Jamin Crow, a senior at Bethel Regional High School, had been out of school for almost a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He and other BRHS seniors were finally able to return to classrooms on March 11. Jamin carried a recorder with him and documented what that first day back in school was like.
Jamin: It is currently 9:30 [a.m.], and we just got done with a Zoom with the whole entire seniors; all the seniors. So today has been good so far. I got to school, and they showed me to my classroom where I am with four other students. We're all socially distant, sitting around with one teacher, but so far I'm really enjoying today. The teachers are very happy to see us. It's really nice to see all my classmates, and hopefully today goes well.
Jamin: It is currently 11:30 [a.m.], and I have been in a classroom working on my schoolwork for the past two hours. I'm really, I really enjoyed being in a classroom setting again. It's amazing how much it helps me focus, and I can tell it's helping my other classmates focus. And the amount of work that I've gotten done in the two hours is a lot more than compared to what I would have done in two hours at home. I have less distractions, I am on my phone less. I feel really focused, and being at school just helps me concentrate so much.
It's really quiet, but other than that everything's amazing. Teachers are poking their heads in and saying 'hi'. Even though they're wearing a mask, you can tell that everybody's all smiles, happy to be back, happy to see kids back. It's a really fun atmosphere. You can walk in the hallways when you're going to get water, and you can see some people you haven't seen in a long time and wave hi through the door. But overall, it's been a great morning. I think I have half an hour until we have lunch. And after lunch, that's when we're doing some fun activity, so I'll check in after that.
Interview with Ethan Sundown
Jamin: Alright, just say your name.
Ethan: My name is Ethan Sundown. I'm a senior at Bethel Regional High School.
Jamin: How's your first day of school going so far?
Ethan: Been really productive. Got a lot done so far. Just missed the environment, and I really enjoy seeing some of my friends here again. So it's been really good so far.
Jamin: What do you think about school starting almost exactly one year after everything shut down due to COVID?
Ethan: It's a little freaky that it happened almost to the year. Then again, I like to think of, you know, our society is pretty, you know, forward moving. And so to kind of have, you know, both of these really significant dates happen on the same kind of days, one year apart, it kind of just shows you, like, comparisons. Like, okay, where were we last year? And how far have we got now? Last year, everything was shutting down, sports was shutting down. You know, there was a real sense of dread in the air, I think. And now, you know, a year later, our state's leading the country in COVID vaccinations, so it's like, you know, I'm getting chills just talking about it.
Jamin: All right. Thank you.
Ethan: Yeah. Thank you, Jamin Crow.
Jamin: I just got done with school and I'm currently in my car, but today was a great day. We had lunch around noon, and we had the food brought to us in these plastic containers by a teacher. And we just ate in our desks and we put away our work. And we were just talking for about a half an hour, and it was really great to be able to catch up with old friends and classmates. It was really something to hear what they've been doing, what's been keeping them busy.
But around 12:30 [p.m.], we all hopped on a Zoom again, all the whole school. And the principal had set up a door decorating contest to kind of have, like, a team building thing. Even though I'm not the most artistic person, it was really fun to be able to do something along those lines and brainstorm an idea, and quickly put together something, and do something as a team. And I haven't done that in a year, which is kind of crazy to me, but it's something I really missed about school and today was great. To me, there was no negatives about today. I really appreciate this happening today, and I hope it gets better along the way.