Virus, time out of school have brought big adjustments

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The coronavirus pandemic has affected people's lives, but how many changes will people stick with after quarantine ends?

BY PURBALITE STAFF

Senior Gavin Wieckowski’s parents made him quit his job at the Brentwood Giant Eagle grocery store because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I was really worried whenever the virus became a bigger threat and school closed, because it meant I might not be able to work at Giant Eagle anymore. My parents made me quit eventually,” Wieckowski said. “It’s sad, because I don’t get to see the people I work with anymore.”

Junior Matt McWilliams, though, has kept his Giant Eagle job.

“I wash my hands probably 50 times every shift and I just focus on not touching my face at all,” he said. “You have to look out for customers who spit a lot when they talk. I just have to keep my distance from them.”

Wieckowski and McWilliams are far from alone in having to make changes in their lives due to the onset of the coronavirus. With school shut down, cancellations or postponements of all activities, and many students having their work hours cut, the past two weeks have brought a lot of adjustments for Baldwin students.

The spring musical, The Addams Family, has been canceled, which has been a big disappointment for the cast and crew.

Sophomore Erin Hampton said she is upset that she won’t be able to perform in her first musical at the high school.

“I’m sad that The Addams Family was canceled because everyone had put in so much hard work and it was going to be a very good show,” Hampton said. “I am glad we got the time together that we did, though, because it was such a fun experience.” 

Spring sports, meanwhile, are in limbo, which senior lacrosse captain Emily Rauch said has been tough.

“I think this situation has been hard really for everyone, a bit more for the seniors, though, because we are missing the opportunity to finish our high school lacrosse careers off as strong as we had hoped,” Rauch said.

Rauch misses constantly being around her team, but noted that they have been staying in contact over FaceTime, through Snapchat, and even by making a Tik Tok together. 

Most lacrosse players have been keeping busy by practicing their stick work at home, but Rauch thinks that younger players may be missing out on crucial learning experiences this season.

“I do feel this time is harmful to the new players, as they are not able to learn or practice the setup of full games,” Rauch said. “Some skills can only be taught through contact with other players on a field setting.”

Cheerleading tryouts for the 2020-2021 season have been delayed, which could be detrimental for a year-round sport, cheerleaders said. But sophomore Ryan Bigley believes the team can easily overcome this setback.

“After this break, I think the team will be ready to get back in the gym and start practicing again,” Bigley said. “I think it will also motivate us to work even harder because of the time constraints we might have.”

Senior Logan Hails was originally excited about the time off, but soon realized how little there really is to do. 

“I’ve been doing a lot of spring cleaning and going for walks outside. I’ve watched movies, pinned things on Pinterest, done face masks — anything to keep myself busy,” Hails said. 

Senior Jen Renk also has made adjustments. Like a lot of students, she is trying to make the most of her unexpected free time.

“I work part-time as a piano instructor and at Dunkin’ Donuts. I can no longer teach lessons, and I haven’t been able to work many shifts at Dunkin’ since only the drive-thru is open,” Renk said. 

So to pass the time she said she has “been working on a lot of random art projects and started learning embroidery and how to sew.”

Junior Juliana Fedorko, who also has not been able to work at her job at Panera Bread, said she’s been learning some important life skills in her time off.

“I’ve figured out how to cook and bake, which is surprisingly fun,” Fedorko said. “I’ve been eating a lot healthier because I have more time to make good meals, rather than getting fast food or eating microwave food.”

Junior Brina Davic has had a similar experience.

“I have been spending a lot more time outside, whether it’s walking my dogs or exercising. I see so many more people out in my neighborhood than I ever had,” Davic said. “I also watch a lot of Netflix to pass the time.”

Junior Elena Zandier has been trying to keep busy, but acknowledges that it has been a difficult time.

“So far I’ve been spending as much time outside as possible and playing so many board games with my family,” Zandier said. “I’m also currently working on a 2,000-piece puzzle. I’m kind of upset about missing school because it’s stressing me out.”

Adding to the stress for some students is the uncertainty about SAT and ACT testing dates, and the fact that the Advanced Placement testing format has changed to a 45-minute test to be taken at home.

“I’m pretty mad about the SAT and ACT because I was planning on taking the ACT April 4, which has been canceled,” Zandier said. “I’ve been practicing and studying for it since January.”

The beginning of online distance learning on Monday at Baldwin will bring more changes for everyone. But for these past two weeks, some students have seen the time out of school as a chance to slow down their busy lives.

“Having all this time is honestly just more time to focus on hobbies,” sophomore Ashish Kharel said. “Not having the stress from school is kind of a huge relief, despite the pandemic going on.”

Because of the break, Kharel finds more time to do activities he previously did not have time for.

“I get more time to do things I actually enjoy,” Kharel said.

Staff Writers Lindsay Bonetti, Cassie Snyder, Grace Hampton, Victoria Dicesare, Pratiksha Timsina, Erin Fader and Madison Houser contributed to this report.