This is about my life right before COVID hit to now.
|When COVID Took Over my Junior Year
Covid-19 has affected me in many ways for many different reasons. I am currently a senior in high school. I am 5’8 with blue eyes, I live in small town, Iowa, and I can be very loud and talkative when I want to be. Just with school, COVID has given me a shorter volleyball season, limited spectators to basketball games, required me to wear a mask to school, will change how graduation will be done, limited my opportunities for community service, and so much more. That is just school. I have way more that I am involved in that makes up my life- family, friends, etc.
March 15, 2020. I am at the school for a Pops Concert. I have multiple different pieces I am responsible for knowing in both band and choir, as well as a solo. I am nervous before the concert starts, but I am most nervous for band because this is my first concert playing the tuba, and trust me, I am not very good at it; I write in all of the fingerings on all of my sheet music. The stage is hot, the bright lights shine down and create an immense amount of heat that does not help the nervous issue. I get through the band portion with just a little bit of sweat. Next, I have choir. We get to stand on the stage and use our High School Musical set. I have a solo in “Man In The Mirror”, and I killed it. Now, I get to sit and watch some soloists before I go on. Everyone sounds awesome and it is nice to see some new faces that I am not used to watching perform. Now it is my turn, I am going to sing “Defying Gravity” from Wicked. I am done with that now, and I surprisingly didn’t mess up. I have to hurry off and go change into comfy clothes to perform one of our High School Musical songs with the cast including singing and choreography to finish out the concert. The reason we chose to end the show with that performance is to try and get people excited to come see the musical. It is going great. We get to the end and hold our final pose to see a standing ovation from the crowd. Boom. Done. My last normal day of high school.
I went home after the concert. As always, my parents told me what they thought about my song choice. Sadly, this year they were not impressed, but that is besides the point. The ten minute drive home from the concert symbolized a distance and time that I headed away from normalcy. We got home, went to bed and continued on with our lives with no idea what would be happening in just a few short days.
The weekend went on. Tensions started rising in the country as people began seeing Covid-19 broadcasted over the news. By the time Sunday rolled around, administrations had begun to cancel school. I sat in my room with anticipation, knowing what was going to happen. At about ten p.m., right before I was ready to go to sleep, Boyer Valley announced their cancellation. At that exact moment, I didn't know what was going to happen. I didn't know if we would go back. I didn't know if I'd finished my junior year. And I didn't know if I would get my musical. A lot of different emotions fled through me at one time; I was happy, I was sad, I was angry. I didn't know how to feel. All I and anyone else could do was sit, and wait, and do what the news told us to do. Absolutely nobody knew what we were in for.
Communities and school districts were optimistic; they had plans to go back to school before the end of May. That obviously didn't happen. New dates were set to go back and cancelled just like the time before. These dates were set later and later into the year, and with no real hope to go back the Pops Concert drive home turned into not only a symbol of driving away from normalcy, but also a symbol of driving away from my junior year.
The rest of March was pretty much uneventful. People were scared, so they stayed home with the exception of going out on occasion only when absolutely necessary. Most all businesses were closed or only offered curb-side pick up. My school posted assignments online to help kids stay in the learning mindset for the faint possibility of returning to class. March ended with little to no information about Covid.
April was very similar to the previous month. People were still staying in, and threats of closing down big businesses as well as a stay-inside mandate were made. Nursing homes closed to visitors, unless it was a life or death situation. My Band, Choir, and Drama teacher, Mr. Schauer, suggested having zoom meetings with the Dunlap Nursing Home. Every Tuesday and Thursday for about a month, he gathered students to prepare a couple of songs to perform to the residents. We were usually on with them for about a half an hour. Nursing homes were not the only things in question then. My junior prom was supposed to be April 25th, and was canceled for the time being. Looking back on April now, I realized that my family didn’t celebrate Easter or my older brother’s birthday like we would have in previous years.
May was just around the corner and the chance of going back to class completely diminished. Graduation had been cancelled and the seniors were struggling with not getting the chance to walk across that stage in front of all of their friends and family. Though the administration was working on an alternate graduation, there was no surety in the plans. Soon, what would’ve been the last day of school came and went. Teachers stopped posting assignments online, which gave me even less to do.
June came fast. Boyer Valley got to start having baseball and softball games. The crowds were slim, but the fact that all of the games were outside gave the spectators a sense of security. I went to most all of the games, and more times than not, I sang “The National Anthem” when they were home. I even went to the traveling games with a friend’s family. Anything to get me out of the house was a treat. This month was the first month Covid really had an impact on my family. My older brother, Calvan, ended up getting it. He felt awful, and it restricted the activities I got to be involved in because I just happened to see him for a few minutes a day or two before he got tested.
July was up next, and the talk about going back to school had started to become a more pressing issue. Students and their families were unsure if they would be returning to school in a face-to-face setting or virtually. Other than that the beginning of July was kind of a bummer. The town of Dunlap decided to cancel all Fourth of July events. There was no parade, no arcade, and no fireworks, but after that, small group events started happening more often. I would have been starting my senior volleyball season in August, so most of our team got together in Dow City to play sand volleyball once a week until we got to start practicing in the gym. July is also when my Junior Prom got rescheduled. Grand March was outside, but other than that, there really weren’t any restrictions. We all had a great time, even though I had some friends who played “Go Fish” throughout the entire dance. The best part of Prom was easily After Prom. My friend Michael and I were bag champs, and I went home with $180.
August started and that is when school stress really started rolling in. No one really knew what was going to happen. The only true set up for covid was if a student was home because of direct contact or testing positive, they had to zoom into class until they were cleared. A plan for Hybrid learning was in place, but no plan was 100% decided.
I asked a teacher, “What is the point of zoom? Most teachers don’t do anything other than give out an assignment in class anyway.”
The teacher responded, “It is a way to hold students accountable for their school work. If we don’t do it that way, they won’t do the work at all.
“Why do you think if they wouldn’t do the posted assignments that they will sit on a pointless zoom meeting for 45 minutes?” I argued back angrily
“That’s just not how it works, Addie. Some students don’t have access to the internet, or the drive for school like you do.” he sighed.
Getting even more angry, I responded, “Looking up an assignment on google docs to do, takes up less internet than streaming an entire zoom meeting. There isn’t even a need for a drive. It’s which option would you rather do.”
“Trying to end the conversation, he mumbled, “Addie, it just doesn’t work that way.”
August also brought actual volleyball practice in the gym, but it was a day by day event. Every day could’ve been our last. Our coach decided to take an extra precaution at practice and games, and that was to wear masks all the time. Throughout the season we were the only team that didn’t take their masks off during the games. Yes, it was kind of awful. After a few weeks of practice, face-to-face class started at all levels at Boyer Valley. There was an option to be online all year, but that had to be filled out before the first day with a note from a doctor, so a family couldn’t just switch back and forth. Masks were not required, just “highly recommended.” Not many people wore them when we started.
September, October, and November all kind of mushed together. Football, volleyball, and XC all got to finish their seasons. Towards the end of the seasons though, Covid cases in the community started rising, and we were told that if we wanted to continue playing, that we needed to wear masks to class. Almost half of the school started wearing masks after the athletes were told to do so. At the beginning of November a mask mandate came through the school and Harrison County. The school administration was not going to regulate mask wearing, but if a student chose not to wear one, they were required to be secluded from the class at least six feet.
Now, it is towards the end of November, and everything is unknown. There is a lot of superstition throughout the community and school that Governor Reynolds will cancel winter sports as soon as state dance and state football are over. Nobody knows when or what will happen next, and tensions are high because of that. I am currently living on a day to day basis just waiting for an email, call, or conversation that will end my senior year.