How School Closures Due to Coronavirus are Affecting Farmington’s Class of 2020

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Christian Martin

Pictured: Farmington High School's welcome sign.

Christian Martin, Editor

 

How School Closures are Affecting Farmington’s Class of 2020

A writer from the Blue and White was able to conduct interviews over the internet to get a better idea of what students are going through during the recent school closures ordered by Governor Whitmer on the 13th.  Students at Farmington Public Schools as well as other districts have been closed for a little over two weeks now, and to see how students of the graduating class of 2020 are adjusting we asked them some questions pertaining to how their school and home life has changed as well as how it feels to be graduating during such a trying time for the nation and the world at large.

How do you feel about Governor Whitmer’s response to the Coronavirus?

*Names have been changed. Some students opted to not answer due to a lack of information.

Sophie*

“I think she’s handling the situation really well considering it’s out of her control really.  She’s trying her best to take initiative right now and she isn’t backing down from attacking executives which I like.”

Georgia

“I think it was smart of her to tell people to stay inside and press the fact that this all depends on individuals’ effort to keep it contained. Also, the fines placed on shops that refuse to close really drives it home.”

Lewis

“I think [Her response] was a few days late but I’m glad got a quick response.” 

It seems from the feedback we received from the students we interviewed that the majority were pleased with the state’s response to the pandemic and were in favor of the school closing, and felt the fast response from Governor Whitmer was appropriate and responsible. The Governor’s response came soon after the news broke that the first two cases of Coronavirus were confirmed in Oakland County.

Do you think online schooling is being used as an effective alternative to classroom instruction?

Sophie

“I feel like online school is only effective because now we’re down to the last months of school. I feel that if this happened in the first semester, the online school would still be the only viable option, however, it would extremely challenging to actually enforce any sort of schedule or agenda.” 

“For now, I think it’s going to be okay. Sure, people won’t show up to some Zooms or Meets but as it stands now I doubt we will be missing out on a large portion of our education.” 

Georgia 

“Nope, I think it is only a temporary bang job fix for a very long term problem.” 

Daniel

“Not at all.” 

What makes you feel this way? 

“All that is being assigned is menial supplementary review tasks that are not required to be done. Everybody knows it doesn’t matter so nobody does the work. There are google meets, but that is also not required so few people join. All that occurs during the meets is more review from previous units and talking about how we are.” 

Do you feel the district is doing the best it can?

“I think the response from the district is not that bad. This is somewhat of a unique situation and this is certainly better than being stuck at school because a cancellation took too long to be approved or something. It could be better, but I feel the students’ experiences are defined by their individual teachers, not the district.”

Lewis

“Yes. I thought highly of using the internet to learn at your own pace before it was mandated.” 

The answers we received to this question were very mixed. That’s not surprising but it provides insight into how different students in different classes have all been affected by the transition to online schooling and how students are taking it seriously to varying degrees. The common link between all our responses is the understanding that this solution had to be implemented fast and that it has never been done before.

Has staying had an impact on your well-being be it mental or physical?

Sophie

“Well I guess personally speaking I’m sort of reclusive… the opportunity to stay home and essentially bathe in my own cesspool of laziness and introspection is un-ideal and not good. But I will say being alone with my thoughts has always been bad and this time alone has only left to me to delve deeper.” 

Georgia

“Physically I feel trapped, I can’t walk around much in my own house and since there’s no privacy everything I do is scrutinized and questioned on why I’m not doing anything productive.” 

Lewis

“Not being at school has lifted a weight off my shoulders and is a much-needed break mentally. The idea that I can be away from school for as long as 6 months makes me feel a sense of relief that I haven’t felt since I was younger. Yeah being locked away from everyone sucks but everyone has free time right now so I get to catch up on almost everything I felt too busy to do before.” 

Based on the information we received, it seems that staying home has impacted some students differently based on their home life. Some students feel the shutdown was a necessary break from the day to day stress of schoolwork and has given them the ability to focus on things like personal projects or catching up on classwork.  Others feel the shutdown has given them too much time at home. Combined with the state-wide shutdown and stay home orders given by the Governor has left some FHS students feeling trapped at home, which to some at-risk students or students who are food insecure could negatively impact day to day life. The district has implemented services for these students to access to get the things schools would normally provide for them. Those resources can be found here.

You’re a senior, are you upset over the possibility of senior events being canceled such as graduation and prom?

Sophie

“At first I was super overwhelmed and sad about it but honestly now I’d rather just move on. I’m trying to take a realist approach and not dwell on it much.”

Lewis

“I’m somewhat disappointed but my expectations weren’t very high for them either.” 

Georgia

“I wasn’t gonna go to prom anyway but I do feel bad for people who live through their high school experience. I am upset about graduation though, mostly because of the four-year effort to not even be given a public acknowledgment.” 

Daniel

“Not really. Personally I did not wish to attend graduation in the first place, As far as prom, I’m disappointed it was canceled but I understand it was necessary under these circumstances.” 

The responses we got from this question were mostly a mix of indifference and grief. Some students feel they’ve been cheated out of a proper conclusion to their high school experience and some are still excited to move on to the next stage. Overall, the class of 2020 has a lot to process with the state of the world and the beginning of their adult lives. Although some are troubled by their highschool careers ending in this way and some are being impacted more than others by staying home, the class of 2020 is resilient and hopeful for the future.