School Quiet on First Day of Shutdown

Students and teachers were allowed on campus to take what they need from classrooms and lockers before campus closes for four weeks


Photo By Ed Mahon

Atticus Cottula comes to campus in protective gear on March 17.

The campus was quiet and mostly somber on Tuesday, March 17, the first day of canceled classes following the announcement the previous Friday afternoon that school would be closed until at least April 13.

This was the day that teachers would be allowed to gather materials from their classrooms and students would be allowed to take what they need from lockers to keep up with school for the next month. After Tuesday the campus would shut down completely in an effort to keep people isolated and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Through most of the morning, classrooms remained closed and only a few students wandered across campus. 

Junior Bailey Munion, who came to school with her friend junior Sophia Dubinetskiy, understood the decision to close school–but that didn’t mean she liked it.

“It’s crazy. I don’t know what to think,” she said. ‘I like school. I hope they open it up soon.”

Dubinetskiy agreed.

“It’s really sad being stuck at home,” she said. “I like going to school and seeing everyone.”

The pair had come to campus to see teachers, “but no of them are here,” Munion said.

Senior Atticus Cotulla, who said he was “a little bit worried” about the coronavirus, wore latex gloves,  a white jumpsuit and a respirator mask, such as might be worn in an autobody paint shop. 

“I think it’s kind of nice to get an extended break,” he said. “But it’s a health hazard. I think (closing schools) is for parents and to protect other people (besides students).”

Lenin Martinez and Anthony Gomes, both seniors, were looking forward to a break from school. 

“I think it’s great; we needed a break,” Gomes said.

Martinez agreed, but added, “It’s good to stop spreading the virus.”

The district has not made any announcement about extending school closings past April 13, the day classes resume after spring break. Officials have also not made any announcement about distance learning, except that teachers may not assign or collect work during this break. 

But speculation went viral about the possibility of extending the school closing and canceling events like junior prom, senior ball and graduation.

Later that afternoon, English teacher Jolynn Mason talked with a couple of colleagues outside her classroom door while maintaining the recommended 6-feet of social separation.

When one colleague said he didn’t think school would re-open, Mason became wistful. 

“I really like my freshmen,” she said. “I was looking forward to ending the year doing ‘Romeo and Juliet’ with them. That’s a great, fun way to end the year and they are such a great group. Now, this.”

Junior Bailey Munion, bumps elbows with her friend junior Sophia Dubinetskiy on March 17
Lenin Martinez and Anthony Gomes, both seniors, were looking forward to a break from school.