WHHS Community Reflects on Covid As Anniversary of School Closings Appraoches Approaches

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By Journalism Class

Our schools closed down on March 16th, 2020, and we gradually learned to adjust to the new normalcy of life in a pandemic, faced with an enemy that we could not see. Now, with this unusual anniversary approaching, our community reflects on the many ways that we have changed- the good and the bad.

Anniversaries are typically happy and exciting events commemorating good things in our lives. This is the anniversary of when all of our lives changed forever. This is not an anniversary people want to celebrate. This is an anniversary everyone wants to forget.  But as some of those interviewed indicate, there were some positives that came out of the pandemic. 

 “As tragic and heartbreaking as this pandemic has been for so many families, a silver lining that I had found in it last spring was that many of us had the opportunity to step away from the “same old, same old” routine and re-evaluate our priorities in life,” said John Terry, World Studies teacher.  

After people had been reportedly feeling sick for months prior, the coronavirus was first officially identified in Wuhan, China on December 31, 2019. Since then, the pandemic has taken a worldwide toll on the population. In America alone, there have been about 29.2 million reported cases and 527 thousand deaths. That figure represents more than the total deaths the United States experienced in both the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  What that translates to is one out of 11 people has been diagnosed with the virus.

In terms of the more widespread consequences of the global pandemic declared on January 30, 2020, there have been 117 million cases worldwide and 2.61 million deaths thus far.

Since then, many residents have been personally affected by the virus’ devastating death toll, as it claimed lives in both distant countries and in our own community.

A good friend and mentor to me that I was close with passed away from the virus,” said Kevin Grogaard, math teacher. “The worst part of this was that he passed away in late March, but I didn’t find out until mid November. So not being able to say goodbye or telling him thanks for how he changed my life so much was so hard to get over for a bit.”

The pandemic’s continued presence in our lives has changed many of our perspectives on the virus, as time passes and conditions show little improvement. The severity of coronavirus became more clear to some as months went by.

“Last spring in March I thought of the pandemic as something that would disappear in a month or two,” said Isabella Bernier, freshman at WHHS. “ Now almost a year later I’m sitting in front of my Chromebook for classes, wearing a mask anytime I go into public and social distancing. This is not what I thought would happen at all, but it makes sense since no one took the proper precautions.” 

Considering that the pandemic has now lasted longer than initially anticipated, teachers as well as students have had to adjust to their new classroom protocol, adhering to the district-wide social distancing guidelines. 

I miss all the everyday things that I used to do without having to think about themI miss not having all my students in school and having classes like we used to. I really enjoy teaching, and having you guys here,” said Steve Hopper who teaches Auto.

School before the pandemic is not the only thing that community members miss- there is much that has changed in our everyday lives, as many feel the absence of the smaller things we took for granted.

“I do miss the freedom of being able to walk down an aisle at the store without people flinching when I get too close to them. I miss having to only remember my keys and wallet everytime I went out, but now trying to remember to bring a mask is the new norm,” said Leah Rodgers, senior.

Ever since the release of the first COVID vaccine, Pfizer, on December 11, 2020, there have been 74 million doses administered and two other vaccines, Johnson and Johnson, and Moderna have been approved. Since the vaccinations have become more readily available, the CDC has now stated that people who are fully vaccinated can see each other indoors without masks on or without having to be socially distant in small groups.