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One Year Later: Minarets Reflects on COVID Anniversary

Submitted by Jolene Anderson & Mia Hipwood, Student Journalists for Minaret’s Press

With the anniversary of COVID-19 mandated quarantine coming up this Saturday, students and staff at Minarets High School reflect on the past year, talking about their struggles and disappointments.

Freshman Acacia Edeluchel recalls that her teachers had previously talked about the possibility of schools closing, but she didn’t think much about it. Thinking back, Edeluchel recalls that she was in the store when her mom got the Facebook notification that schools would be closing, but Edeluchel says she didn’t think it would last as long as it has. “I know for me, I never pictured my first day or even my whole first year to end up like this,” says Edeluchel. “It’s weird how we might be going back in person almost exactly a year later. The biggest thing is missing out on things and not being able to experience what it’s really like to be a freshman. Hopefully, though, we can go back soon and I’ll have the rest of high school to enjoy.” Edeluchel was initially disappointed that she would be missing out on her freshman year but is hopeful with the news of the possibility of coming back to school.

When Junior Erica Hafkey heard that school would be canceled for two weeks, she and her family took advantage of it and went to their vacation home in Mexico. She recalls her initial reaction was that of excitement. A year later though, she shares what she has taken away from the experience. “You need to take care of your mental and physical health for the greater good. If you don’t you’ll just suffer and fall into all the bad feelings you might have, then it’s harder to get out. Being aware of yourself and your actions is what I’ve learned.” Hafkey also talked about the extensive lack of social interaction that was harmful to her and forced her to come to terms with herself.

Senior Mariah DuBois-Foss was sitting in the art room with her friends when she got the email. After reading the email, which detailed that school would be shut down for a week or two, DuBois-Foss and her friends made a wager on how long the school would be shut down for. None of them could have bet on the school shutting down for almost a year. At first, DuBois-Foss didn’t take the shutdown seriously. She felt frustrated and unmotivated to do school work. Only when her grades dropped beginning of November did she realize that this is a huge deal. She states, “I was academically challenged, mentally I was ok, but I had to learn to be independent which was something I wasn’t before the quarantine. I also learned that to succeed, I need to adapt.” DuBois-Foss also learned to manage her time better, take responsibility for things, and advocate for herself

Senior Johanna Ziegler remembers already having a rough day because of a stressful group project and homework and general. Ziegler recalls the last day she spent on campus, saying she couldn’t wait for the weekend, and because of that, she went straight to the parking lot instead of saying goodbye to her best friend Emma Lynch, who graduated last year. After hearing the news that school was canceled for two weeks, she was initially excited, until two weeks turned into months. Thinking back to this time last year, Ziegler recalls, “I think when it really hit me was around spring break when my sister flew home from college. I remember seeing my parents utterly horrified at the thought of her flying home because there were so many ways to contract COVID on the planes, and the safety guidelines hadn’t really been set in stone at that point. And I remember when she got home, my parents didn’t want her to go back to North Dakota because she would be at risk of catching it. I think that’s when it really hit me, that my sister’s life was in danger.” Ziegler went on to explain that the most disappointing part of her senior year is the possibility that she cannot attend prom because, for Ziegler, it was going to be a huge milestone.

English and drama teacher Kayla West was in San Luis Obisbo when she received the news that quarantine was mandated and school was going to be shut down for what was presumed to be two weeks. West recalls her initial reaction to this was shocking because she was aware COVID was bad but not that the virus was so out of control. She says, “I knew things were getting serious because my other close friend who is a drama teacher at Sanger was getting worried that their play would get shut down because it was supposed to be open on a Thursday or Friday. It was opening night, and they were setting up and everything and the principal came in and told her that she couldn’t open the play. So they never got to do their play.” West also explained how thanks to the laptops in possession of every student and teacher, the school was able to quickly adapt.

Art teacher Jill Gamble was at her mother-in-law’s house watching the news when she got the notice that there was going to be a mandated quarantine. Her initial reaction was thinking that it was crazy to shut down the school for two weeks. After a few days though, Gamble realized just how serious the situation really was. From the start of quarantine, it affected Gamble pretty hard. She was not able to see her parents even though they live close to each other. By nature Gamble is a social person so having to be away from her co-workers and students has been difficult to handle. She had to cancel upcoming plans for the holidays which was really upsetting. After a while, Gamble lost grip on being cautious like many people have. During quarantine, Gamble has learned to have more thoughtfulness of other people and what they might be going through. Also how much social people need social interaction to stay sane.

This year has been challenging, but with the lowering case rates, increased vaccinations, and the possibility of reopening on March 22, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Read the original article here: https://minaretspress4.wixsite.com/minaretspress/post/one-year-later-minarets-reflects-on-covid-anniversary

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