ESSEX—Recognizing that this is an unprecedented time in history, English teacher and newspaper advisor at Kenwood High School, Angela Glenn, invited her students to contribute to a Corona Diary in order to document their thoughts, feeling and worries surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak.
In the introduction to part 1 of the diary, posted the school’s news site on March 13, Glenn wrote:
“Schools are shutting down across the state. Events across the nation are getting canceled. Stores are running out of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Families’ financial security and investments are being threatened.
The world as we know it is spinning out of control and at a ridiculous stand still at the same time. We’re left scared and uncertain. When will we return to normalcy? Is this virus going to touch someone I know in a deadly way? What am I going to miss out on that I can never get back from this lost time?
These are the endless questions rapidly running through students’ minds as they’re forced in a mass exodus to exit their schools at the end of the day on Friday, the 13th until at least March 30 when school at this time is presumed to resume. To process this historic event, students at Kenwood have started the Corona Diary Series to process their reality of this situation.”
Since then, of course, the closure of schools has been extended to at least Friday, April 24, and Kenwood has posted 4 separate parts of the Corona Diary . Below is one entry each from the four diary posts. Please visit Kenwood’s news site to see the complete diary.
Joey Basham, senior student — from part 1 of the series, posted March 13
This is it- my last year of school and there are so many things I’m looking forward to like going to prom. You only get to do these things once in your lifetime. Though it may seem selfish to worry about missing prom, it’ll be time I can’t get back if it’s lost. The next two weeks are going to be so uncertain as I don’t know what’s going to happen first with this virus, but personally what about bringing grades up needed for graduation.
To only have today to prepare for what to do these two weeks creates its own panic. With everything closing down like the NBA, MLB, and NHL and concert events it’s so crazy surreal. I’m hoping in two weeks we’re back so I can enjoy my senior year.
I’m really upset about missing things but relieved at the same time because I don’t want to get sick. I worry on my own I’ll have trouble completing the necessary work I need to over this extended break.
A lot of people are scared and worried, but I think that the shutting schools downs before it got too bad is the safest way to go. I’m not going to miss getting up in the morning but I’m going to miss talking to my friends and teachers.
Emily Sherman, senior student- from part 2 of the series, posted March 24
Individuals like myself enjoy school because we have the opportunity to communicate with others outside of our homes every day. When we don’t have a large amount of friends, school is our social outlet. We take the time in school to learn and thrive educationally, but we also use that time to create bonds and gain knowledge from likeminded individuals who are in our age group. This time is precious and valuable to us, especially now as seniors and our time is ticking by.
It sucks to say, but the COVID-19 pandemic has led many of us anti-social yet social individuals to be stuck in a place we most hate. I love being outside of the house, but I don’t willfully get outside unless I have to, which brings school onto the “table.” It’s a reason for me to get out of bed in the morning and actually interact with other people. Otherwise, I’m an excessively strict insider, an introvert if that term helps.
It’s nice to sit and laugh with friends face to face for me, but I often shy away from social interaction unless something is pushing me to do it. And now the “quarantine” due to the COVID-19 outbreak has led me to be almost completely out of social communication other than with my phone.
My personal issue with this is that I cannot contact with the people I want to most face to face. I can’t see their facial expressions or how they’re reacting physically whether it be their body language or what they’re doing. It’s hard to relate to others on a level when the only thing you have in common currently is the fact that you can’t go to school and must stay home.
Though we maybe didn’t think we would miss school, it’s really the only social communication I have every day so it’ll be nice to go back.
Raven Brooks, senior student- from part 3 of the series, posted April 3
At first, I didn’t really take this seriously. I thought of it as the flu/cold. I still kind of do but I can’t tell people my opinion, though it may be wrong, everyone gets very judgmental.
The toilet paper situation? Don’t even get me started. Ridiculous is all I can say. Honestly, I have mixed emotions about this. I wanted the 2-week break; I needed it mentally.
Then day by day I realized I might not step into Kenwood again this school year. My senior year is being ripped from me. There’s possibly no prom or graduation. The two events I’ve been looking forward to as long as I can remember are very possibly gone. Just gone like that.
My job closed on March 19, 2020. All employees get paid for 4 hours; that’s it. I mean it’s better than nothing. It is making it harder for me to see my boyfriend who lives 30 minutes away, but we are making it work.
On March 21, my dog got hit by a car. Today is March 22, 2020 and I’ve been constantly trying to find out who did it. The driver left the scene and I’ve been trying to get a license plate. My dog was in the hospital for 6 hours and due to the virus, no one was allowed inside the hospital.
I sat in my car waiting for answers. They immediately put him on oxygen and we later found out he has a contusion to his lung and free air in his abdomen. They wanted to keep him overnight to keep running tests and wanted $1,200 to start with. We didn’t have that. While looking at other options we ended up having to make a GoFundMe in the parking lot while they ran X-Rays. A busy Saturday night I waited for answers in the parking lot, so you know it was going to be a long night. At 11:00 p.m. we had to take him home, without the funds for the proper care he needed. He was sent home with only pain medicine. March 22, 2020, I spent all day finding answers on who did it, what car it was, and got the license plate. Now I’m trying to see how I can take legal actions.
While all of this is happening, I’m worried schools won’t reopen next week. Not sure if they will even open for the rest of the year. If schools are closed for the rest of the year, I can kiss prom and graduation goodbye.
At this point I’m so upset that I don’t care anymore. It’s so sad that this one class of 2020, out of all classes, can’t celebrate their achievements like everyone else. Although there are more important things going on in the world. I feel like I’m caught up on all my sleep until I’m 50 years old, but I know when and if school starts again, I will feel like I haven’t slept in a week.
Students and teachers are hanging in there, but both keep hoping that maybe somehow we’ll all see each other again in person before the year ends.
Jacob Hammond, junior student- from part 4 of the series-posted April 9
It’s been a stressful week. On top of everything going on in the world already with coronavirus, schools have officially announced that they will be closing until the 24th of April.
I think at first every student looked at this excitedly until the confusion came. Not only did students and parents not know exactly what school closures meant for the education process, but neither did teachers and staff.
Teachers and staff had about just as much knowledge of the situation as the students did. The closure also left us older students wondering: would third quarter be extended or would the current grades stay in effect for third quarter grades.
This sent students into panic mode.
Teachers’ inboxes were flooded with questions they simply didn’t have the answer to, and the only advice was to wait. I’m a rather impatient person when it comes to something I’m stressed out about which I imagine is the same for many of my peers. We are the instant gratification generation so waiting for all these unanswered questions to be answered is tough. It’s hard to get it off my mind and wait for the uncertainty to subside.
I began to talk with teachers and guidance counselors about the best course of action for me. I submitted make-up work and so far, I’ve brought a lot of grades up. I’m trying to be as positive as I can but it’s hard.
Not only do I have fears about education and what will happen with school, but I’m also nervous of the effects work will have on my family and me. Technically speaking, I don’t have to continue to work, however I do like to have money. This led me to have to make a critical decision, should I stay at work and protect my family and myself from this virus or continue to work and have an income?
There were a couple of factors that contributed to my decision. I decided to stay at work for the time being due to the safety precautions we’re taking and the practice of social distancing; however, when things start to develop further, I’ll make the call to stop going to work.
Many things contributed to my decision. Even with not many places open for me to even spend my money I wanted to stay at work for the time being just to save money to have after it’s over with.
Another factor was my grandfather. The coronavirus is spread easily, and most people do survive, however extra precaution has to be taken in my house because of my grandfather. He already has existing medical conditions and the coronavirus could prove to be lethal for him. This is a chance I am not willing to make.
After I finally thought everything might just work out and my family might have the situation under control for us, someone was diagnosed with coronavirus in my mother’s workplace. Upon finding out, she decided it was best to take some time off and collect partial unemployment for the time being. My week has been hectic, but I’m trying my best to maintain a sense of normalcy.