Within the past week, students at RHS have heard the phrase “wash your hands!” more than ever. Many of us are aware of the sudden outbreak of coronavirus; however, few have paid mind to how it will specifically affect Ridgewood High School. Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco made an announcement on Thursday the 12th outlining that all 75 public school districts in the county would be closed. The amount of time that will be dedicated to “social distancing” varies from school to school but as of now, RHS will be closed for 2 weeks while we practice online schooling.
The students of RHS have spoken, and their opinions regarding the coronavirus are interesting, to say the least. Sophomore Camryn Wennersten spoke on behalf of many students when she said: “I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.” Camryn is a runner for the RHS track and field team and she and her other teammates are beyond upset that their meet in California has been canceled. After a comprehensive interview with RHS’s assistant principal, Mr. Pizzuto, I was informed that the German trip has been canceled as well. On top of the track trip and German trip being canceled, the RHS New Players’s production of The Addams Family has now been postponed. While the coronavirus has sparked many opinions, unfortunately, frustration is currently a mutual feeling amongst the entire RHS community.
At the beginning of last week, the RHS staff started to wonder whether or not school would be closed: at 3 P.M. on Friday the 13th, students left RHS not expecting to return until March 30th. With the number of coronavirus cases quickly increasing, it is important to remember that school is being closed to limit close contact with other individuals, aka “social distancing,” and to protect the health and safety of the students and staff at RHS. Mr. Pizzuto also brought to my attention that the faculty has planned to close school for “longer periods of time, which is something we have not done before.” This is a scary period of time for both students and teachers because the answers regarding when we will return are uncertain. Thankfully, we belong to an institution that puts the students’ education first. While the school is temporarily closed, students are still responsible for completing the work their teachers assign. With the help of Google Classroom, Google Meet, and other technology, RHS students should have no problem furthering their education right from their own homes. Unlike our iconic, 4, 3, 2, and 1-day schedules, the faculty has put into place an A and B day schedule that divides the 8 periods into 4 on an A day and 4 on a B day. It will be exciting to witness how this new system of virtual learning unfolds throughout the next couple of weeks.
Mr. Pizzuto and other officials at RHS are most concerned with the mental health of our school during this period of time. Our guidance services will still be accessible to anyone who needs them during the week. While some may take this break from school as an opportunity to hang out with friends, it is crucial to remain in small groups to prevent the spread of this virus. This abrupt change in the schedule can be stressful to all, but our teachers and staff are here to help us so do not hesitate to shoot them an email. As long as we collectively help our peers and stay on top of our studies, we will overcome this unfortunate virus.
Graphic: Nicole Kye