2019 Elle Arvesen mug

Arvesen

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that it was nearly two years ago when I didn’t have to worry about catching COVID. Now, my eyes are immediately drawn to the person in the room who’s wearing their mask incorrectly, or even worse, not at all.

Every time a student, or multiple, is confirmed to have COVID at the school, an email is sent out to students and parents alerting them of the fact. The email does not contain information as to who exactly — for reasons of privacy, which I understand. The school has launched a COVID-19 dashboard on the district website which features case count information that is updated weekly and released to the general public. There is also a spreadsheet that tracks COVID-19 data that dates back to the beginning of the school year. 

As a student, it relieves me that this information is public, although it still unnerves me whenever I step into a class, see that three students are missing and don’t know whether they’ve been quarantined or if they’re taking the day off for personal reasons.

Like I predicted, prior to our return to in-person learning, some teenagers don’t seem to care about the pandemic, the possibility of getting sick or the possibility of spreading COVID to family members. Some of these students may not have received the vaccine, which is even worse if they refuse to wear their masks in school. Although they do have the right to choose whether or not to get the vaccine, I also have the right to attend school without being afraid that I’ll get sick from one of these students.

COVID-19 has completely demolished some teenagers’ lives. Emotional, mental and physical health has been sacrificed, and family members have been lost due to this illness. For students to make light of it isn’t right.

Even though life is slowly getting back to normal, the scars that the pandemic have left on millions of teenagers across the country remain. Anxiety disorders, depression and grief plague younger generations, especially teenagers, and we’re slowly trying to recover.

Schools should be our haven, where we look forward to seeing our friends and learning every day. It’s heartening to see that our school is listening to our feedback, taking it into consideration, and responding to it positively and effectively.

Clubs are important. They’re fun, not to mention they look good on college transcripts, or at least that’s what I’ve been told. Of course, that added benefit was important to me when I walked into our school’s ...

Elle Arvesen is a local high schooler, and SYV News Teen Life columnist.

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