COVID-19 or not, transferring high schools is always a nerve-wracking experience. In my case, the move was very much voluntary, to the point of making the arrangements myself. After three years in one place, grade 11 felt like the year of change. However, there was one little hurdle I knew I would face… that teensy weensy, itty bitty global pandemic going on. With the adjustments SD45 has had to make to accommodate the sheer volume of students in our three high schools, I knew my “new kid” experience would be a unique one.
Despite being in academic bliss these past 5 months, moving high schools right now is, if anything, a lonely experience. Students are expected to go to class and once finished their (possibly as short as 90 minute) school day, immediately leave the premises. This setup is necessary and effective for COVID-spread prevention, however, not a fantastic situation for a new student attempting to build friendships. Despite this, I remind myself how lucky I am that my senior year will optimistically be somewhat “normal”, a luxury the pandemic notably stole from the classes of 2020 and 2021.
Even with SD45’s safety efforts, in a building hosting sums of 900-2000 people at a time, the virus will inevitably spread. If I could give any message to my fellow high schoolers, it would be the importance of mask-wearing. While the virus may not affect us as harshly as our older community members, we are still responsible for the health and safety of our peers. This is an issue very personal to my family as I write this article while quarantining in my home after contracting the virus from a classmate in my Quarter 2 morning class. At the moment, mask-wearing is not a mandatory, nor enforced measure in first-block classes, and the unfortunate reality is that many students view this leniency as a free pass to neglect care for surrounding classmates and peers. I can only hope that my experience is an isolated one.
It is all too natural to feel alone in these unprecedented times. Please remember to be kind, extend a helping hand, and take the necessary precautions to keep fellow learners and community members safe. School is a place for everyone, and we are all in this together.