Before and After: How Students Felt About the 2-Week Closure, and Full Year

March 31, 2020

Class Quarantine: How Students are Impacted by the Two-Week Absence


Photo via Tyler Mullins

“I have been drawing and painting a lot more which is good, I always wanted to get better so now I have the time to do it more,” Tyler Mullins, 17, said.

People around the world have been cautioned to stay inside their homes. They have been warned to try to stay out of the public and prevent gathering in heavily populated places. In an effort to keep everyone safe and healthy, people have been informed to self quarantine. This has been asked of various countries, cities, and states, with Virginia being one of them. 


In light of recent events, Kempsville, along with other schools, businesses, and other facilities in the area, has been closed in an effort to reduce the spread of the controversial Coronavirus (COVID-19). The unexpected decision has put students out of school for two weeks, drastically changing the lives and schedules of staff, students, and teachers.  


Students of all grades have been put out of school and told to stay home, a decision that caught many by surprise, eliciting multiple reactions.


“I had a bit of a mixed reaction,” said Faith Coley, sophomore said.”Mostly, I was worried because it was something new and different than my normal schedule. I was curious as to how they would handle us not being in our actual schools for the next two weeks. I was also sad because I wouldn’t be able to regularly see my friends.” 


“Initially, I was stunned, excited, and glad with the news. I would be able to sleep-in and catch up on work,” said junior Jada Jones. 


“At first, like most people I was happy and excited,” said Tyler Mullins, who is a senior. “But now, I miss seeing people, and days go by slow cause I have nothing to do.” 


Since being quarantined, the lives of the three students have changed. While Mullins and Coley have reported their lives as being “slow,” Jones has been using this time to focus on herself.


“My life has been filled with a lot of self-discovery. Not only have I practiced social distancing. I have experienced emotional and spiritual distancing and healing. I’ve been in the house the majority of the time. I am catching up on TV shows and watching a ton of movies. I am finally reading books that have been collecting dust on my shelf. I am finally doing things I never had the time for. I’m spending time with my family. It’s been fun,” Jones said. However, self-quarantine can get boring really fast. I’ve stared at the ceiling straight for 10 minutes. Sometimes I feel contained. Overall, it’s been a nice experience.”


Coley and Mullins also have been finding ways to keep occupied while isolated.


“Since the break, I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with my family, I’ve spent more time outside than I usually do, I’ve had more time to practice the instruments that I play, and I’ve watched more TV,” said Coley. 


“Drawing, painting, [and] playing video games [have occupied my time], and my parents have made me do more yard work and cleaning,” said Mullins. 


The three have also been able to invest their time into hobbies that they never had the time to work on in the past, such as painting, reading, and learning how to play new instruments. 


Although they have expressed some enjoyment in being out of school, Coley, Jones, and Mullins still have their concerns with being out of school.


“One of the most stressful aspects of being out of school has been dealing with the changes. In my TCC courses, the rubric and the grade weight averages has changed. The AP exams are now being administered online with only free-response questions, no multiple choice,” said Jones.


For Mullins, not being able to see his friends as often as he used to troubles him the most. As for Coley, she is concerned about the overall uncertainty of the rest of the school year. 


“Some of my classes were beginning or scheduled to begin certain topics and activities before school was cancelled, and now in order to adapt to online schooling, those topics have had to be postponed or removed,” Coley said. “It has been stressful for me, wondering if we’re going to get those topics in or if all this is going to hold us back in the progress of the school year.”  


She is also concerned for the fate of her AP exams.


Along with more immediate worries, the three are also concerned with how this time will impact the outcome for the rest of the year.


“How will this affect spring break, prom, AP exams, TCC classes, and my overall learning experience have been some major concerns,” said Jones.


“Definitely I’m a little concerned with how this time out could affect the rest of the year. I’m concerned that it could possibly result in us losing spring break or the school year being extended as a whole,” Coley said


“I’m concerned about graduation being pushed back and about the whole AP exam situation,” Mullins said.


Despite the difficulty and uncertainty of the situation, Coley, Mullins, and Jones still find words of encouragement to share.

“I’d say that this will eventually be over with and we will see our friends and teachers again. Even though our senior experiences has been shortened, make every small moment count,” Mullins shared. 


“This time period we are in consists of a lot of uncertainty, but it will get better and as a community, we are going to get through it. Use this time as a period of rest and rejuvenation. Try the hobby you have been wanting to pick up, get better at the one’s you already have, and even use this time as a period of catching up on something you are behind in. Use this time to better yourself. Overall, just know that we are going to get through this and it will be okay,” Coley said. 


“While in isolation and self-quarantine, I encourage everyone to try something new and make sure they maintain healthy habits, such as thoroughly washing their hands and staying out of other people’s face. I encourage everyone to be productive and come back better than before,” Jones added.  

School’s Out: VB Schools Close for the Remainder of the School Year


Photo via Tyler Mullins

“Although I could still do this now, I would want to say thank you to my teachers because it’s more heartfelt and personal in person,” Tyler Mullins, 17, said as something he would have liked to say in person before school ended.

As the school year comes to an end, many students become busy as they prepare for numerous upcoming events. Classes start to review content as SOLs and exams approach, students start to plan ahead for major events like prom, and for seniors, they begin to gather everything they need for the most important experience of the year, graduation. However, these end of the year priorities may not be met, as there may not be an ‘’end of the year”.


On March 23, it was announced that all schools K-12 would be closed for the remainder of the school year. There were a wide range of reactions from people with mainly students being disappointed with the announcement. 


“I was extremely shocked and heartbroken. I love Kempsville and to know that the rest of the academic year was canceled, I was extremely sad. This cancellation also meant that all of the upcoming extracurricular events and end of the year celebrations I had would not happen as well as I wouldn’t be able to regularly see my friends for a while, which also made me sad. I was also curious wondering how the rest of school would be handled and what exactly would happen from here on out,” sophomore Faith Coley said. 


“To be completely honest, I wasn’t really shocked by the news. I saw the state of our city, state, and country and how it is being affected by COVID-19, The Coronavirus is continuously being spread, and people are still being tested positive. It is sad that the school year ended so abruptly, but it is for the betterment of society,” said junior Jada Jones.


Senior Tyler Mullins felt differently.


“I was heartbroken and my chest became so heavy,” he said. “It was sad knowing I won’t see my teachers and some people face to face anymore.”


With the release of the news, there have been various reactions and concerns in regards to what the change means, including how this decision might affect the next school year. 


“In my opinion, next school year will be more exciting! By the time next school year rolls around, it would have been around 6-7 months since everyone has been in school. I feel like people will be more appreciative due to the lack of time in school,” said Jones, looking at the situation as an opportunity to look forward to the next school year. 


“I think that it could possibly affect the progress of learning for students and [the] level of knowledge they have when it comes to implementing aspects of their courses this year to their courses next year. I also think it could possibly push some students back in their progress of achieving certain requirements to graduate. It could also affect some extracurricular activities by preventing them from being able to effectively prep for next year,” said sophomore Faith Coley, feeling that this time could impact students’ readiness for the next year. 


“Hopefully they don’t extend this year into next year because that could mess up some students’ plans with college,” Mullins said, unsure of what this will mean for the academic future of seniors, and himself.  


Due to the fact that the school buildings are closed, students will be finishing the remainder of school online. While there isn’t anything too troubling about having to continue this method of schooling, the three students expressed missing face-to-face learning and physically being in school. 


Along with this, the students are also concerned how online learning will affect certain classes. 


“The one I’m most concerned about in regards to online schooling is AP Euro[pean History]. When we were in the actual classroom we were able to have face to face conversations where Mr.Cinnamond was able to explain the material we were covering, in a more in depth way, and he could answer any questions we had. Now, we are not able to do that. Those discussions really helped me understand the material and now we can’t have them. This has made me concerned with how the rest of the year, for this class, is going to go,” Coley said. 


 “I am not really concerned about my Kempsville courses. I am more concerned about my TCC courses, more specifically Biology. The entire rubric and grading system has changed, so I am adjusting to that,” Jones said. She also mentioned her concerns with AP testing and how the exam being online changed her method of studying.


“I feel like calculus will be really hard to do purely online. It’s easier to learn math in person so you can get direct feedback and see the process, but learning on your own or online can be challenging,” Mullins said.


The school building being closed not only cancelled classes, but also all school related activities that were to come as the school year came to an end. This also disappoints students who were looking forward to certain events. 


“I was looking forward to the end of the year class parties and the band program’s band banquet,” said Coley. “Also, my sister is graduating, so just being able to experience all of the senior festivities with her.” 


Photo via Jada Jones
“I wish I could’ve told them how much I appreciate and love them. This might sound corny, but Kempsville is a real family. I know I can go to any one of my teachers and friends about anything, and they would be there for me,” Jada Jones, 17, said as something she would have liked to say in person before school ended.

Jones was also looking forward to the Ebony Fusion Fashion Show that she had planned.


“I was really excited about it, but it, like the many other events, has been canceled,” she said. “To look on the bright side, I plan on making the Ebony Fusion Show more extravagant and amazing next year due to all this extra time on my hands.”


Mullins also mentioned how he looked forward to spring sports, prom, and graduation before the school announced its closing.


As the current situation changes the lives of many, there is no telling when things can go back to the way they used to be.


“I think that it could take a few months before everything is back to normal, because even when everything regarding the virus simmers down, people are still going to have to resort back to their old schedules, which could take time getting used to,” Coley shared. 


However, some are still hopeful that things will begin to get better soon.


“Since school’s out for the rest of the school year, it won’t feel normal till then. But hopefully, this goes down by the end of April,” Mullins said. 


Whatever the outcome may be, all that can be done now is take precautions and stay healthy in an effort to improve the condition of things so that everyone can go back to the lives they once lived. 


“If everyone practices social distancing and executes healthy, sanitary practices, I feel as though everything will start to steady by fall of next year,” Jones advises. 

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