Six Feet Apart, Two Days a Week

After years of dreaming for a longer summer, less responsibility, and more time to relax at home, the students of Eaglecrest High School finally got their wish.

Moral of the story? Be careful what you wish for.

Due to an early dismissal mid-March thanks to COVID 19, students have enjoyed about five months unburdened by academic stress. They’ve been able to sleep all day, stay up all night, and spend just about zero time with their friends all summer.

It didn’t take long for most students to admit that if dealing with the pressures of school meant seeing their friends more often, they were ready to sign up for the risk of in-person schooling.

But eager as we were to get back to the stress, responsibility, and early mornings of public education, it was with heavy hearts we heard the news of separate cohorts. 

Last name A-K, In-School Tuesday-Wednesday. Last name L-Z, In-School Thursday-Friday. 

Last name A-Z, utterly disappointed.

“It totally sucks having split schedules like this,” vents Jackson McCart, a junior here at Eaglecrest. “ I know it’s not the school’s fault, but it’s like there’s nothing left to enjoy about school. Seeing friends again was one of the only reasons I wanted to come back.”

Andrea Kaiser, class of 2021, says, “I was hoping we’d be able to choose which cohort to be in this year. I thought there would be a maximum number of people that could go each day and it’d just be first come first serve for the signing up process. I think students would have been a lot happier with that.”

Megha Gaonkar, another senior here, feels that “… we have truly been jipped of any chance for a normal school year. It feels really weird without my friends in the same cohort. I wanna spend my last year here with the same people I started freshman year with and now, thanks to cohorts, I only get to see half of them.”

To include more quotes, to say the least, would involve some heavy editing on my own part with the amount of school bashing and frustration that took place in these conversations. So, to summarize the rants of countless students here at our school, I’ll put it gently: we are truly unhappy.

While we all understand the struggles we are facing in these trying times, it’s hard to find the will to wake up to a day full of classes you don’t like, with a bunch of people you don’t know, at a pace that is, frankly, startling. 

The friends we have at school make up half our education, teaching us about camaraderie, patience, and understanding. Without them, school has no life, no character. We pass tests, turn in homework, but we don’t live, we don’t experience. 

Some students go all day without saying a single word to anyone. And who can blame them, with a new friend six feet away, and their old friends miles from the school?

Without the incentive of friends, many people have quickly descended into a numbing cycle of repetition, going to school because they have to, but not listening; turning everything in on time, but not learning; giving speeches and writing essays on the most abstract of concepts, but not caring even a little.

In a school at as much of a loss as we are, it’s hard to point the finger of blame at any one person or thing. But in an environment so blatantly displeased with the cards it’s been dealt, it’s almost impossible to keep quiet.

At this point in time, we can only hope things will return to normal soon. 

But until then, when you’re not grinding away in front of your computer screen or walking in circles trying to get to your next class on time,  text a friend good morning, ask how they’re doing, make plans for the weekend, or even call them for a few minutes after school.

In times of uncertainty, the things we know and love serve as the greatest comfort. So don’t let the days or the distance keep you from the ones you need most; the day will soon come when you’ll be able to thank them in person.