“Dear COVID-19” by SLHS Seniors


Alianna Elliott-Carrillo

Owen Downs wrote a short letter to COVID-19.

Alexandra Pawlitz, Editor

Well, the time has come for the class of 2021 to say farewell to St. Louis High School. Unfortunately, as much as they would’ve liked for their senior year to be normal, COVID-19 had other plans for their senior year. 

Starting with the beginning of fall, homecoming was pushed off and eventually cancelled due to the amount of COVID-19 cases in the school. Instead of homecoming, SLHS hosted a “faux homecoming” but it wasn’t the same as the usual homecoming celebration. The fun assemblies that normally took place in the gym during homecoming were also cancelled to avoid the spread of COVID-19. 

Football games limited spectators and the players only participated in six games due to the COVID-19 restrictions for close-contact sports. This meant the usual big homecoming football game would not take place and this further discouraged the seniors. 

All the sports that took place during the 2020-2021 school year suffered some kind of changes with the guidelines. The sports that took place inside were required to limit the number of spectators to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Even though outdoor sports are safer than indoor sports, the amount of spectators were limited as well. Most events were limited to two spectators per athlete and this caused a lot of frustration among the seniors.

All sports were required by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) guidelines to wear a mask, regardless of if it was an outdoor sport or not. Even though masks are required during practices and games, the MDHHS decided that spring sport antigen testing would take place once a week for all athletes. 

Additionally, some major events such as prom and graduation were changed to fit the guidelines of COVID-19 protocols. For example, prom was hosted by the parents of some seniors instead of by the school. When SLHS sent out an email to juniors and seniors regarding prom and the essential mask wearing along with social distancing, barely any responses came through and in return, the school cancelled the prom. Even though the turn out wasn’t as many people as normal, the juniors and seniors still managed to make prom memorable for all who attended. 

Now, graduation is normally held in the high school gymnasium and family members of the graduating seniors are required to sit within the chairs located on the gym floor. However, the class of 2021 have had to adapt to current situations,and graduation will now take place on Wheeler Field with family members sitting within the stadium bleachers. Along with being outside, each graduate is limited to inviting only eight people to watch the graduation. 

In normal times, graduates are allowed to pick a fellow graduate to walk with during graduation. Instead of walking with another student, the graduates are now required to walk together from the high school to the football field. Once they cross the bridge, the graduates will split into a single file line and receive their diplomas in order.

A couple of SLHS seniors discussed their experiences with COVID-19 in way of a letter written to the virus. 

Owen Downs commented, “You came unexpectedly into our lives on March 13, 2020. It was on a Friday when we received news that you’d be shutting down our school. What was expected to only be two weeks of quarantine ended up turning everyone’s life upside down. No one ever thought your outbreak would ever get to the point it’s at now, but now we’re here. I want to give sorrow and sincereness to the families that have been affected by your hand. You have caused mass death all across the world, but now scientists have made a vaccine to get rid of you. Life won’t be the same as it was before the outbreak you created, but the people who come out of it will be strong and able to endure anything thrown at them. 

Downs is very thankful for everyone working in the medical field who work to defeat COVID-19. He continues, “I give thanks to all people who are fighting everyday in hospitals trying to save so many lives, and the people who are working hard to keep the world going.”

Autumn Bradbury wrote, “You have taken so much away from me, and I could go on and on about it. However, you have also given me challenges that have made me a better person. You have presented me with tough decisions that have helped me grow. Most of all, you helped me get a sneak peek about who my real friends are and who will stay in touch. So as angry as I am with you, I also want to thank you.”

Logan Abell mentioned, “A lot of people, including myself, hate you for MANY reasons. However, as a result of you, many people left their comfort zones and experienced new things; such as trying a new sport, learning a new talent, enjoying nature, or even sleeping in more. Regardless of your impact on a global scale, you HAVE changed some things for the better.”

Jennifer Brown commented, “You messed up my entire life and yet, you have been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. My future has changed now, and it’s for the better. So while I hate how this past year has gone, I’m thankful for what has occured.”

Chloe’ Baxter included, “I’ll be honest; you messed up a lot of stuff. It felt like my junior and senior years of high school would be completely ruined. Later on though, I found that while things were a little weird, I was grateful for the time of reflection you gave me. You allowed me to decide who I wanted to be and gave me a break from normal life in order to become that person. So, overall, I really do hate you quite a lot, but I also have to thank you for the opportunities you provided for me to find myself. Feel free to leave now though.”

Even though COVID-19 has been a hassle throughout the school year, seniors have still managed to make their last year at SLHS memorable and have taken the disadvantage and turned it into something meaningful.