Mason's Monologue

It’s no secret that COVID-19 is, in its own way, having an affect on almost every aspect of our lives now. Many businesses have closed their doors to mitigate the spread of the virus as the government has recommended. We’re becoming more self conscious about our hygiene. We’re paying more attention to who we’re around on a daily basis, and most importantly, we’re being a lot more careful of where we go and how often we go places. On top of all this, schools have closed down as well. On the surface, it just seems like an impromptu spring break, but as it becomes more and more clear that schools may not be opening up again, it begs the question: how does this affect this year’s graduating class? There are tens of thousands of high school seniors statewide and I’m one of them. Schools used the time they had before they shut down to set up everything they would need to do distance learning - online schooling complete with the potential for virtual classes. This is all well and good for elementary through high school up to 11th grade, but seniors are losing the rest of their high school career - their last few months to be kids and enjoy the world without the stress of bills, work, and just the general stressors of adult life. This isn’t to say that the measures being taken aren’t necessary or are a bad idea. They’re being taken to help slow the spread of COVID-19, but at what cost? Unfortunately, this year’s graduating class most likely won’t be able to walk with the colleagues they’ve spent their entire school careers with. They won’t be able to attend their prom and parents are upset because their children aren’t going to have the same high school experience they did. I’ve had the opportunity to collect some statements from seniors about their views on this subject: “I think it’s ridiculous. We shouldn’t have to put our lives on hold because of this virus and it’s stupid I’m not gonna be able to walk the stage because of this.” “I think that overall, it’s sad that we are missing senior year, but there are things that are much worse. It is affecting more than just our small town schools. Every senior in the USA is hurting from [COVID-19]. I think we all need to take a step back and just be thankful for the things we have and not what we don’t have.” I feel we should be able to enjoy the time we have left as high schoolers, to have the opportunity to make those same memories that the graduating classes of the years before us have made and the classes after us will be able to make. I fully understand that for a normal school life to continue with COVID-19 there are precautions that would have to be taken - classes being cut to a maximum of 10 people as President Trump recommends for social groups, more online classes and/or packets being sent home with students to help acquire all the credits they need in order to graduate, and prom being, ideally, postponed until either the pandemic blows over or is safe for people to gather in larger groups. One thing that I believe is most important is the ability to walk for graduation. My suggestion to make this work would be time consuming. We could have one senior walk at a time and have only immediate family allowed to watch their child graduate. All in all, I believe that seniors should be able to enjoy the last two months of their high school lives. Things were overlooked by our governing body when they made the call to close down schools. Maybe seeing our graduating youth walk the stage is just the morale boost we need to make these times of strife a little better.



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