A Covid-19 Reflection: Lessons from the Past Year
One year ago today, we were giddy with excitement for Spring Break, the looming presence of the Novel Coronavirus seemingly far away from us.
Chatter about the disease encompassed campus in the few weeks before break, and we were preparing for a “virtual test day,” but really, we had no idea what was coming. One year after the initial shutdown, we are starting to realize that our post-Covid world should not look at all like our pre-Covid world.
Our lives were uprooted and have yet to go back to “normal.” Despite excitement over the success of the first doses of vaccines, we still have a long way to go. Epidemiologist Dr. Anthony Fauci says, “The U.S. could return to some semblance of normality, like safely eating indoors at restaurants and going to the movies, by the mid-fall if enough people are vaccinated against the disease.” This is promising news for those of us looking forward to the return to in-person school, but we still need 75%-85% of the population vaccinated to be safe enough to return to “normal.” In Connecticut, vaccinations have been available to healthcare workers, first responders and some of the older, more at-risk population. On March 1 vaccinations began for teachers and for those over the age of 55. By May 3, we will hopefully reach eligibility for those ages 16 and over.
As we wait to be vaccinated, Generation Z is being stripped of our high school experience. The Class of 2020 was robbed of their senior spring, while the Class of 2021 has suffered through an isolated, non-traditional senior year. The Class of 2022 has only had one full, real year of high school, while the Classes of 2023 and 2024 do not know what a normal Hopkins high school experience looks like. As teenagers, we ache to hang out with our friends, move around, meet new people, and have fun. But with Covid-19 restrictions, we are left missing the best parts of school. We miss the tables and couches in Heath. We miss randomly hugging our friends or seeing their smiles on the walks between classes. We miss trips to the Cafe for morning pick-me-ups. We miss coming into the Athletic Center on Monday and Friday mornings, with music blaring in the background and our friends greeting us before Assemblies. We miss in-person HDA productions and competitive sports seasons. Even one year later, it’s hard to accept that those things are gone.
In spite of it all, our generation is proving to our- selves and to adults that we are resilient. We still manage to complete (most of) our school work despite the shift to online classes, we are picking up new hobbies, and we use social media to bring world issues to the forefront of the media. We are learning to be creative in our problem-solving because everything can change in a moment. We have to be okay with spontaneity and change. It’s been a year of shifting our lives to fit safely into this new world. There is no going back to how things were. More importantly, do we even want to? Covid-19 brought to our attention the flaws in our healthcare system, school systems, economy, the way we treat others, and the way we treat the environment. The real question is, what lessons, what skills, and what values will we take with us when this is over?