Written by Etta Corbell, 6th grader at Southfield School
- What’s a quarantine?
- Are we going to be OK?
- What happens if we get sick?
- What happens if my parents get sick?
- What about my friends?
As an 11-year-old, you can imagine that I had a LOT of questions.
It was mid-March, getting close to ending my 5th-grade year at Southfield School when we learned we were going to stop in-person classes and move to virtual learning. I’ve never experienced anything like this pandemic, no one my age really has, and with new concepts like social distancing, people wearing masks, panic buying (“who bought all the toilet paper?”), and many businesses closing, it was a little scary. While I missed being around my friends, attending class from my bedroom wasn’t a big deal. My teachers made it a little easier on us. They would do things to make us laugh during our zoom classes. They also allowed us to call or text them if we had questions about anything. It was definitely an adjustment for everyone so at least we were all going through it together.
Earlier in the year, I had finally convinced my parents to let me take English horse-riding lessons at Hidden Acres Equestrian Center. I’ve been wanting to do this almost my entire life, and I love horses (and really all animals in general). So, while I was free of being in school from 8 to 3, I did have a lot of work to do each day. But not having a structured schedule I was able to ride horses several days a week and still balance my school requirements. I was missing time with friends at school, but I was making new friends and improving every day in a sport I love.
The summer was interesting because two of my closest friends were moving away and I wanted to spend as much time with them as I could. Sure, you could say that technology makes it easier to stay connected, but I love to just hang out, listen to music, watch shows on Netflix and just be a kid. We did go to the beach for a couple of weeks, and I got to spend time with one of my friends that moved away so that was fun. I also was able to ride horses a few times while we were in Fairhope and had some great sushi!
I just started 6th grade and getting back into the school routine after having so much time “off” was quite an adjustment. I do have to say that Southfield School, (which I think is awesome by the way), has done everything they could to make things seem as “normal” as possible. I guess it’s true we’re just dealing with a “new normal.” Getting temperature checks before going into school, wearing masks, so much hand sanitizer, and all the other things we need to do to stay safe ourselves while making sure we’re being good citizens and protecting those around us. Another of the protocols is that our class is kept separate from the other 6th-grade class, meaning we don’t eat lunch with them and we can’t hang out and talk by the lockers, but I do understand this is to lower risk, so should someone become infected the entire middle school could operate but just that one class could move to virtual learning.
All in all, this has been quite the experience. I’m happy to be back in school, but I miss the way things used to be. I really hope we can get through this soon and things can return to normal, or at least another “new normal.”