As We Approach a Year

Madison Ross

On March 13, 2020, we went about our day as usual. Most of us had heard of COVID-19, it was beginning to be brought up in class, but none of us knew just how far this pandemic would go. Suddenly, it seemed, the district extended spring break. Then, we were remote learning. And we never went back to normal. This past year was full of tragedy, grief, and anger, but there were also rays of sunshine in the midst of the storm. As we approach the anniversary of our new normal and reflect on our confusing time in quarantine, it can be hard to determine just how we should feel about it.


Let’s start with the facts. Over 500,000 deaths in the United States have been attributed to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Many have had to cope with the loss of coworkers, grandparents, other relatives, and friends. About 28.5 million cases have been recorded in the United States, and new variants of the virus are beginning to appear in multiple states. The biggest wave of Covid cases in the U.S., which lasted approximately from late October 2020 to early February 2021, seems to be over; but, nobody can give a definitive answer as to when this pandemic will end.

However, there is hope. In Illinois alone, just under 3.8 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, with plans to make the vaccine fully available to the adult public by May 1, 2021. Some experts suggest that the United States might reach herd immunity, where about 72% of the population has either been infected with the virus or vaccinated against it, by late May. Herd immunity would decrease the likelihood of virus transmission and allow life to return to a state of normalcy. It has been a tumultuous year, but these statistics are beacons of hope.


Yes, there has been tragedy and loss due to the pandemic, but change is coming. And, as with any life-altering change, it is normal to have mixed emotions: whether it be grief over the year’s hardships and tragic events, excitement over the future, or confusion about where we’ve been and where we’re going.


Recently, Mr. Nobilio and Ms. Ratliff sent out a Padlet to Crystal Lake South students titled Reflecting on a Year of Change; inviting the GATOR community to come together and, as the title suggests, reflect. As I sifted through this Padlet, I noticed some common fundamental themes in the responses.


In response to the first question: “What is your favorite memory of school before the pandemic struck?”, the most common answer among participants is that they were able to see their friends, teachers, and other students every single day. After a year of being isolated from friends and family; people, understandably, miss in-person interactions with others. It is something many of us took for granted before the pandemic. It is something we will not take for granted ever again.