Effect on Students
May 19, 2020
While the COVID-19 pandemic has had many nationwide effects, the local issues are just as detrimental to students. Since Gov. Holcomb announced that schools must remain closed for the remainder of the academic year, many special events have been cancelled. Traditional graduation, prom, and all sporting events for the rest of the year have been called off due to the school closures. This year’s seniors will be honored through a virtual graduation, for which more information will be announced soon. These cancellations and more have taken a toll on many students across BCSC, including many seniors who will miss out on lots of high school memories that they would have ordinarily been able to make.
East senior Savannah Downey was looking forward to many things that are now not going to happen, but she understands that it is for the safety of everyone in the district. Regarding graduation Downey says “As great as it would be to get to walk the graduation stage, I understand why it has to be done this way.” The COVID-19 pandemic has left many things to chance, but BCSC has chosen to make a definitive decision about graduation early on. “We don’t really know how long this situation is going to last, so postponing graduation would be pointless. I know I wouldn’t be able to come home from college if graduation got pushed to sometime in the fall. I think they are handling the situation as best they can” Downey says. Similar to Downey, senior Ashley Novreske agrees that virtual graduation will be beneficial. “I think virtual graduation is the best option given the current situation. I believe that the diploma is more valuable than walking across the stage, we earned the diploma” Novreske says.
As well as graduation, seniors like Downey will be missing out on their last high school prom. “I was disappointed when prom got cancelled. I had a lot of fun last year and was excited to go again” Downey explains, “plus, I already purchased my prom dress, which wouldn’t be that big of a deal except the dress was non refundable.” Lots of juniors and seniors are in this same situation. Prom dresses are not cheap, and buying a non refundable dress as a senior does not leave students with many options for getting their money back.
High school was more than just prom and graduation for seniors like Downey and Novreske. “I was looking forward to more lunches with my friends before we all part ways,” Novreske explains, “but my favorite memory from East was the first day back to school for me after I had surgery. I was on crutches and there was a fire drill… just my luck. Mr. Vogel carried me down the stairs.” But for Downey, there were too many highlights from her time at East to choose from. “I don’t know if I have one specific favorite memory. There have been so many great moments at sporting events, dances, club events, and even in my classes” Downey says. The almost four years the class of 2020 got to spend were packed full of good times.
While the COVID-19 school cancellations has had many downsides, there are always positives to a situation like this, no matter how small. “I think one positive for me is sleep,” Downey says. Senior year can be hectic, and it is not every year that students get the whole fourth quarter off. “During the school year my schedule is so packed with school, clubs, activities, and having multiple jobs, so I never get much sleep,” Downey explains. The COVID-19 pandemic has given students across America to catch up on all the sleep they miss during the school year. Novreske agrees, as she was ready for her high school career to come to a close. “I’m happy school was cancelled for the rest of the year… I’m ready for the next chapter in my life.”
Another challenge that school cancellations present is how to navigate online learning. BCSC schools have chosen to conduct E-Learning Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays until May 21. E-learning can have its pros and cons, but it is all about finding the balance. Junior Jacob Pierce agrees. “There are negatives and positives,’” Pierce explains, “sleeping in and being able to work at your own leisure is certainly a plus.” Having more time to sleep and working at your own pace seems to be a common plus-side among students. Even though staying home can be beneficial, not having that social lifestyle that school gives students can be a challenge. “I miss the social interactions every day with friends especially, but also the inside jokes in class with teachers” Pierce says. E-learning also presents the challenge of managing a different type of workload. The amount of work received every day can seem overwhelming if students get started later or are in lots of high-level classes. “It’s really a mixed bag, some teachers have recognized that students aren’t as motivated to do work as they would be at school, and have matched that. Others have gone a little overboard at times, but once students and teachers made the proper adjustments, it hasn’t been too bad” Pierce explains. E-learning is all about student-teacher communication. Being able to access teachers so easily has made e-learning and the COVID-19 adjustments seem more manageable.