Opinion: Governor Northam made the call too early


Max Klingensmith

Governor Northam made an announcement Monday, March 23 to close schools for the rest of the year. This leaves juniors stressed about college preparation and seniors without a sense of closure. (Photo Courtesy of Max Klingensmith via Flickr)

Fernanda Molina, Editor-in-Chief

On Monday, March 23 Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced that schools in the state would remain closed for the rest of the academic year. The news took many students by surprise and caused much worry among juniors and seniors.

“School closures are necessary to minimize the speed at which COVID-19 spreads and protect the capacity of our health care system,” Governor Northam said.

The Virginia Department of Health said Tuesday that 290 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Virginia. Therefore, I understand Governor Northam’s decision was made in order to help alleviate the spread of COVID-19 and keep students safe, but the call to close school was made too early. 

In an announcement to Virginia on Monday, Governor Ralph Northam stated:

“We all need to take care of each other from afar, but social distancing is the only solution.”

“We are in this for months, not weeks.”

However, according to the Social Science Research Network, the countries with an average temperature greater than 64.4 degrees Fahrenheit make up less than 6% of the global coronavirus cases.

Thus, the number of cases of COVID-19 should decrease as the weather gets warmer, but maybe that is just me being optimistic. Either way, the situation of this pandemic could be totally different in May or June than it is now. So why make the call to close schools for the rest of the year so early?

As a senior, making this call so early breaks my heart because now my senior year will not be anything like I anticipated after all these years. 

After having attended past class graduations, it is sad to know that I might not be able to walk across the stage in June or celebrate with my friends at prom. Although I don’t play a sport, other seniors are disappointed to have their spring season sports canceled.

From the first day of school, May and June are the months all seniors look forward to. We pushed ourselves all first semester knowing that all the fun begins later. Spring sports begin, we prepare for prom, and all the senior activities take place.

On the other hand, the closure of schools also brings much worry to juniors preparing for college, with SATs to master and transcripts to perfect.

Additionally, this is the time when many juniors schedule campus tours to narrow their college list and impress admissions with their in-person visits. By contrast, spring athletes planned to show off to college recruiters, while other students planned to be the leader of different extracurricular clubs to boost their admissions chances.

The closure of school leaves many juniors frustrated for the future and seniors without a sense of closure. 

The situation with this pandemic could be different in May and June than it is now. Making this decision set in stone in mid-March does not seem right.