Reflecting on one year of COVID-19

From+complications+with+attending+school%2C+to+being+unable+to+visit+with+friends+and+family%2C+everyone+has+lost+some+aspect+of+what+they+perceive+to+be+%E2%80%9Cnormal.%E2%80%9D+As+the+pandemic+begins+to+cool+down+after+a+long+year%2C+KHS+students+reflect+over+all+that+has+happened.+%0AArt+by+Liv+Timp.

Lawrence McKee

From complications with attending school, to being unable to visit with friends and family, everyone has lost some aspect of what they perceive to be “normal.” As the pandemic begins to cool down after a long year, KHS students reflect over all that has happened. Art by Liv Timp.

Questions like “How long do you think we’ll be out of school for?” and “Are you excited to do school online for the next few weeks?” were all anyone could talk about during the weeks leading up to spring break. Some people thought we would only be out of school for a few weeks, when in actuality ended up turning into the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. It has been a year since COVID-19 made its way into Kirkwood, and the pandemic has disrupted our lives in multiple ways in the past 12 months. From complications with attending school, to being unable to visit with friends and family, everyone has lost some aspect of what they perceive to be “normal.” As the pandemic begins to cool down after a long year, KHS students reflect over all that has happened. 

The week before spring break, many people remember what they were doing the last week at school, and their personal predictions for what impact “corona” was going to leave on the world in the following weeks. Anna DuBord, senior, remembers frantically running through the halls of KHS to find her wallet that was stolen. She said it was during the last moments of being at school and looking for her wallet, that she realized there was a high chance KHS students and staff would not return to school after break. 

“I got my wallet stolen at school, and I was running around with my friend [looking for it],” DuBord said. “I was crying because I just lost my credit cards, my ID and everything [else in my wallet]. [My friend] looked at me and [said], ‘Well, we can just come back after spring break and find it, it’ll be somewhere after spring break.’ I looked at him and I said, ‘I don’t think we’re coming back after spring break.’ In that moment I [thought] ‘Shoot, I lost my wallet and my high school experience.”

I was honestly happy [because] it was like an extra spring break.”

— Ellie Hubbard

Once an email was sent out to KSD families that KHS students would not be returning to school, Ellie Hubbard, freshman, said that she was excited to have an extended spring break. She said she had recorded her reaction, not realizing what time out of school was going to mean. 

“I was actually videotaping myself [to send my reaction to] my friends, so I was freaking out, and I was honestly happy [because] it was like an extra spring break,” Hubbard said. “Then I [realized the school is] going to have us do homework assignments [from home] and that [was] going to be hard.” 

Over the summer, COVID-19 cases skyrocketed, preventing KSD from beginning the 2020-2021 school year in-person. Until November, KHS students took their classes strictly online through Zoom. Much earlier than expected, KHS gave students the choice to come to school in-person in the morning, then return home for lunch and virtual afternoon classes. Claire Sutter, sophomore, said they liked that KHS gave students the choice whether or not to return to school, but that they thought it was too early to be returning to in-person learning. 

“I probably would’ve stayed online, but my parents were very adamant about me going back and, I think it was really good that they gave the option [to stay virtual or return to in-person] to all students,” Sutter said. “[KHS] should’ve stayed online, but I get that a lot of people were getting on KSD’s case about [going back to in-person learning].”

Regardless of KHS students’ different learning situations, everyone has lost something due to COVID-19.
Art by Liv Timp. (Lawrence McKee)

After returning to in-person learning at the beginning of second semester, DuBord said she felt anxious about being around so many people again. She said she is constantly worried after being around other people, in fear of contracting the virus.

“It was weird to go from sitting in my bedroom [and] having my camera off [for] most of the day and not having to be that social, to having to go and walk around the halls [and] see people,” DuBord said. “I’ve [had anxiety] this entire pandemic about testing positive. I’ve been scared for a lot of people around me that are high risk, my parents mostly. It’s gotten easier [over time], but it’s been hard to branch out of my small little bubble [that] I’ve been in for months.”

Regardless of KHS students’ different learning situations, everyone has lost something due to COVID-19. Last year, the class of 2020 gained attention after losing major high school events, such as prom and graduation. Despite also losing parts of their high school experience, none of the other classes got yard signs, or celebrities congratulating them. Hubbard said she lost the end of her eighth grade as well as the beginning of her freshman year. 

“I missed the last chunk of eighth grade, and we [typically] get to go to Six Flags and we missed [out on] that,” Hubbard said. “[The class of 2020] basically got the whole fun part of their senior year taken away. But [the] other classes could’ve gotten some sort of appreciation or some sort of celebration [like the class of 2020 did].”

‘21 got the entirety of senior year taken away, every tradition, we didn’t [even] get a Turkey Day. But at the same time, I’m grateful I get to go to school.”

— Anna DuBord

According to DuBord, the class of 2021 should have the same amount of attention like the class of 2020 had. She said her class has gotten hardly anything despite losing more of their high school experience than the class of 2020 did, but that she is thankful she is even able to salvage part of her last year and learn in-person. 

“The way everyone reacted was really big no matter what it was,” DuBord said. “Everyone was so mixed up at that point that ‘20 deserved a giant sendoff, because they didn’t know what was going to happen, so they deserved everything big they could have. It has sucked because [‘21] hasn’t gotten as much as ‘20, and ‘21 got the entirety of senior year taken away, every tradition, we didn’t [even] get a Turkey Day. But at the same time, I’m grateful I get to go to school.”