Capturing Quarantine Oral Histories
Interview with Paige Barnes



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Paige Allison Je Cai Chu Barnes was born in Guangzhou, China. She was raised by her adopted parents in Wyoming, Ohio and was actively involved with the student body of Wyoming High School as a member of the prom court, a student council representative, and served as both secretary and treasurer of the student body. She spent a her time outside of school in dance and performed in a variety of shows including Sleeping Beauty , Snow White , and Le Corsaire , throughout her high school years. She was also the runner-up for Junior Miss Ohio in 2018. She graduated high school with the intent of pursuing higher education. When she decided on Columbia College Chicago, she originally chose to pursue a double major in dance and journalism, but ultimately opted to focus on the latter with a concentration in broadcast.

She has worked at Columbia as a student ambassador, a news editor for Columbia’s Chronicle newspaper, and a residents' assistant before and during the outbreak of the coronavirus. She first heard about the virus in January of 2020 and it came to affect her housing and job situation with the announcement of the college’s shutdown.

Over the course of the Illinois lockdown, Paige moved into an apartment in Chicago with her significant other and learned to adapt to life in quarantine. She continued to work as an editor for the Columbia Chronicle while managing the life of a student at home attending online classes.

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Columbia College Chicago




dance, journalism, the Chronicle, COVID-19, pandemic, Chicago, Illinois, United States, coronavirus

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Arts and Humanities | Education | History | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


Paige begins talking about her childhood and being raised in a small suburb in Ohio.She describes the similarities and differences between the SARS and Swine Flu outbreaks she lived through as a kid and the coronavirus pandemic as an adult.

Paige then explains how her choice of Columbia College Chicago and talks about her work as a news editor for the Columbia Chronicle and how the Chronicle made the shift to online publication.

She talks about how worried she was for her friends and parents back home who were more susceptible to the virus.She also discusses her opinions on the availability of testing in the U.S. and what role she feels social inequality played in the crisis.

Conducted in spring 2020 by an Oral History: The Art of the Interview student, this interview with a fellow student in the class reflects on the pandemic and how it impacted their life. The interview is conducted based on the life history approach to oral history.

Interview with Paige Barnes