Letter to the Editor: Perry Schwartz
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Letter to the Editor: Perry Schwartz

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Letter to the editor,

The date is March 13, 2020. Everyone around the country is preparing for distance learning, thinking that it will last a few weeks. Little did I think that it would be the last time I would see my teachers and my friends for my junior year.

The Class of 2020 got their proms and graduation parties taken away. I have several friends in the Class of 2020, and I know that they did not deserve what they got taken away from them. As a member of the Class of 2021, I ask myself “Will I even get to have a graduation?” I hope I do. “Will I get to have a graduation party?” I hope I do.

My school year was already delayed by a week. I was happy about having an extra week of summer, but also disappointed that my senior year already got off to a rocky beginning.

My school is doing a blended learning option, but I will be doing the in-person choice for now. I do feel hesitant going in person because I don’t know what could happen. I am disappointed that my senior year will not be as normal as other senior years prior to COVID-19. My senior year will be a historic one for many reasons, but what I will do is make my senior year the best that it will be. My school has implemented rules such as having lunch outside, requiring masks, and enforcing social distancing as much as possible. They also are requiring every student to bring their own water bottle instead of using the water fountains in the hallway.

Luckily, I go to a private school with less than 300 kids. But seeing pictures of a crowded hallway at North Paulding High School in Dallas, Ga., and the senior girls’ picture at Etowah High School in Woodstock, Ga., made me feel glad I don’t go to a public school. The smaller the environment, the safer I feel, but I still take precautions seriously.

What I am most upset about is that I will have to leave my friends in a year. I grew up with a lot of them, and we had so many memories together. Will I even get to say goodbye? I’m praying that I do.

Being a Jewish high school student during coronavirus is also going to be difficult in terms of observing Yom Kippur and being a part of the world’s largest Jewish youth group, BBYO.

I have observed Yom Kippur every year since fourth grade, but last year was the first time I actually went to synagogue for Yom Kippur. Now, I have to do Zoom services. In other news, my youth group, BBYO, is having almost everything online at the moment. Virtual conventions, programs, etc. Our biggest gathering of the year is the international convention with more than 5,000 teens usually in attendance. It was scheduled to take place in Philadelphia over President’s Day weekend, but Philadelphia is now prohibiting all major gatherings until the end of February 2021.

I am keeping my hopes high for everything that a senior should have, but ultimately, we will have to see what happens.

Perry Schwartz, Atlanta

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