School Closes For Remainder of the Year

As the coronavirus worsens, Governor Mike Parsons orders all schools in Missouri to close for the reminder of the school year

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Francis Howell Central High School sits empty during the COVID-19 quarantine.

Francis Howell School District will be closing it’s doors for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic school year as part of an order handed down from Governor Mike Parsons closing all schools for this time period in the state of Missouri. Spring sports and activities in high schools have also been ordered to cease. Francis Howell Central Activities Director Scott Harris commented on how, despite the sorrow felt by him and the faculty, they are understanding that it is necessary for the general health and well being of the community. 

“While we are very disappointed that our student-participants did not get a chance to compete or participate in their activity, club or sport this spring, especially the seniors who will never get to participate and represent Howell Central again, we do understand that the safety of our students and their families is the number one priority right now,” Mr. Harris said. “Hopefully the plans that the health officials have in place will allow them to control this virus and things can return to normal sooner rather than later and we can come back to school on time for the next school year.” 

Though the in-person school year has ended, the virtual method of teaching is set to continue. In an email written by superintendent Dr. Mary Hendricks-Harris, the district details that a new schedule, making the school week four days, will begin April 20. This week will be Tuesday through Friday, with Monday being a work day for teachers, a change from the previous schedule the district had been working on. Additionally, the district plans to continue distributing food to families who have a need for it for the foreseeable future and distributing chrome books to students who require them up to April 24th. Administrators at FHC have distributed more than 200 computers, according to Assistant Principal Dave Stofer.

Many students are understandably upset about the way in which events have unfolded concerning social distancing and the virus, especially the seniors who do not get to spend their last quarter with beloved friends and teachers. Senior Mary Wachtel expressed her sadness over not being able to say goodbye to the special people in her life who have watched her grow during her time here, even though she understands the necessity. 

“It’s heartbreaking that this year is supposed to be closure with your friends who’ve seen you become the person you are over these four years and with the teachers who’ve been your inspiration and your second family and you don’t get a proper goodbye. I’m happy that we’re safe, I’m just very heartbroken that I don’t get to see my teachers everyday and I don’t get to properly say goodbye to the people in the school I love,” Wachtel said. 

Senior Eli Allen feels as though this comes from inadequacy in the government’s response to the virus. 

“I personally feel that the end to my senior year, a culmination of over a decade of public schooling, is a direct effect of our government’s inability to take the needed action months ago,” Allen said.

Senior Aria Lynch feels that because of the tragedy surrounding those suffering the from the disease and their families, she cannot express the pain of losing her senior year.

It hurts but it’s necessary so I understand. But what’s awful is feeling like you can’t complain or be upset for the loss of senior year which is supposed to be so special, because someone else has it worse.”

— Aria Lynch

“I’ve watched all of my cousins and siblings graduate over the years and was so excited for [my graduation] since I’m the baby of the family. I’ve always looked forward to senior year and especially the end, so for this to all happen now feels like some cruel joke to me. I write all the time but I haven’t been able to find the words until recently. But it always comes out the same. It hurts but it’s necessary so I understand. But what’s awful is feeling like you can’t complain or be upset for the loss of senior year which is supposed to be so special, because someone else has it worse. Like I understand that and I’m praying for everyone who’s affected but it doesn’t make it hurt any less,” Lynch said. 

Teachers such as Mr. Patrick Reed who have taught students all year long also lament the loss of the rest of the school year, their final weeks with some of their students. 

“Throughout this whole thing, I’ve been very stoic overall. I saw it coming. I’ve tried hard focusing on what we have, not what we’ve lost. I’ve focused on finding new ways to teach and engage, not lamenting the loss of the climatic parts of my class (we put in a lot of tedium to get to the gooey, fun center of the course… and that’s gone now).  I’ve enjoyed wearing zero ties. However, an hour ago I was responding to a parent email indicating I could do a one- on- one zoom interview, thanking them, and then, out of nowhere I started complimenting their child and realizing that I’m not going to teach them, interact with them, and watch them complete their journey in the way I’m accustomed,” Reed said.