As COVID-19 rattles the nation and forces once active communities into social distancing, Ellicottville Central School teenagers have been locked away in the safety and seclusion of home.
In the early afternoon hours of Sunday, March 15, Superintendent Bob Miller sent out the message via phone call, that as of then, school would be closed through April 12.
For many this came as no surprise, the virus is closing in on our small town, and it is only a matter of time before it makes its threatening way into our lives and impacting usual life as we know it. With two confirmed cases of this novel coronavirus in Allegany County, and several new cases sprouting in the Buffalo area each day, action to protect our community was no longer an option, it was necessary.
This decision rattled the student body to our core. In the moments as we listened to the recorded voice of our superintendent, the situation became dire. Coronavirus is not just some foreign entity that exists only in the news and on social media. It is here, it is now and it is very real.
Students have felt the impact of this decision the hardest of anyone. Teachers will now be transitioning their classes to an online format, meaning that students will not miss a month’s worth of curriculum. This may prove to be difficult for those in our area without access to the internet or cell phone service.
In a poll asking whether students were happy that school is closed, a landslide majority answered no, a shocking result! Teenagers are certainly never quick to exclaim that they miss going to school, making this a unique situation, to say the least.
High school students provided me with insightful reasoning as to how they feel about this coming month of social distancing. Brooke Eddy, a senior, explained that while this time off may seem like a break, it will be anything but that.
“Now I will be more worried about if I submitted assignments on time, possibly not being able to go on my senior trip or to prom, and not making the memories I should with my classmates before I go off to college,” she said.
Evelyn Nuzzo, also a senior, said, “I think it will open our eyes and make us realize how our daily lives affect so many others than just ourselves.” This holds true, that even though our young generation with stable immune systems and decades of life yet ahead of us, even going to school puts our teachers, parents, grandparents, and so many more at risk.
This change has brought to our attention how important education is in our lives. Each week, students are always busy with classes, sports, homework, jobs and social events such as hanging out with friends. With the snap of the fingers, all of these things were taken away from us, leaving us with nothing but free time. The majority of high school students never have free time, so what is there to do now?
This adjustment has been and will continue to be difficult for all parties involved, students, teachers, administration, and parents alike. As the online classroom opens its doors to the Eagle community, we are ever thankful to be back on track with somewhat of a “normal” routine.
With a newfound appreciation for in-person learning and immense love for our education, students will take this challenge head-on and continue to strive for success — from the comfort of home, that is.