Passing time during the pandemic

Students, staff find ways to avoid boredom


Ethan Smale

When his teacher gave him time to do something outdoors during class, junior Ethan Smale headed out to the trails behind his house in downtown Utica.

Oliver Gamez, Editor

Living through the COVID pandemic has students attending classes through online Teams meetings at home, where many can’t see their friends, participate in their favorite after-school activities, or be an active member of a club.

While most have been open about their difficulties adjusting to the change in social and travel regulations, others have embraced it. For some, all the extra time at home has taught them to focus more on family and how important it is to take a break every now and then.

“I’ve enjoyed my extra time at home since this all started,“ teacher Melissa Rice said. “It’s given me opportunities to focus more on my health and spending time with my family. But there was a few times that I felt our summer was incomplete without being able to enjoy the traveling experiences we’ve grown accustomed to in the past.”

Many have also found themselves outdoors more than usual.

“Most of my friends live at least a few miles away so I didn’t really have a way to see them during the summer,” sophomore Alex Schmit said. “So I started biking to the park closest to my house. After going out so often I realized that I really love biking now, I’m really glad I got into it.”

While many have found themselves spending more time outside and with family, others picked up hobbies that require more concentration than just enjoying someone’s company. Artistic hobbies, like cooking and painting, have been on the rise since the start of lockdown in early March.

“I started doing really intricate paint-by-number books,” senior Brooke Budd said. “It’s really time consuming and gives me something new to do. Now that I can’t see my friends as much.”

For others, though, normal activities never stopped, and everyday life after school continued. Some athletic teams even continued traveling throughout the summer.

“Nothing has really changed for softball,” junior Sophia Leming said. “The only thing that’s weird is that we can’t shake hands with the other team.” 

Although Utica Community Schools has announced the return of face-to-face learning on Nov. 9, the recent rise in COVID cases has students wondering whether they will need to continue to find their own entertainment, or if they will be participating in their favorite school activities.

“Being the head of the debate team,” senior Mena Murrani said, “it would be really beneficial for us to meet in person regularly again. It’s hard to debate when we’re all online, but being safe is more important.”

Students will be able to return to Utica High for co-curricular programs starting Oct. 26, including organizations like HOSA and CSI and MST, and beginning Nov. 9, students will return to face-to-face learning twice a week.