Coronacation: My Experience With School and COVID-19

I really can’t believe that it started out as somewhat of a joke. People I knew were talking about “coronacation” and how other schools in the area were cancelling for a few days. I was actually jealous of them. At the time, a few days off school sounded really awesome. It was the middle of March, the doldrums of no days off or early releases. You have to tough it out until spring break. Everyone wanted the school to close. I wanted a few weeks of vacation.

Then, out of the blue, school was dismissed halfway through a Thursday, and we got Friday off as well. I kept telling myself that I shouldn’t be celebrating it, considering why school was being cancelled, but it had the pleasantly surprised feeling of a snow day. An unexpected half day and a day off? Who could argue with that?

Then school got cancelled for the next two weeks. It was like a winter break in March, where a winter break was sorely needed. The district had finally gotten its “coronacation”. I spent my days drawing, writing, playing video games, and watching movies. I was telling myself that I should enjoy this surprise vacation as much as I can, because the two weeks would fly by and I would be back in school and back to the normal routine of the week before I knew it. I texted with my friends about what they were doing.

“Hey, what have you been doing during coronacation?”

“I woke up early this morning to go to school, but then I remembered: coronacation!”

Then school got cancelled for the next month. By then, I was starting to get a bit stir-crazy at home. I had barely left the house or seen any of my friends in-person since school was cancelled. I was getting really tired of seeing my parents and little sister all day. I kept thinking back to all the things that I did a few weeks earlier that I couldn’t dream of doing at that point. A week before school got cancelled, my friends and I spent an afternoon at Market Street. Two days before school got cancelled, I went to the Batchelder School with the Book Club to read books to first graders. The day before school got cancelled, there was a huge basketball game at the TD Garden. I had wanted to go to the student-faculty basketball game that was supposed to be after school the day that it got cancelled. Everything changed within the blink of an eye, and I, like most of the world, was beginning to realize just how bad the pandemic was getting. A month into the cancellation, I wanted to go back to regular school and a regular routine.

By the time April was over, the district had created a remote learning program designed to get students to the end of the school year. At that point, the truth was clear: the quarantine was not going to last for a few weeks or a month. I finished my last term of freshman year fully remote and have completed my first term of sophomore year fully remote. The “coronacation” concept had completely shattered, and what was thought to be a blessing of days off turned into a curse of being trapped at home, unable to hang out with friends, play sports, or go to school normally. I had started the pandemic celebrating all the time I had on my hands, and now I’m here, still in the midst of it, wanting more than anything to go back to the way it was in the beginning of March.

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Emma Galbraith

Emma Galbraith is the Editor of Arts & Culture at The Deliberator. In her free time, she likes to read books and research how humanity can solve climate change.

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