A Look Back at the Pandemic: 4 Years of COVID-19 in Review

On March 10th, 2020, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker declared a State of Emergency to respond to COVID-19. Following that, on March 13th, President Donald Trump declared a National Emergency; on March 15th, the governor announced an immediate shutdown of schools for three weeks; and finally, on March 18th, Mayor Gary Christenson announced a state of emergency that would effectively shut down Malden for the foreseeable future. 

I was ecstatic: I still remember coming home from school and seeing the announcement of my upcoming two-week break. I was so excited to play more video games and not worry about school. Sure I would not see my friends in person for a while, but it was worth it to not have to go to school. I met up with friends whom I hadn’t talked to in years and made friends with people I never would have met if not for a global shutdown. 

It took about a week before I started to lose track of days as experiences blended. The promised “two weeks” had been long gone and on April 21st, Baker announced that schools would remain remote for the rest of the academic year.

Around this time, I still understood very little about the current situation. I knew people were sick and dying, but I had not known any of them; I knew people were suffering, but no one close to me was. My parents were lucky enough to be able to work from home and I watched as my mom worked from her office like normal and my dad taught his classes online. They adapted to the current situation so I thought there was nothing to worry about. 

As the year wore down, our teachers wanted to do something for us. They knew that we could not have a graduation, or at least not a standard one, so they decided to record a video detailing all the things they wished for our futures. Before that, they wanted us to be in it as well so they posted an announcement asking for us to write and record speeches for the end of the year video. Some students chose to only write their speeches, while others went on video to say some final words to the 8th grade class of 2020. 

Afterwards the year was officially over. Our teachers announced dates for us to pick up our leftover items from school and on June 16th, 2020, I went down to Beebe, picked up my things, got my diploma, and that was that. That was the last time I saw the building as an eighth grader and all I left with was a sense of emptiness and loss. 

To say the summer went quickly would be a lie. I tried to find things to do, but searching for structured activities was hard considering I could not meet up with friends or go to a summer camp or anything like that. All I could really do was look forward to the first day of high school. 

With no sign of the pandemic’s end near, on September 16th, my freshman year of high school began. I woke up, walked downstairs, and powered on my computer; I went to Google Classroom, clicked on the link and my screen came to life with black boxes of turned-off cameras and a few teachers waiting to kick off the activities. This year was full of experiential learning and changes but it ended all the same.

Sophomore year and everything was almost back to normal; sports had already started back up, and for the remainder of the year absences from students and teachers due to COVID was the norm and we all tried to not worry about the new variants. 

My sophomore year went fast but on the second day of my junior year, the COVID test I took came back positive. It had taken about two and a half years and several scares, but I finally caught the virus. I was not allowed back in the school building for a few days but the world-sweeping pandemic had finally made its way to me: I had the sniffles for a day and that was that. Masks had been made optional a while back and after my various booster shots, COVID was about as scary as the flu. 

Now, four years after the start of the pandemic, it is all like a bad dream. People refer to the pre-pandemic era as the “before times” almost comically as the world has moved on. Yes, COVID-19 still exists and can cause worry from time to time, but the days of staying inside and staying away are over. 

Looking back on myself, I really did change a lot these past four years. My generation changed a lot as well. We ended our nine years at Beebe online and we started our four years at Malden High online. We learned how to make connections without being in person and we adapted to technology because we had to. Without the pandemic I would not have experienced the butterfly effect that led to me meeting my best friend, someone who lives in Vermont; or have been able to learn how to advocate for myself and talk with teachers as hybrid learning helped me with that. On the other hand, I will never stop myself from thinking “what if?” What if I had my graduation in person? What if I never had to use a mask? What if someone I was close with died from COVID? This virus has forced my generation to grow in so many ways but as I watch my senior year wind down and COVID fades into history I know we, as a class, can make it. Hell, we already survived a worldwide pandemic, what is supposed to be scary about our freshman year of college?

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.