A New Chapter

The new school year has many wondering if life will ever be the same


Keaton Frye

Questioning Reality: With many still masking, it can be hard to tell if life is truly back to normal. This year poses more questions than it answers.

Returning to normal means something different for every one of us. For some, normal means painting your face, putting on a special outfit, and cramming yourself into the student section. For others, normal means finally getting to act in front of an audience or walk in the Homecoming parade. The return of such positive events excites many of us, but are things actually back to the way they were?

To put it simply: no. Covid cases in St. Charles County have been trending upward since late July, and students at FHC continue to be quarantined. According to the FHSD Covid dashboard, in just our first month back at school, 226 Spartans have had to quarantine. As much as we may want to put it all behind us, we can’t ignore our family, friends, and fellow Spartans who continue to get sick.

The real problem with returning to normal, however, is not case numbers or quarantines, but the trauma associated with such a major life disruption.  It can be incredibly difficult to transition from staying distant and masked to being in big crowds maskless. For me, the transition has been anything but smooth. The school events that used to bring me joy now leave me feeling uncomfortable and overwhelmed.

This problem can be seen across the student body. Freshmen and sophomores who never got to truly adjust to high school are being thrown into school without a lifeline. Virtual students have to adjust to crowded lunchrooms and hallways after not being at school in over a year. It’s not easy.  

We are all coping differently. Some of us go to every game and event possible to fill the void last year created. Others rely on time spent at home to recuperate. The bottom line is, this year is not normal, and neither are we.

The question we should be asking is: do we actually want things to go back to the way they were? The past couple of years have been marked by misinformation, division and stress. We were too naive; we never thought this could happen. Our best path forward is not to cling to the past. The past that got us into this mess. But instead, use what we’ve learned over the course of this past year to make things better.

Wearing masks, washing our hands regularly, distancing ourselves from others, and staying up-to-date on the latest guidelines and statistics are not just Covid protocols, but tools we can use to prevent spreading illness in the future. By continuing these practices, we can stop viruses old and new from infecting others rapidly, and by extension, we can save lives. 

Sure, it sucks that things won’t ever be the same, but it allows us to make sure this never happens again.