The Blessings of Covid-19

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(Credit: Adam Richins Photography)

Kate Novack ’24 and some of her classmates enjoy an in-person class in Room 11 while following Covid-19 guidelines.

While I look back on this unprecedented year of lockdown, I see there are many things to reflect on. 2019 and 2020 were hard years for every American. With the pandemic forcing us into isolation, I found that there were both positives and negatives to my “at-home experience.”

I can vividly remember the days following the Montrose 40th Anniversary Gala when we were in-person, maskless, and going about our normal days celebrating this momentous anniversary. On the car ride home one March day, there was an email in my dad’s inbox. Not to make you think that I frequently read my dad’s email, but when the subject line says “Montrose Closure,” it’s hard not to. 

I thought the next day was going to be the worst day of my life. I am a severe extrovert. I thrive when I am in class with my teachers and peers. I thought that leaving 29 North St. would make my soul almost shrink. Montrose is a warm, welcoming place that makes me feel absolutely amazing when I walk in. The questions running through my mind at the time were: “When are we going to return to school? When will it be safe to see my friends again?” and “What will my life be like without Montrose?” 

While the details of that day are now hazy, I distinctly remember three parts. The first being the inspiring speech Head of School Dr. Bohlin gave to the entire student body before we left. Her speech gave me the confidence and courage I needed to face the challenge ahead. The second memory I have is forgetting to bring a bag to carry all of my belongings home with me. Mrs. Howard, being the amazing person she is, had a large Home Goods bag that she gave me. I packed up all of my belongings and left Montrose for the next seven months. The third and final memory I have was the last hug I gave to one of my friends before we left. I knew that, with what I had heard about the pandemic, close contact would soon be obliterated, and I seized the last opportunity to have it. Being the amazing hugger that I am, I may have overdone it. 

While some girls I know say that life in isolation was not their favorite thing, I believe that it was a blessing. For example, I knew what both of my parents did for a living, but I never really got to see it up close. I learned that, in both of their professions, they help others in many different ways. My dad, a social worker, works to help clients who have disabilities. I was able to realize how grateful I am for both my own health and how amazing he is at his job. My mom, a regional human resources manager, addressed the hardships facing her office head-on with diligence and hard work. Both of my parents handled these challenges with tenacity and strength, and I learned valuable life lessons from them. I was also able to enjoy more time with them. If my mom was on a call with work, I would bring her lunch, and when we were all free we would eat together. My dad and I enjoyed evening walks, giving me time at the end of the day to stop, reflect, and re-calibrate.

The transition from learning at school to learning at home was, in my opinion, one of the easiest parts of this pandemic. Montrose, unlike other schools, responded so quickly and effectively to the ever-changing digital world . They had our “virtual school” up and running only one week after we were dismissed. In any other year, I don’t think that I would be performing Romeo and Juliet (with the famous kiss) over Zoom, crafting a Supreme Court argument about privacy with Alexa, or enjoying the daily twenty-four-seven company of my parents.

The pandemic has not been all positives though. The United States has now lost over 550,000 Americans to the Coronavirus. Some of my friends and their families have lost loved ones. I missed the opportunity of giving someone a hug and wishing my condolences in person. A note saying “I’m sorry for your loss” is just not the same. Throughout the pandemic, the families of these Americans, both those I don’t know and my friends, have been in my thoughts and prayers. I also pray that, with the vaccine, there will be an end to the sorrow and suffering we are all facing. 

I believe that when Montrose returned in the fall, we were a stronger, more confident community. I know many have already said this, but the 2021 Student Government theme of resilience has truly made Mavericks strive for their best and work through any challenge they face. While that cliche “because of Covid” is used as a way to show what we lost, I think it is also a way to show what we have gained.

Kate Novack ’24, Features Editor

24cnovack@montroseschool.org