Community reflects on pandemic

Since the school first closed because of COVID-19 on March 11, 2020 over two years ago, the community has undergone several stages of lockdown, online learning and safety protocols.

With over one million deaths in the United States as of May 21, according to The New York Times, the school community has endured the pandemic alongside schools across the country.

Brandon Damelin ’23 said over the course of the pandemic, he has come to understand the importance of companionship and in-person contact.

“[COVID-19] has made me realize how grateful I am for my friends,” Damelin said. “Being alone during [COVID-19] was difficult for everyone. So just getting back out here and being able to spend time with the people I care about really means a lot.”

Damelin said after returning to school this year, he did not personally feel affected by the school’s safety protocols.

“[COVID-19 precautions] didn’t really make a big difference to me, but I could certainly see why people would care,” Damelin said. “I can understand a whole bunch of families have health problems and [other] problems they need to worry about, I can [see] why wearing a mask can make a difference.”

Zoe Roth ’24 said learning during the pandemic was difficult, and she said she fell behind before returning to campus.

“It was a hard switch because to compensate for being on Zoom, courses were simplified during freshman year,” Roth said. “Then we went back to normal during sophomore year, which I don’t think we were adequately prepared for. It was tough, [but] I learned the importance of in-person interaction because without it, I felt isolated.”

When Roth was infected with COVID-19 last week for the second time, she said her experience reminded her of the loneliness she felt during lockdown.

“Getting COVID-19 felt like isolating again because I was stuck in my room without any contact with even my family,” Roth said. “I spent five days in my room and then came back to school. It was hard to catch up on my work, tests and quizzes. It took a week to catch up fully.”

Mac Bailey ’23 said the pandemic quickly shifted from an exciting escape from everyday life to a very secluded experience.

“At first, quarantine seemed great, as I got more free time to sleep in, play video games, watch TV, etc,” Bailey said. “As time went on, and it became apparent that this wasn’t going to be just two weeks. I think I definitely grew apart from some people due to the simple fact [that] I wasn’t seeing them everyday.”

Bailey said the experience of contracting COVID-19 normalized the experience.

“Over time, I’d hear about more and more people getting sick, and my family stayed healthy for the majority of the time,” Bailey said. “However, when I got [COVID-19] once we had all returned [to school], it was evident that it was just going to become part of our everyday lives and something that will seemingly never go away.”