By Carly Newton
On March 11, 2020, COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic. One year later, it’s safe to say that this virus has lasted much longer than anyone could have imagined.
Over the past year, wearing a mask, social distancing and Zooming have become integrated into our daily lives. COVID-19 has impacted schools and students all over the world. They have struggled and changed in order to adapt to the restrictions.
The students who have missed out on a normal end to their high school experience have suffered greatly.
One high school student, Emily Tromblee, is in her senior year and is navigating her way through the chaos caused by COVID-19. Her high school graduation is in June and this year is nothing like she imagined and hoped it would be.
“We didn’t get to do a lot of the things seniors got to do in the past. We couldn’t have spirit week, we weren’t allowed to have our senior lounge because we couldn’t gather together.”
Tromblee said that usually her high school gives students the opportunity to pay and attend a trip out of the country.
“Every couple of years over spring break or the summer there is a trip to Europe, but due to COVID-19 they had to postpone it and the seniors this year won’t be able to go on it.”
Tromblee has managed to keep her grades up while she prepares for college, but she recognizes how much more difficult school has been compared to before the pandemic.
Emily Tromblee getting ready to join her virtual class. Photo via Emily Tromblee.
Tromblee’s high school does a mixture of in-person learning and online learning. The full amount of students are never in school at the same time. The students are split up by A-M and N-Z last names. This method is supposed to help limit the risk of COVID-19 transmission but has made learning more difficult.
“You only get to see a limited amount of people now, and you’re only in-person two or three days a week. Learning online, while others are in school, is hard because it can be difficult to stay on the same page and go at the same pace.”
The only positive Tromblee can take away from this school year is that she now gets more personal time with her teachers because her class size is much smaller.
Being a senior in high school, Tromblee is preparing for college in an unprecedented year but said she isn’t more scared for college than she would be if COVID-19 weren’t around. She also added that at first you could only visit colleges virtually, but they’ve since allowed campus tours again.
Tromblee said that she was skeptical of what her senior year would be like.
“Before the virus, I couldn’t imagine it was going to be like this. Last year, as the virus continued through the summer and into the fall, I was doubtful that we were going to have in-person school at all.”
This year, despite its challenges, has brought Tromblee out of her comfort zone and taught her how to become a better student.
“There is more room to slack in your work now, but I think in a way it has made me focus more on the material. I had the temptation and opportunity to slack like some other students because it is harder to learn the material now, but I chose to focus.”