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In Photos: Life under lockdown

From working on the front lines to coping with aloneness — the lives of five U of T students across Canada
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Michael’s Toronto apartment, where he’s spending lockdown. MICHAEL PHOON/THE VARSITY
Michael’s Toronto apartment, where he’s spending lockdown. MICHAEL PHOON/THE VARSITY

Michael’s Toronto apartment, where he’s spending lockdown. MICHAEL PHOON/THE VARSITY

Michael Phoon
Fourth-year, specialist in journalism
Toronto, ON

Enduring lockdown has been stressful. Being stuck in a room for so long has made the air around me feel thinner. I am stuck by myself, an international student trapped in a foreign country with no hope of going home during this pandemic, so I can only pass the time by indulging in schoolwork, reading textbooks, and ordering food delivery online.

Gradually, as my daily routine has started to feel more normal, being able to order food in person and enjoying the company of friends and family have become the little things I miss the most.


Scamp, Charlotte’s parents’ dog, pictured while on a walk near her home in Kelowna, BC. CHARLOTTE HOOD/THE VARSITY

Charlotte Hood
Fourth-year, double major in neuroscience and psychology
Kelowna, BC

I never thought I would be living at home again, but I am grateful for every moment that I am. Our house is up in the mountains of Kelowna — a definite change from my downtown Toronto apartment, but a welcome one at that. I’ve been spending my days hiking and trail running with my parents’ dog, Scamp, in tow. While things may not feel normal right now, being outdoors has made physical distancing an inviting experience. Scamp’s company never hurts as well.


Watercolour renderings of Studio Ghibli characters, painted by Charmain Wong while at home. CHARMAIN WONG/THE VARSITY

Charmain Wong
Fourth-year, specialist in architecture
Edmonton, AB

Staying at home during the pandemic has made me all the more thankful for art. It has been both a reassurance and a source of freedom in a time when these two things feel scarce. With seemingly endless hours and all too many ideas, I have dipped my toes into new waters with collages and paper crafts, re-immersed myself in the medium of acrylic painting, and even found comfort in watercolouring my favourite childhood characters.


Michelle, wearing personal protective equipment in preparation to do her job as an active screening clerk. MICHELLE FORNASIER/THE VARSITY

Michelle Fornasier
Fourth-year, major in human biology and minor in physiology and human geography
Burlington, ON

I never once thought I would have a summer job that required me to wear a face shield every day. Yet, here I am. During the pandemic, I’ve been working as an active screening clerk at Joseph Brant, my local hospital. My job includes screening staff, approved visitors, and patients into the hospital. As a screening clerk, I also make hospital deliveries and assist patients with getting to their appointments at various clinics within the hospital.

I have been so grateful to be employed during this strange time, to play a very small role in helping out my community right now and of course, to be able to socialize with people who don’t live at my house!


Tennis courts in Vancouver were closed in mid-March to halt the spread of COVID-19. ANDREA KUNTJORO/THE VARSITY

Andrea Kuntjoro
Second-year, life sciences
Vancouver, BC

Lockdown closed many things, with tennis courts being one of them. This saddened me, as tennis was one of my favourite summer activities. But then this got me thinking about trying something different. I decided to start running, something that gave me flashbacks to the cross-country running competitions that I participated in as a kid. It was definitely a struggle at first, but it soon became my new favourite physically distant hobby.

On one of my runs, I brought my drone, and while passing by a pretty little park, I took this birds-eye photo of the tennis courts, which were chained closed.