On March 5, 2020, Tennessee had its first confirmed case of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Williamson County.
By March 12th, the number of confirmed cases in Tennessee reached 18. On that same day, Governor Bill Lee signed an executive order that declared a state of emergency in Tennessee.
On March 13th, the Tennessee Department of Health confirmed the first case in Rutherford County. Shortly after this, Rutherford County closed schools in order to sanitize the buildings from March 16-20, as urged by Governor Bill Lee.
However, due to the cases of COVID-19 increasing exponentially, these plans seemed to change almost daily. Rutherford County soon made the decision to close schools until the 2020-21 school year.
By April 9th, the decisions were made to postpone county graduation ceremonies and cancel End of Course tests. Students were encouraged complete optional work through the Rutherford County website or from their teachers’ school websites and to also work with their teachers to bring their third quarter grades up to passing.
Advanced Placement students will have to study even harder because many were not finished with the curriculum by March 13th, and they cannot participate in their teachers’ normal after school and weekend review sessions. Although other classes will not have end of course tests, Advanced Placement and dual enrollment classes will still be taking tests, just in different formats than usual.
Besides education, Rutherford County Schools is providing breakfast and lunch for students and their families for anyone, not just those on free-and-reduced meal plans, through the summer.
The purpose of schools closing is for students and teachers to self-isolate in order to avoid contracting and spreading COVID-19.
“Having to do everything at home and by myself is strange, compared to being used to being able to see friends when I’m in need of a break from schoolwork,” stated Elizabeth Nelson, junior.
Having to socially-distance yourself at home can become grueling and boring, but with schoolwork, many streaming services and apps, and creativity, anyone can easily entertain themselves. Many teachers are posting challenges and throwbacks in order to shake the boredom and remind us that we are not alone.
“I’ve had to take on a new hobby, so I crochet now, and I’ve made two blankets so far,” said Mckenlie Dickerson, junior.
Many of the workplaces that students are employed by are essential, meaning that they still have to work outside of their home during this time. This could mean that the student could be the only one leaving their home for work, or it could even mean that the student in the only one bringing money into the household.
“The coronavirus has affected me in many ways that I have enjoyed. I’ve been able to be at home more and sleep on my own time. I have a lot of time to go on walks and enjoy the sun, and I’ve had a lot of time for video games, which is the best part in my opinion,” stated Abigail Irwin, sophomore.
Every student has a different circumstance, whether it be working, taking care of siblings, or just doing what you do during a normal school break, but every student is likely feeling the stress of self-isolation.
“Quarantine has made my mental status suffer a little because it is really hard not being able to see other people and go out and do something fun,” said Lucas Smith, sophomore.
For the first time ever, Blackman High School seniors are being allowed to decorate the top of their graduation caps. The graduation for the class of 2020 is planning on being held on June 22 at 20:20 (8:20pm) on the Inferno, Blackman’s football field, however, it is contingent on the CDC guidelines at the time.
This time of isolation is bringing us all together in ways previously unimaginable. Celebrities are posting videos of what they are doing in self isolation. John Krasinski (famously known as Jim from The Office) has created an eight-part series, titled Some Good News, bringing random videos from all over the internet into his show that brings a level of positivity to this time and brightens people’s days. Most of the videos show ways in which humanity is joining together to help each other out.
The best way to lessen the time we cannot move about as we normally do is to just stay home, only going out when necessary, observing social distancing, and wearing a mask at all times while in public.