One Year into our Four Week Break

March 15, 2021

Students+work+with+masks+and+as+socially+distanced+as+possible%2C+following+COVID+protocols+during+class.+

Students work with masks and as socially distanced as possible, following COVID protocols during class.

Last year, on March 16th, we were told that we would be gone from school due to the new pandemic starting the following day until April 14th. Little did we know, we would have a very long summer break that lasted for six months.

During our extended break, many things started to change. Masks became a requirement for stores and other public businesses, many small businesses had to close down, cleaning supplies were sought after by everyone, the 2020 Olympics were postponed, and many hospitals began to have a rising number of COVID-19 patients along with the increasing demand for hospital equipment.

The pandemic has also changed a lot of things in schools. For example, students are taught both in-person and virtually, the bathrooms have a maximum capacity, and instead of having three lunches, we now have six with only two people allowed per table. Also, masks are the norm, and required to be worn correctly, except when you’re eating.

While we started school on time, we were in a hybrid model, with students coming every other day (rotating Mondays), to help with spacing. We eventually came back full time, 100% in person, and switched back to hybrid between Thanksgiving and Christmas. After the winter break, we were back in person at normal capacity.

It doesn’t mean we won’t have snow days just because we have remote learning in place. This year, the district added three built in snow days. Any snow days needed after those three will be remote learning, as to keep our final day of school in the Spring before June. You can learn more about this here (Future Snow/Remote Days).

We do offer Virtual Academy and remote learning still; it is no longer the only option as it was in the Spring of 2020, but now we have a model in place in case this were to ever happen again.

Ms. Courtney Mimick, an art teacher here at TJ, talked about how COVID has impacted the use of supplies for students in the classroom.

“We still use all the same supplies. However, we have strived to get students their own materials so they aren’t sharing. Since we need more art materials this year, I haven’t been able to buy the better quality items because they are more expensive,” said Mimick.

“For example, I tend to purchase Prismacolor pencils because the lead is softer, they blend well, and they come in many more colors. Prismacolor pencils can be quite expensive so we had to go with Crayola this year, instead,” she added.

TJ junior, Eli Dross, talked about what he thought about the extended break and how COVID has impacted the sports he has played this year.

“I wasn’t really sure that we were going to pass our classes,” said Dross. “I didn’t know how that was going to work or if we were going to have to do anything specific to pass our classes. That was my biggest concern.”

“For bowling specifically, we weren’t allowed to have spectators at any of our away meets. We had to wear masks the entire time we were bowling and we could take them off when we were on the approach but we couldn’t take it off any other time,” said Dross.

“For football, the schedule was shortened and we had to wear a mask when we were on the bus. We played an eight-game season instead of the regular ten games,” he added.

Marissa Byrd, another junior here at TJ also talked about her thoughts when we left school last year.

“I was scared that my grades were not going to stay up, because at that point I just thought that I was going to get behind in classes,” said Byrd. “I also didn’t have good internet at the time so I wasn’t going to do be able to do online very well,” she added. This school year has been okay for online for her. “I had to be home for two weeks, and during that time I stayed more caught up with work because I could stay in my room and do the work.” She said she could do multiple subject’s work at one time, and that was helpful overall.

Chenoa Flora, who is also a junior here at TJ talked about how COVID has impacted the way she sees family and friends.

“It’s hard to actually make plans with friends because we have to take precautions with COVID and everything,” said Flora. “I can’t go and see my family very much because they are at high risk of getting COVID.”

Despite all of the changes to our lives, we can agree that things are starting to look up. Many people experienced different things in 2020, whether it be challenges or obstacles.

As of this article, President Joe Biden has signed the American Rescue Plan which aims to have most adults vaccinated (that want one) through funding by the 4th of July.

For more information on where we’ve come, here’s my story from the beginning of this school year.

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