Cobblers React to Coronavirus Closure with Concern, Optimism, and Curiosity

While Cobblers are reacting optimistically to schools being closed for the coronavirus pandemic, AP students and students in activities are most concerned.

As news of Governor Kristi Noem’s announcement that schools are canceled next week spread through Central High School Friday afternoon, Advanced Placement (AP) students were expressing concern, while other students and teachers were reacting with a mix of optimism and curiosity.

AP students concerns particularly concern test preparedness. “I think I have enough resources to prepare,” said junior Hunter Shorthill, an AP chemistry and English language student, “But I still feel like we’ll be set back because of this.”

Grace Belcher, another junior, agreed. “I feel like I’m prepared for English,” she said, “but I’m not sure for history, and while I can study on my own for these classes I don’t feel like I’m getting as much content due to the lectures I’m missing.”

Optimism seemed to depend on which classes were involved.  “I’m in AP physics and not really worried about it,” said Erik Keohane, a senior. “However, if I was in AP chemistry, I’d be upset.”

AP chemistry was a common factor in those concerned.  “I’m in AP chemistry, AP language & composition, and AP US history,” said Miya Kuroiwa, a junior. “This news frustrates me because I feel like we will get behind.”

Alec Doyle, a senior, was more pointed as he made his way to math class. “It sucks, I’m not happy,” he said.

That displeasure is a sentiment common for those involved in activities. While students later learned that the state AA basketball tournaments were at least postponed, Keohane, a member of the boys’ basketball team slated to face Yankon in the round of eight, was bracing for the news. “I don’t know if the state basketball tournament is postponed or cancelled,” he said. “Either way it stinks.”

Performing arts students were also facing cancellations and possible cancellations, including the spring musical, Guys and Dolls. Artistic director Justin Speck was optimistic about how his drama students would handle the challenge. “Even with this break, performing arts students are some of the most resilient, so I believe they will come back with gusto,” he said.

Generally, students appeared to take the cancellation in stride. “Well, I feel like it’s a good thing and a bad thing,” Colton Jung, a senior, said. “I think it’s a good thing and that they’re protecting the people. On the bad side, I don’t know what’s going to happen to all that lost time.”

At first hit, the lack of information was causing the most concern among teachers, as the district was not told in advance about Noem’s plan. “We don’t have any guidance yet,” said math teacher Jenna Stephens in response to the initial announcement. Those concerns were allayed at a 3:30 staff meeting, however, where teachers learned they will be coming to work on Monday and Tuesday to develop continuing learning plans for students.

Contributors to this story include Andrew Garcia, Ethan Mann, Nathan Tippmann, Emily Hearn, Melia Braun, and Jared Smith.

Photo: SARS-CoV-2 from Wikipedia commons.