Memorial’s COVID-19 update

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Entering a new year at Memorial have the students wondering what this year (2021-2022) will look like.

Hailey Paddock, Staff Writer

As COVID-19 continues to change everyone’s lives, the past school years (19-20, 20-21) have been dramatically altered. From completely ending a school year nine weeks early, to only going two days in-person, or even fully virtual, Edmond’s students have had a whirlwind of academic and social placement. Not only have students dealt with the effects of COVID, but so have teachers and other faculty members. 

Junior Emylie Guthrie has described her past two years with COVID at Edmond Memorial High School as difficult as she became more dependent on technology.

“I find myself fighting harder for A’s because COVID makes it difficult to learn,” Guthrie said. “I [also] find myself less social compared to previous years mainly because of how weird it is to talk to people when their mouths are covered by masks.”

Memorial’s principal Dr. Anthony Rose agrees that students do better in a class setting, academically and socially. Compared to the blended school schedule, where kids did not have enough time learning with a teacher.

“I think our students want social activities, like Howdy Week,” Rose said.

Howdy Week was one of the first social events Memorial held this year, and students who haven’t experienced this community’s entertainment (due to COVID regulations) had the opportunity to understand some sort of normalcy for this school. When previous to COVID restrictions, students were more involved in the school’s hosted events.

“I don’t think there was hardly any communication (between students), unless you were already friends.” teacher Dalton Savage said (in regards to masks).

When it comes to masks, supporting people in their own personal decision has become very common in the high school setting. According to Rose, it is encouraged to wear a mask at school, however many don’t seem to agree with it.

“I feel that masks make it harder for me to learn. I can’t comprehend things by just hearing them. I need some sort of visual, and masks limit that visual,” Guthrie said. 

Savage mainly focuses on the comfort level of his students. If a few of his students want to be distanced and wear a mask, he is in full support.

“I support people in doing what they want to do, in terms of their masking,” Savage said.

Recently a mask mandate was placed over Edmond Public Schools. This was announced after these interviews were conducted. The mandate will last from Sept 8 through Oct 13, the remaining of the first nine weeks, unless the parent of a student opts them out. This has caused controversy with the parents, during school board meetings Edmond Public Schools have had tons of protests against masks.

Despite there being no update on schedule changes-for example, students going back to a blended model or even full virtual-many staff members and students are questioning what will happen.

“I eventually see schools closing for a week or two and then transitioning back into blended schedules,” Guthrie said.

Rose and Savage are still unsure what will happen, but they are putting full faith and trust in the school to keep students safe and educated.

As COVID restrictions continue to linger, there is no telling what might take place within the next few years. Students need to keep being aware and work hard to achieve their goals.

Contact Hailey Paddock at [email protected]