Coronavirus’ impact on our community and our response toward it
March 13, 2020. 6 PM. Teachers, students, and parents alike had received an email announcing the closure of schools. Starting on March 16th of 2020, the Fremont Unified School District implemented the decision to close schools to prevent the possible spreading of COVID-19, commonly referred to as Coronavirus. The pending return date was March 30th. Alongside this, social gatherings of any kind were discouraged, and a minimum distance of six feet was to be maintained.
In the beginning, American High students rejoiced over this. In a month consisting of few holidays and breaks, a two-week break was welcome. However, this wasn’t a break. Far from it, in fact. Instead, you were to continue your education at your home, relying on your schoolloop updates and your loopmail notifications. Within the two days between Friday and the coming Monday, teachers had to figure out how to alter their agendas and move the necessary content online. In the meantime, administrators dedicated efforts to ensure the complete sanitization of the school campus. Students were given specific time windows to stop by campus and quickly grab any supplies that they needed.
Little by little, assignment by assignment, schoolwork began to flood in. Schoolloop, Turnitin, Google Classroom, and other messaging apps were relied upon to inform students and receive work. Another app and website rising in popularity (and usefulness!) was Zoom. By sending out a code to their classes, teachers could hold video sessions about anything from chapter reviews to Q&A meetings–even friendly little check-ins. You could even play around with your camera and change your background, but that’s beside the point. As homework accumulates, students find themselves admitting how they want to go back to school. It’s strange how much time we spent complaining about school and never stopped to consider what we liked about it. Sure, we received a lot of homework and crammed for tests, but we could do so with friends and teachers by our sides.
It’s unfortunate how many school events were canceled by the closure. Springfest with its dress-up days. Battle of the Bands boasting some of American High’s musically talented students. The Spring musical, Freaky Friday, where cast and crew alike worked to please their future audiences. The Week of Service and the collaboration of the many service clubs. The Art Show and its masterpieces. Even the Language Day Study Trip that brings different cultures into one area. The fate of prom is pending, as well as the seniors’ Grad Nite and graduation ceremony that they’ve waited four years for. Even with all these losses though, it’s important to remember why we’ve lost them. A pandemic is definitely no joke (contrary to the memes being made), and some people are more at risk for contracting it than others.
In light of the current situation, the district and our community have been trying to ensure that every student is accommodated and provided with as much assistance as need be. For those who relied on school lunches, specific locations were listed that were providing meals, with some being Suju’s Coffee and Subway. In the first week of closure, Chromebooks were checked out to students who needed them. Free access to JLG Digital, an online reading platform with ebooks, was announced. For seniors who haven’t reached their required forty hours of service-learning hours, those hours have been waived due to the ongoing shelter-in-place. Lastly, AP exams were a huge topic of concern, especially considering how we’ve already paid to take them in May and how they transfer into college credits. College Board recently stated that AP exams will take place online with a 45-minute time limit for free-response questions. Exams will be given on two different days depending on whether the student wants to test earlier or later. Regarding the SAT, the March SAT make-ups and the upcoming May exam have been canceled. The June exam is still in place for now until further announcements. (Don’t worry, Juniors. You’ve still got time!)
As of now, the return date and end of school closure for April 6th, previously March 30th, has been pushed to the beginning of May on May 4th. With this extra month added on, make sure you all take care of yourselves and your family members. Push through school work, but don’t forget to give yourselves a break. Keep in contact with friends and relatives, and reach out to classmates and teachers for information regarding your classes. The counselors are also open to emails and scheduling online appointments.
All in all, stay safe and healthy.