On March 16, the life of every student at Hewlett High School was drastically changed. That Monday was the first day of distance learning for students through a mandatory two-week closure period in Nassau County, before an even more widespread statewide closing of schools until at least April 1, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
There is no aspect of our everyday lives that has not yet changed. Classes and schoolwork no longer take place in person; many teachers have resorted to using the online application Zoom, where teachers can carry out instruction in a video chat format.
Work is being assigned to students across a variety of platforms – Schoology, Google Classroom, Infinite Campus Parent Portal – are all being used to share information with students. Missing from students’ days, however, are the meaningful interactions that may be over looked until they’re gone. A smile from your favorite teacher in the hallway. Going out to get coffee during a free period with your friends. Running into friends in the hallway. All of that is no longer an exciting thing to look forward to each day. With all these losses in mind, I think it is more important to think about what we have gained from this experience.
With more down time, students have the opportunity to relax and reflect, and families have more time to be together. As families are quite literally being stuck in their house, more time is spent with family. In my house, at least, family movie nights have become a daily tradition as part of this new way of life.
Video chats with family from across the country during dinner time are now possible as we all have the time to take a step back and enjoy the break from our fast-paced daily lives. And with not much else to do, my family has been taking advantage of the ability to enjoy the outdoors.
Taking my dog for long walks or going on family bike rides have been a great ways for us to make use of our time together. I have certainly been trying to look at the positives of this situation rather than dwell on the negatives, as with an ongoing pandemic, the negatives never end.
With this in mind, I encourage everyone to try to focus on being able to spend time with family and use this time to unwind. If everyone does their part and stays home as much as they can to prevent the spread of this virus, hopefully we will be able to move past this and return back to normal life sooner rather than later.