Patriot Postponement

E-Learning related school closures and state-wide restrictions on gatherings have made spring activity plans uncertain for students and the administration

After it was announced on March 12 that Stevenson High School would be forced to close in response to the growing threat of the coronavirus, the likelihood of a number of the schools spring events, like prom and Spring Fling, were thrown into question. A few weeks later on May 8, the SHS administration announced the Green and Gold Plans, which rescheduled these events to either June or July respectively. 

With the May 6 announcement of Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker’s five-phase plan of reopening the state and the economy, the likelihood of these school-sanctioned events taking place is in question. The administration has previously stated through emails, and on their Facebook page that as things currently stand, it is essentially guaranteed that they cannot occur in June.

They can only take place when the Northeast region of Illinois reaches phase five and gatherings of over 50 people are allowed. Currently, this region remains in phase two, and the final phase can only be reached when a vaccine or treatment has become widely available. According to Student Activities Director Ted Goergen, there is still much uncertainty present in regard to the likelihood of prom and Spring Fling being carried out. He strongly believes that the five-phase plan will ultimately dictate how these events will return and take place.

The uncertainty surrounding these events has altered the plans for students of all grades, especially the seniors for whom spring events like prom and graduation were meant. To make up for this, virtual celebrations have since been planned on a local and national scale. Examples of this included Stevenson’s virtual graduation celebration scheduled for May 22 with graduation speakers Athena Kolli and Lauren Malenfant, and the nationwide Graduate Together broadcast.

Subha Somaskandan ’20 was one of many seniors who felt disappointed by the abrupt end to their final year in high school, but both teachers and extracurricular sponsors have found their own ways to say goodbye.

Things ended so quickly, and for club sponsors to send out memorabilia and cards that were so personalized, like handwritten notes, was so sweet,” Somaskandan said. “It’s something that still gives me hope and reminds me that we’re still building bonds with our teachers even without physically being there.”

All in all, students like Jesenia Parthasarthy ’22 seem mostly happy with the quality of the response the administration has provided to the rapidly-changing events. For example, the administration is still offering students many opportunities to interact virtually, such as online Zumba classes and virtual spirit weeks.

Underclassmen may not have missed as many events as graduating seniors, but the loss of Spring Fling and other activities has still affected them. Parthasarathy believes that these changes have given underclassmen a novel experience.

I think that even though we missed some school events, these months haven’t been all bad. The school and all programs have been understanding of our hardships,” Parthasarathy said. “They did the best they could considering this was the first time this has happened, and they reacted relatively fast.”

At the state level, officials are also unsure when quarantine will end and when the fifth phase will be reached, which is the only way large gatherings like the school’s prom and Patriot Palooza can be hosted. However, Somaskandan recommends that everybody take advantage of the time and experiences they still have.

“No matter how stressed you are,” Somaskandan said. “Enjoy it as long as you have it because you never know when it’s going to end.”