Seniors fear COVID will cause another school shutdown


photo or infographic by Katherine Lee

MASKS OPTIONAL. This year, the mask mandate was lifted and masks were deemed optional. All school functions, including homecoming, senior picnic, football games, pep rallies, are planned to continue as normal.

by Katherine Lee, VOW editor

A sophomore year abruptly ended, a junior year spent on the brink of insanity, and an unknown future. The senior class of ’22 has had a whirlwind of a high school experience, with freshman year being their last completely “normal” school year.

This year, the mask mandate was lifted and masks were deemed optional. All school functions, including homecoming, senior picnic, football games, pep rallies, are planned to continue as normal. However, in a recent district video, the superintendent announced an encouragement of masks because of the overwhelming number of cases since the return to school. Seniors fear this may be the end to their last chance of a “normal” school year. 

“I’d rather wear a mask,” senior Jennifer Talley said. “We haven’t had a normal year since freshman year.”

Students have the option to wear masks if they so choose, and some seniors see this as an opportunity to prevent another shutdown that will ruin their senior year. High school is a time to make memories, and senior year is seen as the most important year. Friend groups will separate and the comfort of being home will diminish. Now is the time to make memories.

“I’m already wearing a mask,”  senior Aiden Collier said. “I want my senior year to be remembered, and I want to continue making lifelong memories.”

The prom this year is limited to just seniors because of COVID and for their large population. Students hope that they will still be able to experience their senior prom without the interruption of the coronavirus. 

“Wear a mask, easy,” senior Bryan Racus said. “I’m not bothered by them and I can breathe just fine. All the senior traditions are fun so like if we don’t get to do stuff like prom it would be a garbage year.” 

Seniors believe that another shutdown is worse than a mask mandate because they might have the chance to have somewhat of a “normal” year. 

“I would wear a mask to be able to still do senior activities,” senior Ryan Glasgow said. “I feel like it’s an easy solution to continue our school year without worry of a shutdown even happening.”

Last year, schoolwide events like homecoming were cancelled due to the pandemic. This year and as of now, homecoming is planned to happen. 

“I would rather wear masks, last year we missed out on fun things like homecoming which was disappointing because I always have so much fun,” senior Piper Neumann said. “As much as I hate masks, I’ll wear one if I still get to enjoy a normal senior year.”

All in all, seniors hope that this year will not end as abruptly as years past. Even if it a year spent in masks, it is still a year spent making memories.

“I would rather wear masks to avoid a school shut down because I really want to have a memorable senior year,” senior Rachel Smith said. “I feel like we have missed out on a lot the past couple years and this year started to feel more normal and I don’t want it to get ruined with another shut down.”

When the COVID-19 vaccine became available to teens, students took advantage of this opportunity to help stop the spread of the virus.

“I’m vaccinated, and I feel like people who are not should wear masks to events so we don’t get shut down,” senior Bailey Box said.

In the end, most seniors just want a normal senior experience. If that means wearing masks now, so they can go to prom in the spring, they will do it. 

“I would rather wear a mask and have guaranteed senior activities because after last year I got used to having it on, therefore it doesn’t bother me as much,” senior Izzy Gonzales said. “After having covid myself I realized how much it affects one and wouldn’t want to risk other people getting it as well.”