Amidst chaos at the end of the third nine weeks, the unthinkable happened. Leading to President Trump’s advisory to limit gatherings to under 10 people, cancellation of school, and shutdown of non-essential businesses and stores in the city of San Antonio, the Coronavirus pandemic paused life as we knew it.
“I wish I could change this year,” Principal Mr. Peter Martinez said. “I know it is not easy. My biggest hope is that all of our kids and families remain safe and untouched by COVID-19. I want all of my kids to be successful. We are going to do everything we can to make that possible.”
On March 23, NEISD launched “distance learning.” Students access lessons and assignments through Google Classroom, or pick up paper copy packets every once a week at school.
“‘Distance learning’ as we’re attempting it now is a sort of band-aid,” Science teacher Mr. Marshall Hester said. “It’s an attempt to try to maintain the learning of knowledge and skills outside the confines of a physical classroom.”
Teachers and students alike are trying to maintain a sense of normalcy among the quarantine.
“I’m personally focusing more on maintaining the social systems,” Mr. Hester said. “I’m posting videos and hosting Zooms so friends can see each other and talk to each other as well as interact with their teachers “face to face”. We can only do so much “school” right now. I want to focus on our social and emotional well-being.”
With school cancellation comes many extracurricular activity cancellations and postponements. All sports, events, award ceremonies and competitions through May 4 were cancelled or postponed to a later date. NEISD continues to provide free meals and support from counseling staff during this time.
“One thing that disappointed me was missing the Summa [Cum Laude Graduate] Reception,” Senior Giselle McLaughlin said. “I was excited to recognize one of my favorite teachers and share that moment with her and my mom. A lot of seniors and I worked really hard last year and it’s sad that we won’t be formally recognized for that.”
As of now, it is unknown whether or not students would be able to return to school for the remainder of the spring semester.
“I’m not able to spend my last days with my school friends,” McLaughlin said. “I don’t see some of my friends outside of school and it’s sad that those days are being taken away. We all have gone through so much together and the thought of not walking the stage and celebrating all those years together is really sad.”
One that is for certain though, is that this time of quarantine, social distancing, global health crisis, and pandemic will leave a mark on this generation.
“I am so blessed to have the kids I have at Mac,” Mr. Martinez said. “I wish I could make guarantees about what will happen, but we are in a time where we cannot predict what will happen next. This current situation is transient; it will pass. What makes any generation great, is not the situations they must endure, but how they responded to that situation. Be able to look back and say that this did not stop you or hold you back.”