At this point, saying it’s been an odd week and a half would be a dramatic understatement. We’ve gone from excitedly preparing for spring sports and prom to struggling with self quarantines and learning online. There are so many unknowns at this time that as students of MBHS, many of us wonder how this entire ordeal regarding COVID-19 will affect our futures. I interviewed two seniors, Riley McConnell and Jaycee Souder about their thoughts and concerns about our future.
The graduating class of 2020 has had a particularly devastating blow dealt to us. It seems unlikely we’ll be able to see many of our peers again, never having the opportunity to properly say goodbye. We could be missing out on our senior prom, in addition to the final season of all spring sports. Worst of all, there is a possibility we might not even be able to walk at graduation. Souder has strong feelings on the matter. “It breaks my heart. We have spent twelve years trying to graduate. Us seniors have been waiting for so long and looking forward to this moment- I feel it was right at our fingertips and the virus has ripped it away.” McConnell simply said it made her, “Angry, very angry.”
Unfortunately, this pandemic is reaching a lot farther than just our school and extracurricular activities. It is inevitable we will see social interactions change with this collective experience. The way we interact with each other has already changed, and it will most likely continue to do so. The days of a friendly high five or group hug seem to be a thing of the past. People are more nervous around each other, afraid they will be unknowingly infected with COVID-19. Around town there are signs posted warning of “contaminated” surfaces. Hiking the Broaderson trail, a warning was posted on the gate saying lots of children played on it and it was most likely contaminated. Public spaces have even been closed, making finding a relief from cabin fever even more difficult.
Our local economy also stands to suffer a lot from the effects of COVID-19. With new rules and regulations made in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus, restaurants and shops have had to close or make drastic changes to keep up. “Well, the candy store I work at is closed until further notice, so I have no further income,” McConnell explained.
Souder has faced her own set of hardships. “At my job, we now have to take orders from ten feet away and it makes it really difficult to get the correct items.” Her problem went bigger than solely her employment though. “My mom (a single parent) actually just got let go and had to file for unemployment. She has no idea how she’s going to support two kids without a job. We (amongst probably a lot of people) could be in debt from borrowing from the state to help pay for rent. My mom is getting paid $140 a week… and that isn’t nearly enough to support herself and two kids.”
The livelihoods of entire families are put on hold for this virus. April 1st will come, and those who live paycheck to paycheck might not be able to pay rent. I will leave you with the wisdom of Riley McConnell: “I’m hoping there aren’t long lasting effects and things can return to the way I like ‘em.”