Covid-19 pandemic: A year in the life


On March 11, 2020 the WHO declared Covid-19 a global pandemic. Now the world has a chance to review. Image courtesy of Edwin Hooper on Unsplash.

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared that Covid-19 was officially a world pandemic. Two days later, Jefferson County Public Schools would shut down, leaving everyone unaware of what really lied ahead. The school district promised that after two weeks everyone would return, but unfortunately, two weeks turned into two months, and soon after, the 2019-2020 school year was over. Now, a year through the pandemic experience, it is time to reflect on the drastic change the world experienced over the last year.  

It seems crazy that it has been a year since the pandemic took its toll on many A-West students. 69% of surveyed students feel like it has not been a whole year since the pandemic. The past twelve months have felt both short and unfulfilling. The first few months were spent in quarantine; often full of Netflix, remote learning, and limited contact. With a lack of accomplishment, the past year felt wonky because the normal amount of activities one does in a year has completely diminished. 

While nothing has been the same since Covid-19, there was still room for growth and change. Sports, theater, music, clubs, and classes were able to commence in the fall of 2020, even with high-intensity restrictions. Through these, students were able to perform, compete, and gather together after feeling completely isolated. Of course, this was far from ideal, but it was better than nothing for many students at A-West. 

In a survey of 84 students and families from Arvada, 81 percent feel that they learned valuable life lessons from their experiences with the pandemic. These positive and negative learning experiences may have the capacity to change the world so it comes out on the other side of the pandemic better. 

A-West students express their experience with the pandemic over the last year in three words.

Ellie Pointer, a junior at A-West, reflects on her positive takeaways from the pandemic that offer great advice. “Learn to cherish times where you are allowed to get together with family and friends.”

That is a response many A-West students share in common. Living through isolation and remote learning has pushed many to never take for granted the opportunity to be with people. Humans are social creatures, so the lack of connection we’ve had seems dangerous. 

Aside from physically distancing, students feel that parents don’t understand what it is like to be a teenager during a pandemic. Most students feel like adults struggle to understand how difficult online school is, and that they aren’t getting enough credit for what they are trying to accomplish. 

Pointer wishes parents understood the difficulty of online school. “With online school, it is hard for students to focus and pay attention, and it is bad for their mental health.”

Many parents know online learning hard, but it is hard to create a solution when the world is constantly adjusting to pandemic life. 

Remote and hybrid learning are the ways students at A-West have had to learn this year. Both options have been a blessing and a curse. Having mixed schedules or staring at a screen all day is difficult to work with, but these new schedules have offered the flexibility that otherwise, one cannot have. In a normal year, A-West starts at 8:00 am and ends at 3:00 pm. That means students used to be at school for seven hours, now students only have a max of 5-6 hours of school a day. Even though that is an incredible amount of time to stare at a screen, it has allowed students to be more involved with school activities and even get a job, while still having time for homework. 

Now the question is, how does the world move forward during this time? While it has adapted to social distancing and mask-wearing, it is interesting to wonder how one can still grow as a person. One promising improvement to a normal future is the vaccine. Normally, it takes from five to ten years to develop a brand new vaccine, but now the vaccine came out in a short amount of time. While this may be a way people can physically move on, developing connections will be another. A-West students have learned during the pandemic that in-person interaction should not be taken for granted. 

On March 11, President Joe Biden delivered a speech to reflect on the anniversary of the pandemic. “Over a year ago no one could have imagined what we were about to go through. But now we’re coming through it. And it’s a shared experience that binds us together as a nation. We are bound together by the loss and the pain of the days that have gone by. We’re also bound together by the hope and the possibilities of the days in front of us.”

Here’s to a year- and hope that the next one is much better.