March 13, 2020

It was Friday, March 13, 2020. The school year was slowly coming to an end as students became increasingly aware of the upcoming finals and AP tests. However, what no one expected was for this day to go down in history.

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COVID-19 has affected all of us, and oftentimes in more ways than one.

It was the last period of the day. I was sitting in my math class, half-listening to my teacher talk as I counted down the minutes until the bell would ring. Suddenly, just as the clock struck two, the announcements came on. 

Everyone went silent.

A few seconds had passed before Mrs. Ewing, our Principal, finally began, “Good afternoon NAI, this is Mrs. Ewing. As you may have heard, the country is currently dealing with COVID-19, and so the district has decided to cancel school for two weeks, starting from Monday, March 16, 2020, to Monday, March 30, 2020.”

At this point, many people in my class began to talk in hushed whispers. Some of my classmates were surprised by this news, while others had expected this to happen.

I zoned out and began to think. I realized that while I had partly expected this news, since many schools had already begun closing down due to COVID-19, it still seemed surreal to me that school was actually closing.

After talking for a few more minutes, Mrs. Ewing finished her announcement and the announcements shut off. Then, chaos erupted. The students in my class began to celebrate, as we were finally getting a break from school, which, in our minds, translated to more sleep and less stress. My math teacher also seemed relieved, as this break would mean less stress for the teachers as well, and more time to catch up with grading tests and quizzes.

I was in Mr. Geibel’s room at the time, and I remember that everyone started to cheer. I began doing my teacher thing, where I tried to inform the students about how this wasn’t necessarily a good thing, when Mr. Geibel came out of his back office. He told the students that this was not something to celebrate over, as it would affect everything. I remember him calling this pandemic ‘your 9/11’.”

— Mr. Hull

However, not everyone was happy about this news, and many were quite worried about what would happen in the future. For school to suddenly be canceled meant that COVID-19 was probably already spreading across the country. This also meant that the virus was no longer in China, which is halfway across the globe, but getting closer and closer to where we lived.

As Mr. Hull, 10th grade English and Journalism teacher, says, “I was in Mr. Geibel’s room at the time, and I remember that everyone started to cheer. I began doing my teacher thing, where I tried to inform the students about how this wasn’t necessarily a good thing, when Mr. Geibel came out of his back office. He told the students that this was not something to celebrate over, as it would affect everything. I remember him calling this pandemic ‘your 9/11’.”

Now, months after that day, I know that COVID-19 had a greater impact on us than we had ever expected. It has caused irreversible changes to our everyday lifestyle and has forced us to change certain habits. In the end, school closing was nothing to celebrate over.

However, on March 13, 2020, I decided not to dwell on such facts. After all, at that time, I believed that everything would go to normal soon, and that school would start again in two weeks just as planned.