Echo Allen, the student representative to the Evanston Township High School Board, spoke at this week’s virtual board meeting about the impact of COVID-19’s sudden disruption of the school year on students at the school.
Here’s what she had to say:
“Students are continuing studies while we’re battling boredom, senioritis and difficult circumstances in this time.
“Students usually are able to walk to the next period class on autopilot, but now every day holds something completely unexpected
“Luckily Zoom was already downloaded on Chromebooks, and that was an easy transition for classes for a lot of people, as well as social use.
“Students have been able to socially distance and also be interacting with another person, and that’s been really fun.
“Support systems also really important right now for students. Obviously a lot of families are out of work or students are the ones working in their family.
“There’s a lot of babysitting of younger siblings and family members while also doing school work.
“There have been amazing support systems that have grown out of this, like coaches reaching out to students, old teachers reaching out to students.
“The Friday song is a favorite of students. The Hub makes a new video every week. And obviously the lights on Lazier and all that other stuff to celebrate seniors was really appreciated by students.
“Some cool other things that are going on — students have been excited to help out each other during this time.
“ETHS students, alumni, families and Evanston residents have worked together to make like mutual aid organizations, like Evanston Aid, as well as over 40 students participated in making 2,000 notes for each food bag that was distributed at community centers for Evanston students and their families, which was great to get so many students involved and be reaching out to other students.
“Obviously a big thing is closure for seniors, because nobody really knew that it was going to be their last day of high school.
“People are definitely grateful that the administration — Dr. Campbell and Dr. Witherspoon — have been making it very clear that if it’s possible there will be prom and there will be graduation.
“But there’s a lot of question marks for seniors especially about the future will hold, what post secondary plans will look like for people, so definitely a lot of hanging in there for seniors.
“And finally, social distancing can make us all feel isolated. But I hope that we’re able to look beyond the six feet and see the amazing people smiling back at us with open hearts and doing a lot of really amazing work.”