Stillwater High School student gives a speech to class in a pre covid time period.

Covid-19 impact on students and staff

April 13, 2023

The virus known as Covid-19 impacted all students in Stillwater Public Schools and has continued to affect them. The Pandemic required online learning which didn’t really teach the students the material but instead taught them the quickest way to do an assignment was so they could go hangout with friends or go play outside. Due dates for assignments became flexible and and tests became not necessary to study for. As a result students started to become lazy and created bad habits which still is seen in our schools today.

Covid first circled on the news in March of 2020 while most high school students were on spring break although it was nothing to freak out about at the time since it was just a little virus going around in China. Little did we know this little virus would become a global pandemic that would change our way of life for many years to come. When students came home from there long relaxing spring breaks thinking they had to go back to school on Monday, the virus had different plans. The long break first started as just a two week break extended off spring break. Students loved having that extra time and the thought of Covid in America never seemed like a big deal. While many students did in fact quarantine, many did not and it was just an extension to the break. Students would meet up with friends at parks to ride bikes, play football, and just hangout.

Since covid happened in the spring it ended up canceling all spring sports in 2020 and never rescheduling. Seniors who had worked all offseason just for a short 2 month long season has now lost the final push for scholarships. The juniors which is the biggest year for recruitment lost out on chances for offers from schools around the country. Sophomores and freshman lost out on the biggest years of development and learning. Stillwater had an exceptionally good athletic class in 2020 that very likely could have brought a State Championship trophy back to the school. For example, the boys lacrosse team had multiple players who had offers to play in college including Ty Thureson who is currently playing Division 1 lacrosse at Providence. The team for the first time in program history was rated #1 in state for preseason rankings and was the favorite to win state.

“It did hit a little bit of a learning curve because was all still eighth grade year so the grades didn’t matter as much” was Junior Hockey player Blaine Batchelor’s response to weather or not online school in the last year of middle school gave any bit of a learning curve.

The two week online break turned into the rest of the year being online school and although students were still required to do school, not much information was obtained. Online school was very easy, you could do 6 hours worth of school in only 1-3 hours. This either meant you weren’t doing the learning and just getting the assignment done or the assignments were not challenging to the students. Either way this affected every students learning because they simply weren’t learning the material like they should be. The following year school was back but not for everyone, online school was still an option for many students. Teachers were forced to have zoom calls with online students while they also taught in person. This made communicating with teachers very difficult to communicate with students.

“You get your work done faster, but also, you wouldn’t actually absorb the information” is what senior Ryan Haffner said when asked if school seemed easier or harder on online school.

Even though school was partially back in the fall of the new school year it did not mean that sports were. All fall sports were canceled which was horrible for players but many regular students who didn’t play a fall sport missed out on some of the best high school memories like going early to football games to tailgate. The best memories are cooking hot dogs and burgers while playing corn hole and football in the parking lot then cheering for all of your classmates until you lose your voice. The canceling of fall sports was supposed to be the end of no sports but Governor Walz had different plans. He canceled all winter sports too which included Minnesota’s favorite, hockey. No big state tournament at the Xcel Energy Center playing in front of 19,000 fans. Memories like that were never made for those athletes.

“You really didn’t get to play sports for two months, so it was definitely different just sitting at home shooting pucks” is what  Batchelor said when asked what his thoughts were on sports being canceled.

Covid was terrible and changed the lives of many people for many years to come. Although everyone suffered during those times, students and teachers had the most challenging experience. Students were forced to sit inside and do online school through zooms which weren’t beneficial. Teachers had to hold zoom calls with students and teach lessons to an audience who all had nothing but a black screen showing. All face to face confrontation was lost and lack of communication to one another made it all even worse. As if that all wasn’t enough, athletes from every sport had a season canceled and the fans that make memories attending to those games never did get to experience those memories.







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