Satire! UNIS Spices Up Pandemic Protocols with Songs, “Love Island,” and More

Adapted from an image by Desiree Ho for the Innovative Genomics Institute ( under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.

In March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic brought the United Nations International School to a temporary close. Many students were devastated that they were obligated to take classes online and stay in quarantine. Fast forward to September of 2020, UNIS officially reopened, but with cautionary measures surrounding the virus.

Executive Director, Dr. Gardner, sent out an informational email regarding UNIS’ safety measures, and announced that “We will be so safe you won’t even notice that there is a global pandemic going on.”

One of the first Covid safety measures implemented was arming security guards with what many students call the “Corona Cannon.” Its purpose being to scan one’s temperature, which eventually decides whether the student can enter the premises or not. However, a temperature scan alone is enough to enter the school. Students must apply three dollops each of the UNIS™ antiseptic gel, and are required to sing “Happy Birthday” on a 60-second loop in order to rid themselves of all virus particles. Several students have complained via email to the administration that, as one student wrote, “I am sick of hearing ‘Happy Birthday’ at 8:00 a.m.” The administration took these complaints very seriously and sent back a memo addressing the situation and suggested that students try to “harmonize.” Unfortunately, this suggestion was ill-received by the general public.

Once students have passed security, they are immediately sent to class. There, they are greeted by the foreheads and ceilings of their classmates on the 90-inch television screen and exhausted teachers muffled by their hazmat suits. Each period is no longer than 60 minutes; any more time in the classroom is strictly prohibited by the administration as UNIS has not yet signed up for Zoom Premium™, which is an extra 50 dollars past each hour.

Each student has a clear plastic wall surrounding them to protect from their peers’ possible bacteria, but many students have complained that they feel isolated. When break time arrives, the UNIS administration has a multitude of activities that everyone can enjoy. From sitting on the roof, six ft apart, to sitting in the library, six ft apart, students are thrilled with these exciting new options.

The UNIS administration also noticed that due to the pandemic school romance was at an all-time low, so after much consideration they came up with the perfect solution. The deputy director of the Tut House sent out a memo announcing their new attempt at sparking young love, which was inspired by the cult TV show: Love Island.

Dr. Gardner wrote, “We are now implementing the Love Island project at both our Manhattan and Queens campuses. Students have been assigned to a partner in the same grade, and will from now until the end of the year, be sitting with only them during all meal times.”

The faculty and staff have even gone so far as to remove all “unnecessary” chairs, leaving only two per table. Many students were interviewed regarding this system created by Dr. Gardner and his staff, and they feel, as one T3 student said, “very uncomfortable.” An anonymous faculty member even said, “I feel it is very odd that the school took it upon themselves to aid the high school students in their quests for love.”

However, there are some students who find this project necessary. A T1 student admitted he is a fan of this: “I think the Love Island project is great. My partner and I have made a great connection and I definitely see a potential COVID-safe romance in the near future. Best of all, I owe it all to Dr. Gardner!”

Despite the many frustrated students and slightly confused faculty members, overall, UNIS has been commended for their tremendous efforts to continue life despite the pandemic. After all, many of their decisions might be blessings in disguise. Perhaps “Happy Birthday” is just the thing we need for a great start of the day…

And who knows? Could UNIS’ administration in reality be the perfect matchmakers?

Maybe we can find the answers if we subscribe to Zoom Premium™…