Students share their experiences in quarantine.
BY CALLIA PETERSON, ’22.
Nov. 27—Sam Wyzlic felt a little nauseous on his way home from a weekend college visit. He attributed it to carsickness—something he often encountered on long car rides. However, the nausea he felt was not at all from his drive home. It was COVID-19.
Thus began a ten day quarantine.
This year dozens of students have tested positive for COVID-19 or been exposed to the contagion. With a positive test result or close-contact exposure, students have had to miss out on school for several days. With their classmates and teachers at school, students face challenges staying engaged in their classes during quarantine.
COVID-19 likely found Wyzlic through his involvement on the crew team as a coxswain for the Varsity 8. The weekend before Wyzlic returned from his college visit, one of his teammates tested positive. When the coach mandated testing for the team, three crew members tested positive, Wyzlic among them.
He transitioned from attending school in person for hybrid learning and going to crew practice almost everyday to isolating in his bedroom and keeping up with in-person school assignments and activities from home.
“My mom set up a little table for me in my room and then I lived in my bedroom for ten days,” Wyzlic said. “She would walk in, double masked up, put food on the table, and then said, ‘have a nice day.’ It was weird.”
Wyzlic kept himself busy by joining FaceTime calls with friends and watching “a lot of Netflix and Disney+.”
Junior Kyra Dapore faced a similar transition. She tested positive for COVID-19 the weekend before students returned to school in-person after winter break. She missed two weeks of hybrid learning.
“It wasn’t the greatest time,” she said. “I was in the living room [when I found out], and my parents were like, ‘Kyra your friend just tested positive’ and I was like, ‘ooh dang.’ So they just sent me up to my room, and I stayed there alone.”
During her isolation, Dapore said her family would bring food to her door. She also stayed connected with friends through text and video chat.
“It kinda sucked not being able to see my friends,” she said. “I just watched movies, I painted a lot, and I just kept myself busy.”
When the district transitioned to All-in Learning, senior and Student Production Coordinator for the Spring Musical Abigail Ali went through a two-week quarantine with around 20 other students deemed “vital” for the Something Rotten musical that premiered earlier this spring. The students were on a strict filming schedule and had to ensure that they would not be exposed to COVID-19 in the classroom while filming and performing.
“I had a lot of involvement pre and post show, and I basically did everyone’s hair and makeup for the show––all of the leads at least,” she said. “If I got exposed, they would have been exposed too. If someone got sick the show would have been over.”
The students found ways to manage their classes while their seats stayed empty at school, but staying informed and on time with assignments proved to be difficult for some.
Wyzlic shared that the unprecedented nature of this year led to a lack of resources for students in his situation.
“It was really inconvenient. I emailed all of [my teachers] as soon as I got the results … and all the teachers were like, ‘oh we’re sorry, just check the calendar [and] try to keep up on notes and stuff.’ It was just kind of like nothing was really prepared for it.
He said that his capstone class was difficult to engage in during his quarantine period.
“Capstone wasa kind of tough just ‘cause I couldn’t ask any questions. So I was kind of confused [and] I ended up being two weeks behind. Then I got docked points for being late on everything,” Wyzlic said.
Math also was a challenge.
“Math was definitely difficult just ‘cause it’s something that’s really hard to understand by just reading notes about it,” he said.
The exception was physics for Wyzlic. His physics teacher Jeff Schuster allowed students to join a Zoom meeting that ran during class, so they could watch live as if they were in the building.
“Take a little mental note that Mr. Schuster handled everything very well during hybrid,” Wyzlic said.
Schuster held Zoom meetings for all of his live classes through all learning platforms. During hybrid learning, students who were home for half of the week and students who were in quarantine would log onto Zoom. When the district transitioned to All-in learning, Schuster continued the Zoom meetings, even with most of his students regularly attending in person.
“I think an overwhelming majority of the time, students were at least able to come to Zoom,” he said. “So that’s very helpful for their education and for not being so isolated.”
Like Wyzlic, Ali had difficulty keeping up with her math class outside of the classroom.
“Personally, math was really hard. My math teacher used to make videos for us every week with notes, but then once we went all in, he didn’t, and I couldn’t go to class, and he wouldn’t Zoom me in,” she said. “So I had a friend in that class and she just sent me my notes, and I kind of just hoped and prayed it was stuff I understood.”
Junior Sophie Esquinas said her teachers were “pretty lenient” when it came to her remote work during quarantine. She tested positive for COVID-19 during hybrid learning.
The biggest challenge for Esquinas was the amount of tests she had to make up when she returned to school.
“When I went back, I had to make up like three tests all in one week so that I definitely got a little behind in some classes,” she said.
Dapore said learning remotely while her classes were in-person was not very difficult because most of her teachers had everything online already.
“I emailed all of my teachers and they just said to check Canvas,” she said. “Everything was online so it wasn’t that hard. [My teachers] all accommodated me well. ”
Again like the others, Dapore only faced issues with her math class. Her teacher provided video notes, but she noted that not being able to ask questions led to confusion and that the math test she took when she returned to school did not go well as a result.
An overarching theme of students’ quarantine experiences was that being able to connect with teachers over Zoom was crucial for their success in remote learning. On Zoom, students are able to witness lessons from home (either live or through a recorded Zoom meeting) and ask their teachers questions.
“I feel like the idea of no Zoom is dumb,” Ali said. “I talked to all of my teachers, and they all said, ‘We cannot Zoom you into class.’”
Schuster further explained the value of streaming classes over Zoom during this school year.
“I still was able to accommodate [my students at home] zooming in, so it made it much more feasible for education [and] in not being so isolated. Zoom doesn’t fix all that, but it’s certainly better than nothing,” he said.
The crew team ended up cancelling the rest of their fall season after Wyzlic and two of his teammates tested positive. Ultimately he made it through without any serious effects from the virus.