Eight Seniors on the Front Lines


Sophia Dongaris, Staff Writer

Throughout the past two months, most of the Tenafly seniors have been staying home, catching up on schoolwork and Netflix. But not seniors Lauren Aslami, Jacob Brick, Omer Raz, CJ Sachs, Maya Levinson, Olivia Wong, Rachel Gallay, and Daphne Reiner. Instead of doing what everyone else is doing, they are on the front lines helping the town handle the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Usually, these eight students are seen racing through the halls after getting a call, but now that our lives have been turned upside down, their calls are looking a little different than usual. “During the pandemic, we’ve been treating every call like it could be a COVID call,” said Raz.” That means gloves and a mask at minimum, but most times were gowned up.” This is our new reality, and something we have to start getting used to. 

Things are extremely different from what they once were. Now, as an organization, they try to separate at all times, with only necessary personnel together at any given time. Instead of their traditional monthly meetings where everyone is together, they now have Zooms to discuss the ambulance corps. “Prior to this whole outbreak, we only wore respirators on patients with the flu and other illnesses that could be contracted through air droplets or otherwise inhaled,” said Brick. “Other than that, we just wore gloves. But now, since so many people are asymptomatic, we have to wear full PPE on all the calls because we don’t know who has corona and who does not.” Brick explained that that is the biggest difference from before. 

When the pandemic first started, none of the EMTs really knew what to expect. Aslami explained what her thoughts were when it started: “When the pandemic was first starting in Asia and Europe, I never imagined anything like this happening. I think that was more out of not having any experience with anything like this more than out of logic, though. Once it reached the United States and Hackensack Hospital, however, measures to protect ourselves and our patients like this seemed inevitable.” Brick expressed that they were all scared and had no clue what the future held. 

Now as the school year has almost come to a close, they have started to reflect on what it has been like managing their virtual school work while working during the pandemic. “With the decreased workload of virtual school, this is definitely a lot easier than it was before the pandemic,” said Aslami. “I get most of my work done during the scheduled class times, but I am also able to do it while I am on my shift, as long as there isn’t a call, just like in previous times.” It is definitely a big difference from the workload from before the pandemic. Raz explained that before the pandemic managing school work and the ambulance corps hadn’t been a walk in the park. 

As summer comes around the corner, these EMTs are trying to keep their morale high as they navigate through these times. Raz emphasized that “We’re keeping up with the current situation with the virus every day, while we prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I have no doubt that as an ambulance corps and as a community we will all make it out much stronger after this. We’re all in this together, and it shows now more than ever.” Throughout these trying times the senior EMT volunteers have been working harder than ever to keep our town as safe and healthy as they can.