New Students and COVID-19

Megan Liu and Anya Liu

COVID-19 has had a huge effect on the Burroughs community. Whether it be through our sports, classes, or just our general structure of life, there’s been a lot that we’ve had to adapt to. But throughout these countless changes, most have had Burroughs friends and teachers to lean against, with the knowledge that everyone is in this together. When many returned to school through hybrid learning, there were groups of friends to huddle with (at respectable distances) and discuss the incredulous circumstances. Now, looking around the hallways and classrooms, newly designed to fit social distancing guidelines, everything feels different, yet it’s still the same, familiar campus that has been here for years. However, this raises the question — what about the new students of Burroughs?

Picture this. Imagine being isolated from almost everyone and everything you know for months, with your only modes of communication being your cell phone and a laptop. Now, after almost half a year of this isolation, you’re thrown into an unknown environment for eight hours a day, surrounded by people you aren’t familiar with. Although they’re all very kind and thoughtful, there’s really no way of creating close bonds with them, not six feet apart from each other nor over a Zoom screen. All the while, you’re balancing the pressures of adapting to both a Covid-style learning system, an entirely new campus to familiarize yourself with, the stresses of a polarized social and political climate, and the growing distances that seem to appear between you and old friends. 

All in all, it’s kind of rough. Even in a strictly structured classroom with all classmates organized six feet apart, a new student can still feel out of place. Unfortunately, there is no enforced school rule or policy that we can implement to help these kids integrate into such a tightly woven school community. There most likely will not be a sudden disappearance of Covid-19, especially when Missouri’s cases are reaching new heights. Sadly, we can only hope that this transition will come soon and hopefully comfortably. For now, encourage small talk over lunch, discuss school work or sports in the commons, or offer to study together in the library. Although reaching out like this might make you feel awkward, or uncomfortable, these efforts are going to be remembered and appreciated. New students, encourage yourselves to be open and trusting with these new faces. It may be especially hard this year, but it is important to trust the process and know that all will come in due time.