COVID Can’t Stop Us

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Teacher Richard Ricci takes a break from online teaching to play disc golf. Photo courtesy of Richard Ricci.

 Managing Editor

man playing disc golf
Teacher Richard Ricci takes a break from online teaching to play disc golf. Photo courtesy of Richard Ricci.

As COVID-19 becomes a major issue in the United States, day after day is full of more news reports which many may find depressing. It is hard to stay optimistic during a time like this, but people of all ages have still been finding ways to look on the positive side. Students and teachers are also finding different ways to adapt to online classes.

The pandemic has caused schools to close all across the country. With that, online school has begun. “I try to keep the activities for the students to one per week and make each one pertinent to every student,” said math teacher Richard Ricci.

He is trying to do what is best for the students through his lessons. “I don’t know what each of them is going through, and who is dealing with AP and DE classes,” said Ricci. “So, it has been important to give them something that doesn’t add to the stress they already feel.”

Along with K-12 schools, colleges have also closed their campuses and moved to online classes. Students were forced to move back home. “It wasn’t expected at all. I came home for spring break on March 5th and by March 10th got an email from James Madison University saying we are moving to online classes,” said college junior and LCHS graduate Annie Norris.

Students are heartbroken to have the semester end early and their college experiences cut short. “It was so sad leaving so unexpectedly. I miss my roommates, friends, and being on campus. Spring is probably my favorite time at JMU because it’s nice to sit on the quad with friends,” said Norris.

Norris was a member of the ski and snowboard team at the University. “The racing team formal got cancelled too, so I never had the chance to say goodbye to my teammates who are seniors,” she said.

With all of this sad news occurring, people are still finding positives to focus on. “I’m getting to spend more time with my family than I used to because I was always so busy with school and sports before,” said Loudoun County sophomore Amanda Carkin. “It is also kind of nice being able to do school in the comfort of your own home.”

“In most families, I imagine that people get on each other’s nerves from time to time when you must stay in close quarters,” said Ricci. “What I’ve noticed is that, as time has passed, it seems like annoyances have decreased! Perhaps, people learn how to deal with each other better. Maybe it will make for more harmony in the future when things get back to normal.”

Many have found a variety of new ways to keep themselves busy during these long days. “I’ve been bingeing new shows, baking more, and taking my dog on long walks around the neighborhood,” said Norris. “I also try to talk to friends and family often.”

Some have even found new hobbies. “My family started playing disc golf,” said Ricci. “We ordered discs online, and now we each have a different color when we go out to play.”

Ricci is relieved to have a fun game to play in order to pass the time. It has been hard for him as a teacher not being able to communicate with his students in the classroom, and he has had to adjust.

Since people aren’t allowed to see each other, they have found new ways to communicate with friends and family. “I facetime my friends often and talk to most of them through text or Snapchat on a daily basis,” said Carkin.

Norris has been using similar means of communication. “I’ve been keeping in contact with others by texting and facetime. My immediate family has used Zoom with my extended family to see how everyone is doing and that has been fun and entertaining,” said Norris.

Teachers are also finding ways to stay connected to family and students. “I keep in touch with parents, brothers and friends by phone. I have emailed with many of my former students. And, the teachers have meetings on Google Meet every week,” said Ricci.

Quarantine has been tough for many such as Norris. “My mom and I are in high risk groups so we don’t leave the house unless it’s to walk our dog. It’s weird not being able to meet  with friends, and I am appreciative of technology to connect us during this time,” said Norris.

At a time like this, no one is sure what the future will bring, they are just hopeful that COVID-19 will end sooner rather than later. “The biggest benefit of quarantining is that I am contributing to flattening the curve and saving people’s lives,” said Norris. “Also, I get to enjoy my mom’s cooking.”

Ricci believes that looking on the bright side will help everyone during this hard time. “Another benefit is that many people are task masters and are always on fast forward,” said Ricci. “Taking away a lot of what must be done can be unsettling, but perhaps it causes people to see how so many of those tasks might not be life or death after all! So, maybe people’s perceptions will change.”