By: Jared Beers
Covid-19 has had major effects on my life, and my junior year of high school has ended much differently than I imagined. I have limited access to academic or social interactions. My access to athletic programming and training outside my home has been completely removed. My experiences through the past several months have been mostly negative. It’s truly hard to find the positives. Personally, I feel that it is beyond time for removing barriers; especially given our local statistics as it relates to this global pandemic.
School during Covid-19 is mind-numbing. Learning digitally is challenging and doesn’t replace in-person learning. For example, as a result of my experience, I would describe Zoom as a terribly horrific replacement for the classroom and Teams as nothing but an email system and mailbox of sorts for turning in assignments. Neither is the same as being in the classroom, and that makes it hard for me to find the motivation to finish these projects from home. For me, learning is social, and these digital elements take that social element away.
Along those lines, I haven’t seen most of my friends in more than 62 days. Some people may consider social media and gaming as socialization, but I don’t. I know some have not followed social distancing guidelines, but I had to. Both of my parents are essential workers, so they made me and my sister follow the CDC recommendations. I also have a household family member who is immunocompromised, so that increases my family’s need to follow protocol.
Throughout quarantine, I’ve also thought a lot about my future and how this pandemic may be impacting some of those decisions. I keep getting notifications that football prospect camps are being cancelled, yet I am trying to go through the recruiting process. Slippery Rock University had a prospect camp on May 17, which was cancelled. As the only state school that has my intended major, I would like to consider going there. I would also like to play football there, but without being able to attend the camp like I did last year, I don’t know how else to show them that I’ve taken their recommendations seriously. I don’t have access to the school weight room, my high school coaches, or my personal trainer as well, so it will be a challenge to be recruited without access to these resources. I have tried to do a couple things online, including meet with the Dean of my intended major in a virtual open house setting, but being a social learner, I just sat there without participating. It wasn’t the same as meeting in person. How can one make a college decision from a virtual meeting? I know I can’t.
There are two confirmed cases of COVID in Warren County. According to the Warren Times Observer, “We have been notified of our first positive COVID-19 patient in Warren, PA, Warren General Hospital CEO Rick Allen said” on March 25. Since then, there has been only one other positive case documented in Warren County. It is beyond time to open businesses and return to normal. According to Governor Tom Wolf’s website (governor.pa.gov), moving from Red Phase to Yellow Phase will not open schools or gyms, so this won’t fix my academic or athletic issues. However, the yellow phase lifts the Stay at Home order for Warren County, but limits gathering to 25 people. This will allow one of my negative effects to be lifted. So, on May 8, I was very relieved that the social aspect of quarantine is over!
Warren County is way overdue for a little freedom to open local businesses in order to help stimulate the economy. As a resident of Warren County, I have maintained as much patience as possible, with only two confirmed cases at the price of academics and athletics. Warren County was never the issue, but we had to suffer the pandemic consequences. Lifting the Stay at Home order and moving from Red to Yellow will do little good without anywhere to go or anything to do. The county’s move to the Green Phase can’t come soon enough.