COVID-19 Witness Stories

Stephany Massart, Staff Reporter

COVID-19: the virus that has swept the nation and changed everyone’s lives.  Everyone is going through something different and all are coping differently with the change.  Over this lengthy break, the newspaper team has reached out and asked students and staff to tell us about their experiences during this pandemic.  The responses we received were both astonishing and inspiring.

One of our high school English teachers, Mrs. Huntley, shares an insight as to what many may be experiencing.  She says, “It’s difficult to achieve a balance, I think, between keeping school and work “normal” and slowing things down so that everyone is doing fine. Some people want a quicker pace so that they can continue in their “normal” path, and others want to slow things way down because they are worried. The challenge, like always, is staying on top of all of it!” 

Ms. Teska, another English teacher here in the high school, offers us a deeper look into what she’s experiencing, stating, “I am an English teacher. I love to read. It started when I was young. I could fall into another world and watch a different human figure it out.  But this last week – I found myself really struggling to turn pages. I am having a hard time focusing. As a teacher and parent I now have to watch the news. Besides math (sorry SW,MZ, & BW) there is nothing worse I could be asked to do. There is craziness happening in the world right now. I am not sure how to prepare for it or how to maintain sanity through it. Every day we step forward in our lives not really certain what direction we will end up travelling in.” 

Many other teachers have experienced a bump in the road, trying to go through something as tough as this pandemic.  Just because they are teachers doesn’t mean they’re immune to tough situations.  Ms. Glowacki, our Agricultural Science teacher says, “It has been difficult creating content that is meaningful. Many of the hands on activities I like to do in the classroom that make my classes fun are not quite feasible with online learning. My students also do not have equal access to materials at home to make things more project based.”  Mr. Biemert also says, “As a teacher that thrives on spreading corny dad jokes and building meaningful teacher/student relationships, the Covid-19 containment of 2020 has affected me in many ways. Leading the list of effects for me though, is my belief that physical one on one contact with others is the foundation for a healthy relationship. It has shown me that tech savvy devices are great, but that used as a primary source for communication is not the best method and is overrated.”  

Mr. Claflin says, “I miss the ability to be physically active and the daily interaction with students.”  Many of our teachers miss seeing us as students, being able to teach us in a way that seems will impact us the most.  Mrs. Paye responds, “This remote learning is challenging for me because I like to see the students.  On a daily basis I have many kids come through the doors of student services for any variety of reasons, I miss that!”  Ms. Files, our high school Band teacher, offers her thoughts by saying, “It’s hard. It’s hard not to get to see my students every day. It’s hard to see a sub-par assignment turned in online and wonder: ‘do they not understand, or do they not care?’ It’s hard to see that a student who normally engages and achieves at a high level is missing 3/4 of their assignments, and it’s hard to then imagine what might be keeping that student from doing their work. It’s hard knowing everything that we’re missing.”  

Mrs. Weinfurter has offered an opportunity for her students.  “At first I felt lost because I wanted to be there for my “kids” but didn’t know how.  So I made a Facebook page called “Mrs. W’s Prayer Spot.”  I invited my students and a few others to join.  I rely on my faith to get me through things and I wanted my kids to have a place to also rely on their faith without getting judged.  Anyone who would like safe spot to pray with others and express thoughts and concerns are free to join the page.  Its purpose is to give all members a place to feel safe and supported. That page also settled me. It allowed me to move forward with being a teacher knowing there is a “safe” place.”  

Mrs. Cherney connects what’s happening now with history.  “The only event I have experienced that is somewhat comparable is the 9/11 Terrorist attacks.  I was in 3rd grade, therefore I did not understand the trauma, fear, and devastation it caused.  I often wonder if how I am feeling now during this COVID-19 crisis is how adults felt during 9/11.   Then I look at my little son who is turning one.  He is living in a time that he, his children, his grandchildren, and generations to come will learn about in Social Studies.”  

Having taught online classes before, Mr. Hanson shares with us what he has learned in the past.  “I have taught online classes before, and both experiences have shown me the importance of teachers mentoring students in person. Intrinsically motivated students learn efficiently online or remotely, but with less depth.” 

Our teachers are experiencing the same challenges and concerns we are going through.  As a newspaper staff, we plan to share with our students and staff what others have experienced.  If you would like to contribute to these witness stories, please contact me through my email: [email protected] with your story, name, and grade.  Share your story!