The Coronavirus (COVID-19) began in a large-scale food market in Wuhan, China in late 2019. The disease was previously known to be carried by bats and other small rodents only but never found in humans before a few months ago.
On March 13, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, declared a national emergency and since then, all states have begun taking necessary precautions for preventing the spread of the virus.
Then on March 15, Governor Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, ordered the closing of all schools in the state to try to stop the spread of the virus. Many states have done the same as Sununu and called school off until further notice.
HBHS, being one of the many schools affected by the shutdown have rather seamlessly transitioned to Remote Learning online. “We can’t be successful academically if we don’t take care of ourselves and our families first. We have the rest of our lives to make up missed concepts and work. Staying safe and healthy right now has to be first,” said Principal Rick Barnes of Hollis-Brookline High School. Barnes, who is a seven-year high school principal and in his tenth year working in a school, has never experienced anything quite like the situation we find ourselves in right now.
Third-year Social Studies teacher, Jamie Johannsen, is very impressed with the work effort everyone is showing during an economically unstable time. “Everyone is proficient with Google classroom, so we were able to make a pretty smooth transition thanks to all the hard work of all students, teachers, parents, and administrators,” said Johannsen.
Students at HBHS are able to complete their assignments from their teachers via school Google accounts so the school year has carried on. This new way of learning remotely has certainly impacted daily lives and student, Max Marshall ‘21, is starting to feel the effects of online learning after three weeks at home. “School is not my favorite thing in the world but getting to see my friends and being able to play my sports helps me get through the school year. I just want everything to go back to normal so that I can have fun and be able to live my life normally. I miss hanging out with friends, and social activities,” said Marshall.
While the transition from in-school learning to Remote Learning strategies has been an adjustment for most, roughly seven hours a day is added back to the time spent at home. Even though classes require work to be done each day, there is plenty of time to spend quality time with your family and do what interests you. First-year guidance counselor at HBHS, Debra Castonguay, has found some extra time in between her work schedule at home to do what she loves. “When I’m not helping my students, I am spending a lot of time with my family and dog. I have been able to also cook, bake and do some cleaning projects,” said Castonguay.
Everyone has a way of unwinding and relaxing after a long day of school or work even when you have been home all day. Not only have students been taking advantage of a little extra time away from real school, and so have teachers. Johannsen, especially, has benefitted from not commuting two to three hours a day and instead, spending her time elsewhere.“Video games have been a great escape; I love to play MarioKart with my roommate. I also practice a lot of yoga and talk on the phone with my family and friends during long walks,” said Johannsen.
The effects of Remote Learning have been mostly positive only being three weeks into the new style of schooling. Much like any situation ever presented, there are both pros and cons to doing school work remotely and not going to ‘real’ school. In this situation that we find ourselves in, the pros outweigh the cons because schooling from home reduces the chance of the Coronavirus spreading to our community members that are more susceptible to illness. Even though teens aren’t the ones being most severely impacted, it is more important to think big picture and beyond yourself in times like these. Everything we are missing because of quarantine can be postponed and rescheduled for the safety of everyone in the world, not just your own family.
“I have been impressed with the quiet generosity of the community to help others during these difficult times. We will get through this and be stronger than before. A quote attributed to a number of people resonates with me during this time, ‘The harder the struggle, the sweeter the victory.’ Victory awaits us, it just may not be on our preferred timeline,” said Barnes.