Almost a year into the pandemic, students are still attending school virtually



Northampton High School janitorial staff clean desks and tables in classrooms with a disinfectant spray and by wiping down the desks manually in Northampton, Pennsylvania. Here Nick Huber works with a fogger to spray a disinfecting solution on the desks. (Amy Shortell/Allentown Morning Call/TNS)

Haley Jackson, Section editor

Almost a year ago, many would not believe life as we knew it would change in a matter of days. While COVID-19 coverage appeared on news stations across the country back in March 2020, people were under the impression that it would remain a foreign issue, not one that would eventually affect the entire United States. 

Friday, Mar. 13, 2020, was the last day many students across the country would attend school without social distancing, masks and the fear of contracting a deadly, contagious respiratory virus. In reality, many students were overjoyed at the announcement of a two-week spring break, unaware that they would have to spend the next year attending school virtually. 

“I am scared about the thought of never going back to school because I actually enjoyed school and I miss going with my friends,” Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School junior Kendall Slack said. 

After an extended spring break, students began their new reality of learning online via platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Canvas. With many virtual issues of learning inconsistency from teacher to teacher, many parents and students felt overwhelmed and underprepared. 

The unknown implications of COVID-19 would soon force the United States into a strict quarantine in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus. With this, the COVID-19 pandemic disappointed millions of students set to graduate in the spring of 2020 as many traditional festivities were canceled. These celebrations associated with graduating high schools included graduation, prom, senior spirit week, field trips and much more. 

Being in quarantine pushed people to create ways to safely celebrate many once-in-a-lifetime milestones. Virtual parties, drive-by celebrations, yard signs and other virtual events became the highlights of the boring and repetitive days in quarantine. 

A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, people across the nation are still hoping to go back to life as we knew it before. Even months later, the majority of Broward County Public Schools students are still attending school virtually. While students are now able to play sports and take part in clubs virtually, they still struggle with ways to connect and reach out to their peers. 

“I  believe the pandemic has affected students socially because we have gotten so used to talking or texting on the phone more than ever before,” Slack said. 

BCPS students attend school virtually, whether or not they are on campus or at home. At MSD, every period is held for the duration of 90 minutes on Microsoft Teams. Most assignments are submitted online through Canvas. For the students who attend school in-person, they must follow social distancing guidelines at all times while on campus, wear a mask throughout the day and walk in specific directions to class to keep the flow of hallway traffic undisrupted. 

A year into the pandemic, the U.S. has lost over 500,000 Americans to COVID-19 and experienced its highest numbers of unemployment since the Great Depression, according to U.S. News. Despite this, 20 million Americans have recovered from the virus, almost 60 million of the American population has been vaccinated and Joe Biden became the 46th U.S. president.

All in all, the COVID-19 pandemic has made a lasting impression on society. With the recent uptake in COVID-19 immunizations, many across the country are hopeful for a return back to pre-pandemic life.