Thursday, July 2, 2020

High Schoolers vs. Coronavirus and Social Distancing

Allison Wygal and Iyana Ramos practicing social distancing at Coronado Beach.

As a sophomore at Coronado High School I love spending time with friends, playing volleyball, going to the beach, and hanging out with my newly adopted PAWS rescue dogs. Due to the recent Coronavirus pandemic and corresponding restrictions I can now only do one of those things – enjoy my furry friends. Pets may be the only ones that benefit from this crisis as having people at home all day means pets get more love and attention. For the rest of us, the Coronavirus is causing stress and anxiety about our families, our friends, our school, and our future. 

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On Friday March 13, Coronado families received an email from Acting Superintendent, Donnie Salamanca, indicating that all Coronado schools would be closed from March 16 through April 3, 2020. This three week closure included the previously scheduled one week of spring break which meant students would be missing two weeks of school. Out of concern for their student’s educational progress, some Coronado teachers have been providing optional assignments or learning activities. CHS math teacher Nancy McGreevy notified students that she was providing extra credit math assignments for interested students. Of course this optional homework received a mixed reception from CHS students. Some students were looking for things to do while others were enjoying the break from school work. CHS student Sadie Chapman shared, “I have not done any online school yet besides some math extra credit. I hope our school figures out something though because I miss school a lot as it gives me something to do.”

Coronado High School students have been preparing all year for the May 2020 Advanced Placement (AP) Exams which students registered and paid for in October 2019. Advancement Placement tests are administered by the College Board which just announced they are working on providing at-home AP Exams for the scheduled May test dates. Coronado High School’s curriculum for AP classes is carefully designed to cover all the required content in time for the AP test – there is no flexibility to accommodate this unexpected two week break. AP Biology teacher, Nicole Belong, has moved her daily lectures into video lectures and a weekly meeting via the Zoom educational program. Understandably, students and teachers are concerned if they will be sufficiently prepared for the AP exams.

Following the school closure, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) that runs California high school sports suspended all spring sports which for Coronado means baseball, beach volleyball, golf, lacrosse, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. Currently, the CHS sports program is planning to resume on April 6th, or whenever schools reopen. CHS Athletic Director Robin Nixon wrote to all CHS athletes urging them to “stay prepared both mentally and physically for their particular sport.”  While all athletes and fans miss participating in sports, seniors are especially sad as this is their last high school sports season. Senior Johnny Campbell plays CHS volleyball and will likely end his senior season one week after it started due to the Coronavirus shutdown. “What makes high school sports so fun is the fact that these people who you see everyday in class or hangout with outside of school . . . these people are the people you have grown up with and are competing beside you. Being on a team like this creates a family. The season ending like this, it is not the ending that we all deserve.” On March 17th, CIF stated that they have not cancelled the spring sports season, “CIF has not determined the future of spring sports events at this time,” so many are hopeful that sports will resume for at least part of the season.

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Perhaps the greatest impact on CHS students has been the social distancing recommendation which restricts gathering in groups and suggests maintaining a distance of at least six feet between people. High schoolers love being socially connected with their friends so three weeks with no gatherings will be very challenging. Facetime, Instagram and Snapchat have become the primary way for friends to stay connected. Some students are finding ways to make limited visits with small groups of friends. Freshman Anna Iverson said, “My parents allow me to leave the house if I’m only with two or three people and we are outside doing something. Yes, it is lonely and annoying, but I want the best for everyone to remain healthy and safe.” Other CHS students such as sophomore Marlie Meoni, have a different approach. “Yesterday, a small group of my friends went to the beach to enjoy a picnic together before the requirements get stricter. It was a fun thing to do considering we have been inside our homes the past couple days. Also, we felt that the beach was a safer place to be because it is open and allows for greater distance between people.” As we get more used to social distancing, CHS students will continue to adapt to new ways of staying in touch with friends. 

Personally, I am looking forward to the time when the risk of Coronavirus is down so that people can go back to life with school, sports, work, shopping, and socializing. Based on the latest information from the Center for Disease Control, that doesn’t look like it will happen very soon but when it does, I know I will have a greater appreciation for seeing my friends, family, teachers, coaches, and community members. Until then, I hope everyone stays safe and healthy and enjoys more time with their pets.

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Chloe Berk
Chloe has called Coronado home since she could walk or talk and considers herself a true Islander. She is currently a student at Coronado High School and a writer for the Islander Times. After studying and writing articles, she enjoys volleyball, the beach, and her newly-adopted dogs from PAWS.
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