Students Start Term with Second Quarantine  

Over the summer it seemed to have been a mystery if we would return to school this fall due to the Coronavirus. Our school came up with a plan and successfully completed the quarantine process with zero positive cases and students attended in-person classes and teams trained without interruption 

Recently, we successfully completed our second quarantine process at Northwood to make it a safe environment for all of us to return and train for our sports. First and foremost, to return to school every student needed to get a negative PCR COVID test no more than three before arriving at school. Everyone had their own move-in time to ensure social distancing and no crowded hallways. Only students could enter the buildings with their belongings. Parents and other family members were not allowedAs soon as you got to school you had to head to the nurse and get another test before your quarantine started. As soon as you were tested it was time to head back to your room and let the second quarantine begin.  

This time quarantine was a little different from when we did it in August. The time period only lasted four days, and while quarantined in our rooms, we did our classes remotely. We were not allowed in our friends’ rooms during this time, and we had to wear a mask when we left our rooms to either use the restroom or go wherever we had to go. Our meals were all brought to our rooms and eaten there. We had organized outdoor times for each cohort to go outside and get some fresh air.  On the fourth day we got tested again and returned to quarantine until the results came back negative 

The next week, when all our tests came back negative, we split classes half virtual and half in person depending on cohorts. Hockey and snow sports went to in person classes together, and soccer and independents went together another day. We were also allowed to start grabbing our meals from the dining hall and eating them in small groups in our cohorts. After a successful week of half virtual and half in person, the next week the whole student body came together again for fully in-person classes 

Senior Ashlyn McGrath said, “Theres obviously nothing fun about quarantine, especially when you have a single. You’re isolated from anything and everything. It was lonely. But it was a lot better than the beginning of the year due to the fact that the quarantine period was shortened. I mainly just did workouts in my room and Facetimed my friends to pass the time. We also were doing online classes during it, so that helped pass the time a lot too. At the end of the day, I’d do it all over again if it ensured that everyone around me would be safe.”  

Since everything went well, it was well worth it to get back to having our classes in person and being able to train for our sports.  

Online Shopping Spikes with Covid

It is no secret that ever since the Coronavirus hit the average daily screen time has dramatically risen among all people, especially teenagers Stores and malls closing played a big role into thisresulting in a drastic increase in online shopping 

One of three shipments of packages to Northwood on a recent Monday in January (Photo: Mr. Paul Ellsworth)

According to CNN, “Ikea, which is best known for its cavernous, big box stores, reported a 45% increase in online sales over the 12 months to August.” CNN also says, “US e-commerce sales will increase 18% to $710 billion this year, research firm eMarketer estimated in June. Global sales will nearly match that pace of expansion, rising 16.5% to $3.9 trillion.”  

Companies like Amazon and UPS had to start hiring more employees just to get the packages shipped I know here at Northwood lots of online shopping was going on, especially during our two-week quarantine at the beginning of the year.  

Another trend that developed since Covid hit is Instacart. People didn’t want to risk leaving their houses to get groceries. Instacart is an app that delivers groceries directly to your house (or dorm)After thousands of small businesses hato close due to the pandemic, is appears that Instacart is here to stay. According to CNBCrecent demand for Instacart has been the highest in the company’s history and that customer order volume is up more than 500% year-over-year.” Once a privilege, the pandemic turned this service into an essential way of living overnightAccording to The Daily MailInstacart announced that a fresh round of investment had pushed the company’s value to almost $14 billion, as coronavirus forces more people to shop from home.” Instacart has become one of the most widely used home grocery delivery sources.  

Not only is Instacart a great source of delivery to families at home, but it is also used greatly at Northwood by the students living there. I know I use it countless times during the year to restock my groceries or if I want a certain snack.  

Pandemic Effects Mental Health of Student-Athletes 

Since March 2020, the Coronavirus Pandemic has been an ongoing series of unfortunate events. From social distancing to lockdowns of schools and businesses, the coronavirus has taken over our lives. 

Sports are central in the lives of athletes. Sports teach social skills and development, giving a healthy way to relieve and cope with stress and everyday life problems. From Little League to National Leagues, the Coronavirus has forced athletic seasons to be canceled. According to a recent study from Stanford University and Strava, a social network of exercise enthusiasts, “22.5% of professional athletes reported feeling down or depressed on more than half of the days of the week in the period between mid-March and August of last year, while COVID-19 restrictions on athletic training and competition were in place, compared to 3.9% of athletes reporting the same struggles earlier this year before the pandemic hit. That’s an increase of 477%.”   

It’s not just professional athletes affected by the pandemic. Even though Northwood students can train with their coaches and teams nearly every day, they have had very little competition in the form of games against outside opponents. Student-athletes at Northwood are suffering. Senior Rachel Hinkley says, “I know that Covid has effected us all, but it’s really hard not being able to play the sport you love. Watching others get to play while we can’t breaks my heart, and while I know it’s for our safety, it’s really hard having to sit on the sidelines when I’ve been playing hockey for fifteen years. While we can’t play games, I’m happy to be with my girls to keep me sane during these hard times.”   

Sports are a type of therapy and the bonds built by teammates are like a family’s connection, which is just one of the many reasons the game is loved by Rachel and millions of other athletes in the world.  Senior Ashlyn McGrath says, “not playing games makes me feel like I’m missing out on my senior year/season.” Throughout your hockey career you look forward to things like your senior night. It only comes once, and for some of us, it’s not coming at all. 

Northwood’s school psychologist, Ms. Tara Wright agrees that sports are important to the emotional well-0being of athletes.  “Diminished opportunity for sports has taken a toll on student athletes’ social emotional health during the pandemic,” said WrightAthletes derive multiple benefits from sports, which affect their mental wellbeing – physical fitness, goal setting and achievement, focus and mental training, and the social benefits that come from team sports. Even with more individual achievement sports such as ski racing or ski jumping, the group training aspect provides student athletes with significant social benefits,” she added 

Wright also noted that online learning exacerbates the isolation that students-athletes feel. “The Covid pandemic has left student athletes to adjust to online or hybrid learning for periods of time, reduce their ability to spend time with family and friends, and made athletic training and competitions fewer or altered to ensure social distancing,” said WrightThe teenage years are a time when students form significant bonds with their peers,” she addedWhile Covid has affected all teens by limiting their ability to socialize, the effect on teams has been particularly challenging.”   

It’s safe to say this is a very challenging time for everyone, especially the studentathlete population 

Photos of Northwood student-athletes enjoying the social benefits of athletic training and competition. (Source: The Mirror)

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