The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all aspects of American life. People’s daily routines are being interrupted by shutdowns and closings and events across the world are being postponed or cancelled. The fates of different events at Springfield High School hang in the balance, college students are being forced to finish the semester online, national sports seasons have been postponed indefinitely and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are delayed to 2021. Massive changes are taking place that affect nearly everyone, but most people cannot do anything about them. Weeks have gone and will continue to go by with several Americans remaining at home, unable or unwilling to leave, possibly frightened and confused by the situation at hand.
High school students find themselves wondering about the status of prom and graduation, when school will resume and if spring sports are simply postponed or outright cancelled. Senior Joel Ryan said, “I’m definitely upset about events being cancelled. I lost multiple concerts, the musical, much of my tennis season and probably more.” Shrek, SHS’s spring musical was originally postponed, but was officially cancelled less than a week after the school closing. On Mar. 12, the Illinois High School Association cancelled the remaining winter sport state tournaments, and have not officially given word on if or when spring sports will resume.
Another SHS senior, Melanie McKeown, weighed in on the situation, focusing on the girls soccer season. She said, “It’s really weird…going from seeing your team everyday at practice or games to not being able to see them at all. It makes me really sad knowing that there is a chance that I won’t be able to play with my teammates again, especially my fellow seniors.” “Weird” has been used by many different people to describe the current situation. People are attempting to compare this break from school to summer vacation, but social distancing is in effect and trips out of the house have to be minimal. Remaining indoors is very unusual for high schoolers, who are rarely stuck at home for long periods of time.
In addition to high schoolers, college students are experiencing severe changes to their lives and learning as well. Two former staffers of The Senator gave another perspective on how the coronavirus is affecting all types of students. Emma Batterman, who attends Loyola University Chicago only had one week to leave campus for the remainder of the semester. She said, “It all stopped so abruptly…One day we were in class stressing about an essay…and the next week we [didn’t] even have class.” She also described how different pieces of information were relayed through different channels leading to confusion among students, saying, “It’s pretty frustrating since everyone on campus had been predicting we would move online, but the dean kept sending emails saying we [wouldn’t]…I would have been more upset if they delayed it any longer to be honest. I just didn’t expect it to be so sudden.”
Sarah Hudspeth, a student at Belmont University in Nashville was on spring break when her campus closed. She said, “My things are still waiting for me in my dorm…I don’t have all of my clothes or school supplies which makes daily life a little difficult.” Sarah said her professors “are understanding that we don’t all have our material at home with us and are being flexible with our schedules.” As is normal with any new situation, Sarah has also experienced a few difficulties, saying, “I’m more of a social person and have made family-like friendships at school and now those people are across the country. I’m also a hands-on learner so it’s extremely hard to try to learn everything from my computer.”
Whether you are struggling to keep up with Zoom meetings, desperately hoping for the beginning of a sports season or simply waiting until this situation is over so you can finally see your friends again, it seems as if all types of students, and even Americans who are no longer students will be dealing with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic for a long time.