is greatly recognized for his strong social-democratic and progressive views, as well as his unsuccessful efforts to be elected president in the 2016 and 2020 elections.

Despite his unsuccessful attempts to win the presidency, Sanders still works towards his endeavors thanks to his position as a United States senator. And he was recently tapped by Senate leadership to be the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, which means that he now has the power to oversee budget and spending work, as well as pass massive bills without needing a single republican vote.

Bernie Sanders has focused most of his career towards ending economic inequity by combating the shrinking of the middle class and the growing income and wealth gaps in the United States. One of his main goals, as he mentioned in an interview with Caitlin Emma, is to “create millions of good-paying jobs, and that means clearly...rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, our roads, and bridges. And I would add affordable housing to that, as well.” In this interview, he also maps out the basic layout of his plan and how he wishes to make investments with the government budget.

It is also important to note that Bernie Sanders is a strong supporter of making college and universities tuition-free for undergraduate students. Under his College for All Act, the federal government would cover 67% of this cost, while the states themselves would cover the remaining 33%. Moreover, Sanders is a prominent advocate for the lowering of student loans due to the immense amount of profit the federal government makes on student loans each year. Sanders regards himself as a social-democrat who is ready to take the “aggressive” action necessary to reform our nation’s economy.

With his new position in the Senate budget committee, he’s inching steps closer towards making the prominent changes that will reshape the economic structure of the country. He now has the chance to make impactful decisions such as the creation of better jobs, higher minimum wage, and access to better health care for individuals during a horrific pandemic. There are several possibilities as to which direction Bernie Sanders will take with his new given power.

However, these are only promises. We can only hope that he fulfills them.

Artwork by Chelsea Deane, YPIE Scholar 2025

What One Saunders Teacher Expects From the Biden Administration

By Natalie Maldonado Smith, YPIE Scholar 2025

The long-awaited Biden administration has finally arrived. President Joseph Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have gracefully taken office, with bright plans for our country. The new administration has promised to meet the needs of many Americans and to focus and find solutions for the issues and dilemmas the country is facing.

With that being said, I made it my task to interview a teacher at my high school, Saunders High School, about how they felt about the latest administration and what they expect from it. My teacher’s responses were broad, but there was a common theme: more support for our communities.

One area that requires more support is the education system. When speaking to fashion magnet teacher Juan Mota, he reflected on the fact that First Lady Jill Biden is an educator. Mr. Mota believes that the education system might finally receive the backing it has needed given the First Lady’s background in education.

In addition, Mr. Mota believes that college tuition should be lowered. Tuition rates are unreasonably high and students struggle to pay their student loans with many ultimately ending up in debt for prolonged periods of time. It is difficult to have a successful life when all of your money is going towards paying off student debt.

Mr. Mota also believes public schools should receive more recognition since they often get the short end of the stick and students and staff end up bearing the consequences. They should receive more funding, as increased funding can provide teachers with more livable salaries and leave students with more programs that can enrich their minds. Public schools need to be able to provide their students with the resources they need and more financial support can help achieve that.

Furthermore, Mr. Mota hopes that the Biden administration can mend the economy. The economy has recently taken a couple of blows, causing financial insecurity in many of our communities. Additionally, jobs are unstable, and unemployment rates are skyrocketing. Mr. Mota would like a push for more jobs, specifically more blue-collar jobs. He also believes there should be a resurgence in jobs in manufacturing, especially in the fashion field.

Being in the fashion field himself, Mr. Mota has come to terms with the fact that jobs in fashion manufacturing have been declining. He even reflected on the past and how many factories there were back in the day. Mr. Mota claims that an increase in blue-collar jobs can supply communities with a source of income and relieve them of some of their financial uncertainty.

Overall, Mr. Mota hopes that the Biden administration can give back to communities, especially those in need. He also hopes for unity and peace for the country.

We are going through some rough times and an administration that is ready to tackle the issues at hand and provide relief for its people is one that we need. Hopefully, the Biden administration can keep its promises and make this country a better place for all of its people.

Entertainment and Lifestyle

5 Small Businesses To Look Out For

By Salamatu Lawal, YPIE Scholar 2025

Starting a business is certainly not for everybody. It takes a diligent individual to pursue this venture. Gaining large recognition for your hard work is quite difficult with a large array of businesses for people to choose from. For this reason, many talented individuals are often overlooked. So, to highlight a few, here are five small businesses to look out for.

  • Carosbracelets

Instagram: @carosbracelets

Caroline initially made jewelry as a coping mechanism, but she soon realized she wanted to share her beautiful art with others. You can check out her Etsy page to view her wide range of jewelry and consider purchasing a few pieces.

  • Sanrioswag

Emily has always had a niche for anything creative and decided to take IB Art to explore this interest. Through this class, she discovered her love for painting. Browsing online for masks, Emily was unable to find any that caught her eye and decided to put her newfound hobby to use and make her own.

“I fell in LOVE with my mask and it was probably the proudest thing I had ever done artistic-wise,” she recalls. Emily has since started her own business selling her designs and plans on branching out beyond mask customization.

She plans on using the money she has earned towards her college tuition and is excited about the many opportunities to come. Check out her Depop to view more of her designs. She also takes custom requests.

  • Craftsbykatee

Instagram: @craftsbykatee

Katie Martinez has a fondness for making gifts for those around her. Her friends who recognize her gift making skills have since approached her for gift ideas. On this note, she realized, “I can DO this for people you know? I love the idea that I can help someone do something special for their special someone”.

  • Bottom Fashion

Instagram: @bottomfashion

Dianna Villatoro has always been crafty and enjoys experimenting. She started her business during quarantine with the surge in free time she now had. “Starting a small business was always in my plans, I didn’t know what to sell until I stumbled upon dying socks,'' Dianna recounts.

She initially dyed socks for her cousins and siblings, but soon created her very own Instagram page dedicated to her creations. Although only selling socks, Dianna plans to branch out to other clothing in the upcoming season.

You can purchase your own Bottom Fashion socks on her Poshmark page.

  • Girls Need Love Salon Spa

Instagram: @nailsbysoon

Ever since she was a little girl, Shanon Therese Balaba has had an interest in beauty. She would spend her time giving her family members manicures and pedicures.

During quarantine, Shannon taught herself how to do acrylic nails. She was given the opportunity to improve upon her skills at Girls Need Love Salon Spa and was soon offered a position there. Her time spent there has been extremely gratifying. “A year ago today I never would have thought that I would find something that I love to do and get to actually do it every day,” she admits.

You can catch Shannon at the salon, located at 237 Mclean Avenue, Yonkers, New York, and also check out the many other services provided there.

Together we can make the most of this unusual time by supporting businesses such as these in need.

Goth: Funeral Fashion + Experiences with Gothic Fashion

By Vanessa Gentile, YPIE Scholar 2027, and Julia Azulay, YPIE Scholar 2027

“Are they going to a funeral?” “They look like they just came out of a casket!” “Maybe they’re a vampire!” People talk amongst themselves as the goth walks past. Dressed head to toe in black and donning eyeliner that can cut through steel, they stand out in the otherwise “normal” crowd. People may find it weird, but the wearer knows the meaning behind the fabric.

To the outside world, goth fashion is considered three things: dark, black, and eerie. But there is so much more to goth than to what meets the eye. Goth finds beauty in otherwise dark and morbid things.

Some common themes are heavy makeup, black clothing, and icons representative of death. Other symbols and motifs include gravestones, skulls, and bats. Music is also a staple of goth culture, the most popular bands being Bauhaus, The Cure, and Siouxsie and the Banshees.

There is no singular way to be goth. But, when you think of it, you might imagine big hair, black makeup, pale skin, ripped fishnets, and chains. That specific type or substyle of goth is known as trad goth (short for “traditional goth”). Romantic goth, another well-known substyle, is commonly referred to as “vampire goth,” taking inspiration from Edwardian and Victorian fashions. But romantic goth isn’t just all black--red colors are also incorporated into the style. And, rather than wearing black entirely, pastel goth revolves around lighter colors, such as pinks and purples. Gothic motifs are still present, just with a lighter and “cuter” twist.

Julia Azulay, the Entertainment and Lifestyle Editor and a regular contributor of the YPIE QuaranTimes, is a fan of gothic fashion. Here’s her experience adopting the culture:

“As an individual who possesses a varied or irregular interest in lifestyle choices, I acknowledge that I’m not entirely assimilated into...gothic subculture. However, subcultures are more than just clothing; they’re a lifestyle accompanied with music taste, morals, etc. As for the fashion, gothic styles are not exactly confined to one space. That is a wonderful aspect of gothic fashion I embrace. The concept of many stylistic variants existing to experiment and connect with is what draws me to expand my horizons more.

Generally speaking and in accordance with my personal values, clothing is an element of an individual that can provide insight into their personality. When I utilize this factor to visualize my outfits in the upcoming week, my excitement is elevated. I feel as though there is some stability in these precarious times, even if I plan on dressing up for no particular occasion. The versatility of gothic fashion upraises my exhilaration even more, as there is much more for me to try on and add to my wardrobe.”

Photos of Julia Azulay, YPIE Scholar 2027

Our Voices Heard

Chile Set Ablaze

By Alyssa Lee, YPIE Scholar 2026

The recent wildfires that are currently devastating the areas of Marga Marga Province, Valparaíso, and Quilpue, Chile are speculated to be deliberate.

According to sources, a construction company was looking to build on the lands that currently burn, but was denied by officials.

It has been said that in Chile when land burns, it goes on sale. Then, it is bought by foresters as well as construction companies.

Regardless of the cause, Chile is suffering greatly. More than 25,000 residents have been evacuated from their homes and firefighters with Chinook helicopters have been deployed to make efforts to extinguish the fires from overhead.

The blaze has already ravaged 400 hectares of land and continues to spread at an alarming rate.

Power outages, closed roads, and transport disruptions are also problems stemming from the Chilean wildfires. Forecast models point to raging winds and hot temperatures in the coming days. This will terribly delay relief efforts and also give the fire room to grow further.

The aftereffects of fire, such as smoke and the possibility of ashfall, cause low visibility and promote traffic delays and overall overcrowding. Many people packed together in the midst of wreckage does not bode well for their well-being. It not only affects their physical health, given the spread of coronavirus but also their mental states.

The global pandemic makes it that much more difficult for this disaster to be handled safely. Those who have successfully evacuated are being temporarily housed in areas deemed "safe zones", while others who might have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 must be sent to appointed “quarantine zones.”

How can you help?

One of the best and easiest ways to help those suffering in Chile is to bring light to their situation. Inform your friends and family. Bringing global attention to a problem allows for many plans of action to be devised in hopes of efficiently remedying the issue.

A donation site has also been set up to help those in need in Chile. It is listed below:

These are not the first wildfires Chile has had to endure. But, with your help, the process of restoration and rebuilding will be much easier for those who have been displaced, injured, and mourn for the loss of loved ones.

Equal Opportunity for All?

By Shemar Forbes, YPIE Scholar 2025

In a recent study conducted by the Migration Policy Institute, Emily Israel, a former Research Intern with MPI’s U.S. Immigration Policy Program, and Jeanne Batalova, a Senior Policy Analyst at MPI and Manager of the Migration Data Hub, found that roughly 1.1 million international students were enrolled in U.S. institutions for the 2019-2020 school year. Israel and Batalova note that “This marked a decrease of almost 20,000 international students from the previous year, following a decade of consistent growth.”

As shown in the study, the number of international students in the United States is declining, but why?

Part of the reason why the majority of U.S. institutions are losing international students can be attributed to the rising costs of U.S. higher education. In the last decade, many U.S. colleges and universities have undergone deep budget cuts, leading to furloughs, layoffs and pay cuts, and, in turn, significant tuition increases. This makes it difficult for international students to afford the cost of U.S. institutions, especially since foreign students are not eligible to receive U.S. federal student loans and grants.

Another reason why there are fewer international students in the U.S. is because of problems concerning student visas. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. embassies and consulates have either closed or have been limited, and traveling has been restricted, further complicating visa issuance and travel plans for international students.

Perhaps the biggest reason why the number of international students is decreasing is due to the Trump administration, which has made it harder for nonnatives, including international students, to enter or remain in the United States on either permanent or temporary visas.

However, there is hope.

Some U.S. institutions, such as Harvard and MIT, are advocating for international students. And unlike the Trump administration, the incoming Biden administration has promised to simplify the immigration process by speeding up the visa and citizenship application processing, expanding the number of highly skilled visas, and reducing visa backlogs.

International students will ultimately be provided with an equal opportunity to pursue higher education once there is a change in rhetoric and new policy directions, along with increased support from U.S institutions.


186 Ninth Graders From Across the District Officially Join YPIE

By Max Silverman, Director of College Readiness

Screenshot from YPIE's Induction Ceremony

The YPIE Scholars Class of 2028 were officially inducted on January 27th at the annual YPIE Induction Ceremony. See highlights, including words of wisdom from our older students, in the following link:

Learn more about the YPIE QuaranTimes.

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

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