Corona Virus Concerns Rise, Students Walk Out

Corona Virus Concerns Rise, Students Walk Out

Catherine Adams ('21)

On Friday March, 13th, students at RMHS had school, while several surrounding towns did not.  With the number of cases of coronavirus in Massachusetts climbing and a high number of student and teacher absences, hundreds of  students walked out of the school at approximately 10:30 AM.

The morning of the event was a gloomy day with rain and the “Friday the 13th” feel.  The day before, students described it as something out of a movie, with the world changing in unexpected ways due to concerns over the coronoavirus.  The NBA had suspended its season and many school districts had announced cancellations. “It was like we were living in this alternate reality, where something just felt off,” one student told me.  

On Friday, during the first period, everything still seemed different. Students noticed the abundance of absences just after the first bell rang. It was rumored that about 600 students were absent and about 33 teachers were out. These numbers are not verified, but it was clear that absences were high, and this in itself alarmed many students.  

Surrounding towns of Winchester, North Reading, and Wakefield had already cancelled, as there were confirmed cases of coronavirus in some of those towns.  Fear of the unknown is the best way to put it as students were simply unaware of the risks. While some students may have just wanted some days off of school, others were concerned that this virus was already spreading and people were unaware of its severity.  

Whatever their precise reasons, some students took action and used social media and word-of-mouth to suggest walking out after second block at 10:30.  So at 10:30 students started to leave the building. 

Whatever their precise reasons, some students took action and used social media and word-of-mouth to suggest walking out after second block at 10:30.

Administrators and teachers were present in the halls but not actively trying to stop students from leaving.  Principal Boynton did address the school over the intercom to acknowledge that many students had left and to stress that anyone  seeking to leave from that point forward should do so through the office and with a call from parents. To the Orbit’s knowledge, this walkout was respectful and students were aware of what they were doing.  

Many students at first liked the idea of no school, but realizing that they were not allowed to leave their homes made students mad.  One student, Jenni Wheeler (‘21) said, “At first I was excited to have no school, but now I am eager to be back at school as I am worried about the work I am missing and I am bored.” 

With no school until at least May 4, it is clear that students are a little bored and stir crazy.  But, there is also the side of this that people have not highlighted. The fact that most families, businesses and corporations are affected.  

The Orbit will soon give updates on this pandemic. The Orbit also sends out our sympathy to those families struggling right now.  Everyone is in our thoughts. Stay safe and healthy.