By Animesh Joshi, Connor Liu, and Ondrea Li
Hi everyone! This last month has been challenging for everyone due to the spread of COVID-19. This disease is very dangerous, and we urge everyone to practice social distancing and abide by the CDC’s guidelines. The upcoming weeks are also going to be quite crucial, so we, as members of Monsoon’s Violence Prevention Team, are going to be doing something different when it comes to blog content. Since a lot of you are at home, we thought we’d write about our own experiences away from the rest of the world. Connor, Ondrea, and I (Animesh), will author a short segment each week describing how we are feeling about a certain topic in relation to the Coronavirus. The aim of our, now weekly, blogs is to shed light on how we’re feeling and let you all know that we’re going through a lot of the same things. This week we’re going to unpack some of our thoughts about school--and all of the baggage that comes with it. We hope you enjoy it!
COVID-19 is spreading, school is closed for 4 weeks, grocery stores are emptying, the government is now enforcing social distancing, events are cancelled, and oh did I already mention that the virus is STILL spreading? Those were some of the things that occurred last week. A week before spring break, I would not have imagined it to come to this stage. On contrary to the typical response towards school being closed for 4 weeks of an ecstatic and an overjoyed reaction, I was dreaded. While I waved goodbye to my friends at school, I thought that it would be just a good few days before I see them again but instead, the virus soon appeared in Iowa and the next thing I knew, I was not going to be seeing my friends for a whole month. Along with the closure of school, I also received news that my exchange friends are being sent back to their respective countries. I miss being with the company and enjoyment of my friends and I cannot wait for the moment school reopens. With the advice to practice social distancing, I have stayed home this whole time. Sometimes staying home and doing nothing can be a good break, but only for a short while because soon after, it feels lethargic. And although this isn't my last year in high school, I sympathize with the seniors for the cancellation of school meant that the musical, prom, commencement, and several other activities that typically make up the final moments of high school have gone down the drain. Regardless of all the cancellation of events, I am thankful for the resources that I have and are available for me during this period of time.
I am bored. Like, really bored. I never thought I could imagine myself missing school, but I’m technically still on break and missing school already. Yes, breaks are good, but, after a while, doing nothing gets repetitive. Normally, I’d go out, hang with friends, etc. but because of COVID-19, all of that has functionally stopped. There’s also just a lot of uncertainty about what’s going to happen next. Our school has cancelled for three weeks after spring break. So until mid-April, we’re for sure staying at home. But is that really when it’ll end? By most projections, the disease will keep spreading. A lot of colleges have cancelled schooling until the end of the semester. There are now talks it could extend even further. Nobody is really sure when this will all be over--it appears like we may have to adjust to this being our new normal for a while.
School cancellation would normally elicit cheers from everyone. But now, with nothing else to do, school seems like so much fun. Spare time--all of my time--becomes an opportunity for reflection, which can be both good and bad. Too often, I’ll spend an hour reading different articles about COVID-19 and then just plan out potential scenarios in my head. And with college decisions coming out this past week, and more coming out this week, my mind is continuing to reflect. As a result, I’ve spent a lot of this “break” being stressed about random stuff--there’s just nothing else for me to preoccupy myself with.
This theme of uncertainty shifts is ever present in school life as well. Teachers have been vague, at best, about what we should be doing over this extended break. Random messages and optional assignments are popping up on Canvas, our online classroom hub, but they can't actually require us to do anything. Our district isn't ready to shift to online learning, so we're functionally losing 3 weeks of our school year. Our senior year is certainly going to be different. 2020!
It’s officially week two of quarantine, and “no school” has officially lost its allure. It’s hard to imagine school cancellation being anything but bliss, but COVID-19 has managed to mutate even the most sacred of student treasures. At West Des Moines Valley, we’re unsure when we’ll be coming back to school. This being my senior year, the COVID cancellation especially sucks. Sure, I would have loved a couple snow days here and there, but mass blocking out the last few months I’d be spending with my closest friends is definitely a bittersweet ending to the last twelve years. We’ve extended Spring Break for at least three more weeks, but with community spread becoming increasingly prevalent, I’m unsure if we’ll be coming back at all. Who knows what summer is going to look like. Who knows what my first semester at college will look like. With things only looking worse and worse, it feels like the . the ending of my high school career is slipping away. Prom, activity banquets, seniors come home day, graduation & commencement etc., all integral components of the senior year experience that might not happen for me. And I’m sure a lot of other seniors in our community, and elsewhere, probably feel the same way. Our school troubles by no means compare to people losing their jobs, loved ones, and even their lives, but the prospect of losing our senior year just seems like the biggest joke. They always said graduating 2020 was going to be special--I guess it really is.