Companies now offering free services in wake of social distancing

by Andrea Palmieri and Tadhg Holder

An unexpected catastrophe struck as a pandemic appeared and quickly spread around the world. The Coronavirus has tragically and fatally interrupted the lives of people all over the globe in a worldwide lockdown intended to prevent any further spread of this silent killer. Luckily, major corporations around the United States are providing services to make social isolation easier for all those participating.

Throughout these tough times around the world, websites and companies are coming together to provide free or more affordable resources for those staying home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The new resources being made available by these providers are helping to keep people entertained during self-quarantine. However, they are also necessary to help financially struggling families who have lost their jobs due to government mandated social distancing. 

“I admire these companies for sharing free resources to schools during the COVID-19 crisis wherein educational online companies have stepped forward to help educators reach students in virtual ways,” said FIU medical student Pol Fernandez, user of multiple new online resources.

Even during a fatal global pandemic, U.S. citizens have proven themselves to be very stubborn when it comes to staying home and following instructions. Organizations like Netflix, Epic Games and Planet Fitness are helping to encourage social distancing by adding new features that can be accessed online for free. With more entertainment indoors, people are less tempted to leave their house and risk spreading the virus further.

“It was hard to refrain from going out with my friends and family at first but I realized there is actually a lot of fun stuff I can do while staying indoors,” said senior Carlos LaManto. “My little brother and sister don’t exactly understand what’s happening so it was difficult to keep them calm but having new shows and educational games online helps keep them busy.”

Entertainment companies like Netflix, Hulu and Disney+ are each contributing in their own way to help people cope with the quarantine, especially by bringing new movies and TV shows to their selection. Aside from new TV entertainment, people are receiving one new free video game every week from Epic Games. To balance out the time being spent sitting in front of a screen, Planet Fitness has released free instructional workout videos online that viewers can follow along to, in order to keep themselves in shape while the lockdown is still in effect.

“It’s been helpful to have access to workout routines so I can stay active instead of just laying around all day,” said senior Ryan Maraj.

Aside from companies designed for entertainment, educational websites are also making an effort to make the transition into an online lifestyle easier and more affordable. Khan Academy and Zoom are both providing free resources available for students and teachers. Previously paid video conferences on Zoom are now given free and unlimited, while Khan Academy is supplying their users with free at-home learning schedules.

“This unfortunate situation has brought some good with it. If I didn’t have to give my classes online, I would have never known how many wonderful and useful resources I have that I can teach my kids with. It’ll make my job a lot easier once we get back to school,” said Fabiola Calcurian, elementary school spanish teacher.

Keeping everybody safely in their homes until the pandemic has blown over is the ultimate goal for every contributing company and website. Every individual has a part to play in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and companies like these are using their platform to encourage everyone to do so. Though it has created a wave of difficulties for everyone, influencers and authority figures continue to provide helpful tips and resources to push people in a positive direction.

“I’ve been using Khan Academy for some of my school work and then Epic Games to relax and waste some time throughout the day. It’s really helpful to have all these resources I couldn’t access before,” said senior Gabriel Zambrano.

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