One Year of Quarantine


Shikha Patel

Today, Mar. 13, 2021 marks one year of COVID-19 shutting down AISD campuses, which led to the start of online learning for students a few weeks after.

Arushi Sharma and Anna Holme

Today, Mar. 13, 2021 marks one year of COVID-19 shutting down AISD campuses, which led to the start of online learning for students a few weeks after. After schools shut down, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) implemented many new policies including a six-foot social distance and a mask mandate for all Texas residents, which has recently been revoked

Currently, over 45,000 people in Texas and 500,000 people in the United States have died due to COVID-19.  As society reaches this one-year mark, Bowie students are reflecting over their experiences in the past year. 

“My initial reaction when schools were first closed was that I was excited, as I think everyone was,” junior Maya Cottam said. “I was at a track meet and when they told us that school was closed for a while and some time off from school was very appealing because the spring semester is always super hard.”

While the initial reaction for many students was overwhelmingly positive, some students, including sophomore Kierra York, realized that their perception of this long break was not what they expected. 

“I had no idea what COVID even was yet let alone that it would turn into a year of quarantine,”  York said.“I thought COVID-19 was a really bad flu that we’d get over.” 

Online school initially commenced on April 6, 2020 with optional assignments and pass-fail grades. And as the 2019-2020 year ended and the next began, students continued to stay fully virtual until in-person options were presented a month into the school year. 

“My favorite part of teaching is the face-to-face interactions with students,” social studies history teacher Karl Lauer said. “Teaching online really takes away one of the biggest reasons I love my job. I still do, it’s just been a little more trying than in years past, but I think that has been true for everyone.”

Many students have been having a similar experience, with the constant amount of time spent on a computer screen and the limitation of social interaction. According to the Promise Alliance, in a study of 3,300 U.S. high schoolers, 30% of young people reported more feelings of unhappiness more often since the start of the pandemic.

“This year, through online school, my grades have been better because I have nothing else to do,” York said. “However, it’s at a cost because even though I may look like I’m doing okay in the grade book, at home I’m not doing so good because of my mental health.”

However, this pandemic has also led to unique ways for people to connect with others safely including virtual “hangouts”. Many people, including social studies teacher Matthew Parente, have explained that this experience has caused self-reflection. 

“I’m developing COVID fatigue, and about hanging out with myself. I’m looking forward to traveling, meeting people, and doing things I normally would have been too shy or reserved to do,” Parente said. “I’m not normally a hugger, but I’m looking forward to some hearty handshakes and yes, even some hugs.”

Since the Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson-Johnson COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by the Center of Disease Control (CDC), more than 5.7 million vaccine shots have been given to Texans and almost 6.8% of Texas’s total population have been fully vaccinated.

“Last year I thought we’d be back in school by now, but here we are,” sophomore Ella Kauzser said. “I do have some hope though because of the vaccines, but Abbott lifting the mask mandate didn’t help.”

Through the experience of a pandemic, online school, and a decrease in social interaction, Cottam emphasizes what she has learned in this past year of COVID-19.

“I’ve learned that life is short and you should enjoy every moment because you never know when you won’t be able to go outside your house without a mask or being worried and nervous,” Cottam said. “I learned to enjoy every interaction I have with people and appreciate and seek out time with my friends and my family. That’s what COVID-19 has brought that to light for me.”