As the cases of Covid-19 begin to drop, and the number of vaccinated citizens continue to rise, life as we knew it pre-pandemic is finally beginning to make its way back.
Slowly but surely, new things have begun to change in the way Northport High School has historically operated. It began with the end of the mask mandate, then the removal of desks in the cafeterias, and most recently, the end of the temperature readings in the morning. High school students have gotten so used to Covid precautions as a “new normal” that reverting back to these old ways has definitely had an impact on them. But how much exactly?
To answer this question, I asked various Northport High School students how they feel about these new changes. Here are their various responses.
“It makes me a bit nervous, since Covid is still a thing and people are still getting the disease, but it’s a bit comforting in a sense that we’re going back to ‘normal.’ Although it does feel good to not wear masks, I’m just worried that we’re going to have another outbreak or variant that’s going to spread like wildfire.” – Anonymous, freshman.
“Honestly for me personally it’s nice but stressful at the same time. Overall it is just nicer to know what my classmates loom like. It’s easier to talk and sit with more of your friends at the lunch table, which for once is really nice. It doesn’t feel like I have this great divide in between me and my friends now. Also, it makes more room for people to sit together no more if not having enough seats. I feel like this is the closest thing we’ve had to pre-Covid in over two years now and none of us probably know what is the right way to feel it.” – Anonymous, sophomore.
“I think that it’s really nice how it’s all coming together and starting to feel like how it all was before this whole pandemic but I also feel that they immediately rushed into it. I would’ve wanted maybe a more easier start with it, rather than just immediately changing everything but still I mean it’s really nice and I also like how it’s your decision whether or not to wear a mask.” – Anonymous, freshman.
“I am excited to see that the world is returning to normalcy and our education is back on track. Many of the adolescents at the school suffered from a loss of proper education and emotional support during a hard time, and many were socially stunted as their growth into adulthood was put on pause. While keeping the safety of our children and staff in mind, these movements to return to normalcy is a positive change for us all. I, like many other students, am glad to see the smiles on faces again, as we feel like we can breathe for the first time in a while.” – Lorelei Heuer, senior.
“I’m happy that things are going back to normal. It was really hard to live with Covid and depression and stuff, but I don’t know if going back while Covid is stil, a problem is the right move. Cases are really low though.” – Dylan Atkins, freshman.
“I think it’s really exciting to have things back to normal and I like that we are given the power of choice in our decisions regarding Covid protocol. It’s cool to have lunch tables in the cafeteria because it adds a new social aspect to everything, and I think no masks do the same thing.” – Caitlyn Murphy, freshman.
Overall, many students seem to enjoy having these decreased restrictions, but the stress and anxiety is still evident in all of these answers. Some students are still questioning if the end of the mask mandate was the right choice, while others are enjoying their new freedom. Many students are glad to be moving in the right direction, but others are questioning which direction is actually correct.
Covid has put us as a school community through hell and back, the lingering effects of which have impacted all of these students’ answers. But, with fewer Covid cases and more vaccinated citizens, the future for our community is shining brighter, and the hope of a Covid-free world is becoming more of a possibility.