School community adjusts with stay at home schedules

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Photo by João Silas on Unsplash

How to pass the time With the Coronavirus increasing daily students and teachers find different ways to keep busy. Students have spent their time reading, baking, painting and FaceTiming friends to not be bored during the day.

By McKenzie Quirin, Altoona Area High School

As everyone knows the Coronavirus pandemic has affected thousands around the world. The increased spread of COVID-19 in the area has caused the community to be put on a stay-at-home order to all of Pennsylvania according to Governor Tom Wolf starting April 1.   

With being put on a stay-at-home order, students and faculty are urged to stay in as much as possible to help decrease the spread of COVID-19. Staying inside and at home causes students and faculty to come up with ideas in order to pass the time and keep themselves busy.

Students, during this time, have found themselves learning new things and continuing their daily lives to stay busy.

“I have just been helping my grandparents, FaceTime friends, checking up on how everyone’s doing, cleaning and watching Netflix,” sophomore Mia DeStefano said. 

“I have been hiking, working out, painting, watching movies, working for a healthcare office and cooking/baking during the time being,” senior Jazzmine McCauley said.

While McCauley and DeStefano keep busy by checking up on friends and working out, junior Madison Detwiler has taken this time to spend with her family.

“I have been spending more time with my family. Because I have more time and freedom, I have been painting and reading more than I usually did. I also have been baking,” Detwiler said.

At this time during the worldwide pandemic, students have the availability to partake in different things than they normally do in their daily lives.

“I have had less school work, obviously due to the break, so I have been able to spend more time cooking and working out. Although, I was able to get a job at a healthcare office so that replaces my school work,” McCauley said.

“With school taking up my whole day, I usually don’t have time to do things I am passionate about. With more freedom on my hands, I now have more time to spend with my family and do things I love like reading, painting and baking,” Detwiler said.

“At first, I did not know what to do in the beginning because I thought like ‘oh we’re just off for two weeks no biggy’ but when it started getting worse and the days kept getting extended for staying at home I realized I could try new Thai food. I could say this break has given me much of an opportunity because I can spend time with family and do activities with them and all of that,” DeStefano said.

Other than students spending time keeping busy, teachers and other faculty can’t help but spend their time with family. 

“I have been spending time with my husband and son. Playing outside and working on some spring cleaning. Now that we have started virtual learning, I have been spending time talking with students and created new lessons for enrichment,” health and physical education teacher Megan Yingling said. 

“Getting back in shape by using the elliptical, treadmill, walking around my neighborhood, lifting weights at least three times a week, eating better, working with Google Classroom and talking with students and teachers on Google Hangout, reading books, watching a lot of things on Netflix, spending a lot of time with my family, talking with relatives on FaceTime and Zoom, and trying to keep my wife from buying things on Amazon,” physical education teacher Thomas Palfey said. 

Although this time off could be used for new opportunities, various students are being affected by not knowing what may happen next. Many students are worried about the end of the year events like prom.

“On top of being worried about my family’s safety, I have been extra stressed about the uncertainty of the rest of my school year. I am worried about the end of the year school activities like prom,” Detwiler said.

“It has been affecting me badly because once you start an activity or a craft it kind of goes fast because you are not running around doing homework, so I get bored real quick. Mostly it is hard not seeing my friends or hanging out and seeing some of my family and teachers,” DeStefano said. 

“I am afraid that I will not be able to attend the end of the year events, like prom and graduation for example, that I have been waiting to go to,” McCauley said.

During the closure of the school, students will complete school work through online classes. Students have different opinions on how online classes are going for them and what aspects they like. 

“To be honest, I don’t really like it because I would rather have the teacher in front of me learning if I am struggling or am completely confused. On the bright side, it is awesome because I get to stay in my PJ’s and do the work they assigned me. Also, I like how they start with a review before jumping into a new lesson or chapter,” DeStefano said.

“They’ve been going good. I like how the teachers understand how new everything is to the students, and that they are trying to make it as easy as possible for us to complete our work,” McCauley said.

“The online classes have been going pretty smoothly for me. I make sure I use my time wisely and organize the work I have and when I should complete it. I like the freedom I have with my online work. I can complete the work whenever I want within the time period before it is due. I also love technology so I like completing my work online,” Detwiler said.

This story was originally published on Mountain Echo on April 3, 2020.