By Kodi Udochukwu’23
On Wednesday, February 3, 2021, Dr. Hulsey announced that the school would be closed until the spring trimester. Certainly, there were mixed emotions among the student body. International students frantically called their parents, either accepting that they were stranded in the U.S. or hurriedly booked a flight for the next day. Athletes, particularly the seniors on the wrestling, track and field, swimming, squash, and basketball teams were utterly disappointed. But for what seemed to be a lot of people, this was a reason to rejoice. Despite spending only three weeks on campus, there is never a bad time to go home, right? Well, this spring trimester has much higher stakes than just being home or not. More than the previous two trimesters, we cannot afford to let the coronavirus shut the school down.
When Woodberry suspended in-person class indefinitely in late March 2020 due to the “novel coronavirus,” many were disappointed. COVID-19 created many problems, not only in our home lives, but in our Woodberry careers as well. The freshmen at the time who were told by their prefects and teachers that the spring trimester was the most wonderful thing in the world could not experience it. Athletes who desperately needed the season for highlights were left stranded. Seniors who planned to make awesome memories with their friends for what could be their last time together were left frustrated. Prom? Gone. Graduation ceremony? Gone (at the time). Last spring was devastating for everyone – some more than others.
And that’s why the stakes are higher than ever for all of us. We as a student body have to step up. We cannot let COVID-19 take over our school again. We’re going to have to be more responsible than we’ve ever been before. Granted, the school shutting down in the winter was not entirely our fault. No one knows for sure how COVID entered our community, but we do know how it spread. As Dr. Lane has repeatedly said, COVID-19 spreads most in the dining hall (where we have to be unmasked to eat) and in the dorms (where presumably boys remove their masks to hang out). Yes, there are some things that we cannot control, but we can control our actions.
So please, wear your masks properly, follow the social distancing rules, obey the dorm room and dining hall limits, and always wash your hands for AT LEAST 20 seconds. In short, just follow the COVID-19 precautions that the school’s health experts have set out for us. If you don’t understand why we have to follow a particular COVID-19 precaution, ask Dr. Lane. She’s the expert. We are not. And I know it’s hard. I’m not going to sit here and pretend it’s not. I know I’ve taken off my mask while visiting a friend’s room or studying in the library at least once – we all have. But we cannot afford to do stuff like that anymore.
And if you won’t do it for yourself, do it for those who are looking forward to their first spring trimester. Do it for the athletes who are pursuing a college career. Do it for the senior athletes who want to enjoy their last season of sports with their beloved teammates and friends. Do it so the seniors can have a graduation ceremony at the proper time. Do it so we can enjoy the spring together as one community. Look, I’m not a senior and I’m definitely not an athlete aspiring to play college sports, but just like you, I sympathize with the people that need this spring trimester the most. If you won’t follow the COVID precautions for yourself or for those who may have underlying health issues, do it for the people who need this spring. It is time for us to take responsibility and do the hard right over the easy wrong. It may be cliché, but that maxim has become even more significant in our lives now.
Amici usque ad aras