By Natalie Mowbray, ’22
For most of us, the Coronavirus pandemic seemed surreal at first and it was a difficult concept to grasp. It prompted unanswerable questions about when it would end and what would happen next. More than a year since cases hit the region and we went into lockdown, we have grown accustomed to this new way of life. We no longer question the new guidelines and restrictions to our past way of life (although we eagerly embrace any signs of a return to normalcy). As this shift has occurred, many people had a singular moment in which they realized that this coronavirus was going to be a bigger threat and have a larger impact than any of us could have anticipated. For many Hanover High students, that moment was tied to the shutdown of school and sports in March of 2020.
“I was getting ready for Spanish class when I remember hearing about everyone saying that their afterschool sports were cancelled,” one student recalled. “I couldn’t believe it.”
The reality hit home for another when school was shut down for two weeks. “Once we went into a quarantine, I had a feeling that we would not be going back,” she said. That two weeks became four weeks, and then, as the student had feared, the rest of the year.
The HHS boys hockey team can collectively agree when they realized the virus was a big deal. It was the day their state championship game at the TD Garden was cancelled. First, they’d heard there would be no fans allowed, but when the entire game was called off “not only was it a huge disappointment,” one player said, “it was a wakeup call that this new virus was going to change our way of life.”
HHS teachers had their own moments of realization. For many, it was during the staff meeting March 12, 2020, when they learned the evening session of parent-teacher conferences would be cancelled. Teachers were instructed to take home what they might need in case the shutdown lasted a few weeks.For others, it was the first time they used Zoom and glitched through an awkward conversation with a class they hadn’t seen in weeks.
Some students and staff say the moment happened outside of school, when they saw all the empty shelves at the grocery store or first picked up takeout from a deserted restaurant.
At this point, most students have gotten used to walking into HHS with their masks on and socially distanced from others. But it’s interesting to look back on our thoughts as the pandemic descended upon us. Reflecting on these moments of fear and realization, it’s easy to understand how hard it was to fully fathom such an unprecedented and scary situation.