Senioritis to Seniorvirus

Class of 2020's Feelings About the COVID-19 Pandemic

Tearfully%2C+a+heartbroken+Marissa+Mcgillick+takes+a+selfie+in+front+of+her+artwork+for+her+mom.+Mcgillick+was+looking+forward+to+senior+activities+but+they+are+now+postponed+because+of+the+Coronavirus.

Marissa Mcgillick

Tearfully, a heartbroken Marissa Mcgillick takes a selfie in front of her artwork for her mom. Mcgillick was looking forward to senior activities but they are now postponed because of the Coronavirus.

COVID-19 has proven to be a confusing and terrifying situation for the United States as communities move forward with shutting down schools and closing down public areas. Initially, Victor Valley Union High School District put out that school would be out March 16 to the end of March and then that date was moved to May 4th. “At first I was fine with it, then I started to realize it’s my senior year and there’s potential for it to not go as planned,” senior Yasmine Fragoso shared. But, in a recent news conference, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that schools were going to remain closed for the rest of the school year, bringing an even larger shroud of disappointment over the class of 2020.

According to the 2020 ASB Remind App sent out on March 19, ASB member Vartineh Oganesian relayed the information that, “…school will be starting May 4th, classes will continue online. ALL senior events have been put on hold.” 2020 ASB members have been keeping in contact with seniors and putting out the most recent information regarding senior events, as they receive it.

Senior Marissa McGillick was appalled by this information and shares, “There’s no real point to senior year without a graduation, not being able to have our last school dance, not having grad night, senior year feels totally wasted and I’d rather repeat my senior year than not have the experience everyone else did and remembers for the rest of their life.” McGillick’s view on the closure of the schools is one of defeat and she notes, “I’m usually a really positive, look on the bright side kind of person, but this closure and uncertainty has really depleted me, and I’m out of motivation or words of wisdom.”

The impact of the Coronavirus varies, however, from person to person. Senior Leslie Guttierrez finds a bit of good within the time off. “I still have to go to work, so this gives me more time.” Guttierrez shares, “My main concern is that I already purchased an expensive prom dress that is non-refundable. I would like to receive my money back for these events.”

However, mid-way through the first week back to school through distance learning, Governor Newsom confirmed that California schools are to remain closed until the end of the school year. He stated in a press conference on Wednesday, April 1, 2020, that with the modeling of the pandemic as it spreads throughout the state, “it seems, I think, self-evident that we should not prepare to bring our children back into the school setting.”

For senior Kaylani Morales, the days off are looking rough. She shares, “the motivation to go through with the work is not there. At least when [I am] at school I have my teachers and classmates to help me through it, but now I just look at the work and wish to go back to school.”

Miah Alamillo
Using makeup to pass the time, Senior Miah Alamillo spends her time in doors doing makeup while ‘stuck in quarantine.’

Noticing that seniors are bummed out over the the now expected ‘social distancing’ and time off of school, social media posts over the last week have sent out messages of love. In a Facebook post, Ruby Garcia shares, “If there’s a high school senior in your life, give them a hug and pray for them. To them, the cancellation of school is not a vacation. It’s wasted time they don’t get to spend with their friends the last few months before they graduate. They’re [heart] broken they may never get to experience prom. They’re nervous that they may not be able to walk the stage and get the diploma they have been working hard on for 12 years. Show them support and love them during these hard times. #classof2020” With the message, Garcia urges people to share and attach photos of their ‘soon to be grads.’

Governor Newsom said in the press conference, “I know you were looking forward to those graduations, looking forward to seeing how well you did with the SAT, those grades, in a competitive environment, particularly for our seniors.” In conversations with students on platforms such as Google Meet and Zoom, UP teachers share to students that although all senior events for the rest of the year have been postponed, Mrs. Hatcher and the rest of the staff are working hard to get the Class of 2020 a traditional graduation. Mr. Zimmerman shared to his Senior Transition classes on Google Classroom, “These are trying times, but don’t let it destroy all your hard work you have put in at UP for the past 3.5 years of high school.” The news of the closure until the end of the year makes the situation even more heartbreaking for the seniors, but fellow students and staff are determined to support the class of 2020 through their last few weeks as high school students.

Shortly after Newsom’s announcement, the district sent out their own statement via the district website stating that school’s would be physically closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, but distance learning and school meal pick-ups will continue through the end of the school year. Although COVID-19 spread and government mandates are all developing situations, the current plan for the district is to return to schools at the start of the 2020-2021 school year.