How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting students? Who better to tell us than students themselves. Last month, LebTown reached out to all Lebanon County school districts soliciting articles from juniors and seniors who wanted to write about their experience. Today we’re publishing a submission from Annville-Cleona students Carissa Hower and Jess Gutekunst.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused school systems around the country to close. On Friday, March 13, Annville-Cleona High School, like many other schools, made the initial decision to stay home for at least two weeks. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania has since closed schools for the remainder of the year. As of now, the coronavirus outbreak has rippled through the nation and forced people to work from home. This includes the students of A-C, who weren’t expecting to spend the rest of the school year from their rooms. Amidst these troubling times, some have learned to thrive and be productive, including junior Jahson Gonzalez-Allie and senior MaKenna Kline.

“I miss having the atmosphere that was at school with my teachers and friends, but there’s nothing I can do to fix that. It’s better to work on moving forward and doing as much as you can do during these times,” Gonzalez-Allie explained.

He added, “Being a student [who] did cyber schooling before the outbreak, I was kind of prepared when school shut down. I already knew how to do assignments from my home and work with a good time schedule. Of course, it’s not the same as it used to be, but there are a couple of benefits to this whole change. For instance, I’ve gotten to work out a bunch and even picked up reading in my spare time.”

Since this quarantine has started, students have had an experience of a lifetime and one that they will remember the rest of their lives. Some may say it has been the longest six weeks of their lives. Others, like senior MaKenna Kline, have found ways to make the time go by quickly.

Since Kline is a senior, she took the hardest hit when news of the school’s closing got to her. As with all seniors, their senior year memories were abruptly cut short due to these unforeseen circumstances. As she put it, the hardest part of this huge adjustment is getting used to the new normal.

Regardless, Kline has begun to make the best of this stay-at-home order. “[I am] doing things I haven’t had time to do. I painted my room, and I’m reading more,” she said.

Besides participating in leisure activities like these, most A-C students have just finished their first several weeks of online schooling. Although Gonzalez-Allie enjoys online schooling and prefers it over other methods, he still thinks of what he’s missing out on.

“I enjoyed talking with my math teacher and hanging out with my friends when I was at school. We had a good community,” he continued, “and so it’s a bit saddening to know that all of us have lost out on many experiences that were to come. A lot of students were looking forward to trips and special events, but now they’re gone.”

Kline agrees with the sentiments that Gonzalez-Allie mentions.

She added, “[I miss] seeing other people, friends, and teachers.”

Many other students can agree with that, especially the seniors. It is hard to see past the unusual and disappointing circumstances, but Kline wants to make sure her peers look on the bright side.

“Enjoy your next step,” she said.

The news has been constantly changing and negative outcomes have been caused by the outbreak, but in the end of the day, Gonzalez-Allie believes that there are also many positives in the situation.

“It’s hard to be in this situation, but look on the bright side of it all. With this time, you can do plenty of things. Work out, play some video game you’ve never played before. Go read a book and try out something new,” he concluded.

Do you have a message of encouragement for students going through this ordeal? Let us know and we’ll pass them along.


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