Editor’s Note: As Cleveland deals with the outbreak of the new coronavirus, or COVID-19, everyday life is being disrupted. In our new series “How It Feels,” we’re talking to students, teachers, nurses and those on the frontline of the pandemic to see what it feels like to live life in isolation and transition to new ways of working, thinking and living. For more, read our past installments including Distill Table owner Eddie Tancredi on transitioning his restaurant to a meal prep service, a service worker on being laid off from his job, a parent on working from home with the kids and a teacher on transitioning to a online classroom.
Entering the spring semester of your senior year in high school feels like a light at the end of a long tunnel for many students. The weather is getting warmer, final projects are being assigned and prom proposals are all over Instagram. It’s the busiest year of high school, but also arguably the one that feels most rewarding, as students inch closer and closer to putting on that cap and gown.
So, you can’t really blame Lake Catholic High School's Luka Eller for feeling a little restless. The 18-year-old senior’s life has quickly shifted from five classes a day, prom preparations and basketball practices to staying at home and waiting for online courses to begin. On March 13, Ohio announced that schools across the state would close through April 6. Since then, Governor Mike DeWine has extended that order to May 1.
Eller’s last day of school, unbeknownst to him, was Wednesday, March 11. That Thursday when he arrived at school to go on a field trip, he and his fellow National Honor Society members found out the trip had been canceled. The bus driver was too nervous to drive, due to the rising outbreak of COVID-19.
That’s kind of when it hit me and my classmates. Basically everyone that was in our National Honors Society group got a day off of school. But we didn’t realize how long this was actually going to last for.
So now we’re at the point where we’re most likely shut down for the rest of the year. We’re starting online classes on Monday and it’s disappointing for all of us knowing that there’s a chance prom is going to be taken away from us.
I’ve been looking forward to walking on that stage for graduation. I’ve worked so hard these last 4 years to be able to do that — it’s disappointing. But there’s not much we can do about it.
I play basketball and football and we had made it to districts so when the coronavirus caught up we were already out of the tournament. But I have some friends at St. Edward [High School] and Mentor High School, so they were still in the tournament. Now all of this got postponed, which isn’t fair to them at all. I know they’re still upset about it.
We’re going to start doing block scheduling — taking two classes a day for about three hours. It’s going to be a big adjustment, I mean it is what it is. It’s going to be difficult not only for us, but also for the faculty members as well. They’re going to have to learn as we do.
I hope they keep classes going though because you’re an 18-year-old sitting at home, you know. What else are you going to do? There’s not too much. They're setting all these laws that we can’t go outside. So it’ll be nice for the students to just finish up the year.
Obviously, having no school for a week or two is always nice, but once it gets extended to this point — I’ve talked to a lot of my friends and we just want to be back in school. –– as told to Arbela Capas