BSM: A Covid Year in Review

Not only has the Covid pandemic ravaged many areas of the world from a macro standpoint, it has affected communities. Workplaces, homes, faith communities, and schools were all turned upside down by the pandemic. Benilde-St. Margaret’s and its students have been remarkably flexible in their approach to navigating these trying times. Here is a look at the feelings, actions, and adaptations of BSM students throughout the past year. 

December 2019

During this time, BSM students feel the same way about this as they did about the fires in Australia in the same time frame: concern for those affected but not fearful for themselves. Covid is not yet seen as a threat to the United States, let alone BSM students. 


January 2020

Covid is appearing more and more on students’ social media feeds. It is becoming less and less of a distant spectacle, especially when the first death occurs. Although students are still hopeful that the novel coronavirus can be contained in China, but it is becoming less and less of a certainty. When President Trump instituted a travel ban, it forced students to realize the immensity of what was afoot. 


February 2020

In February, the threat of Covid became real for BSM students. It is beginning to become an uncontrollable freight train, destined to ravage the United States in just a matter of time. This is not lost on BSM and its students, who are beginning to think about what this means for the future. Many conversations are taking place at BSM regarding future actions. “What if it gets to Minnesota?” This was all happening at breakneck speed and by the time Covid got to the United States,  students knew that it was not a matter of if this will sincerely affect their lives, but when. 


March 2020

March is when it all went down. The first covid case in Minnesota came March 6th and shortly after, BSM was shut down. This was a surreal time for students; it was unlike anything they had ever experienced. Their lives had been turned upside down in a matter of days. Not only could they not go to school, but they were unable to gather, participate in activities, or go pretty much anywhere. Luckily, BSM was more well equipped for this time than most other high schools. Not only was each student outfitted with their own laptop, but BSM had also previously set up an online school system for snow days. The first version of Extended Online School operated very similarly to that of snow days. Teachers posted the classwork in the beginning of the day along with video help and students were expected to complete it. This was challenging for many students for whom physical learning is especially important. However, it was better than a complete education shutdown. 


April 2020

April was when Covid truly began to take its toll on the students. Not only were spring break plans with friends foiled, but most students were unable to see their friends altogether. Their lives have been uprooted. Their favorite activities are shut down. The only silver lining of all of this was that many students picked up a new hobby to pass the time. Some took up cooking, playing an instrument, various arts and crafts, or running outside. It was vital for getting through this time to find something fun to do to take their mind off of the happenings of the world. One other factor that helped many students was a change in the method of online learning. Extended Online School (EOS) 1.0 proved to make learning difficult for many, so after spring break, BSM integrated a new method of online learning, EOS 2.0. EOS 2.0 included mandatory Google meet class periods and a much more traditional learning format. This gave a much-needed shred of normalcy in otherwise trying times. 


May 2020

It is said that April showers bring May flowers, but that was certainly not the case with the pandemic. In May, BSM seniors went to school for their final day–online. This was certainly an anticlimactic end to their high school careers and was a difficult way of saying goodbye. As for the rest of the students, they carried on their EOS 2.0 until the end of the school year.


June, July, and August 2020

Summer fun was not quite the same in 2020, as with most things. When BSM students got out of EOS, the end of the school year was not as jubilant as in normal years. Now what? Summer travel was most likely out of the question, and there were very few things to do. So BSM students did what they do: adapted. Many flocked to the great outdoors, where they could safely and responsibly partake in activities that did not include sitting on the couch watching Netflix. Toward the end of the summer, many spaces started to open back up, including gyms. It was not a normal summer by any means, but BSM made the most of it. 


September 2020

September brought the start of the most uncertain school year in BSM history. Many students would be going back to school, but it would not look normal. Block and hybrid schedules were new adjustments for students in the early fall. As for activities, fall sports were canceled in late August, so the early school year was devoid of the normal excitement of fall sports. However, they were brought back at the end of September, a glimmer of hope in trying times. 


October 2020

In October, students had gotten into the groove of hybrid learning and were cruising along in their studies. Although spending every other day at homemade learning trying at times, sometimes the comfort of being able to roll out of bed and join zoom made it all worthwhile.


November and December 2020

 Nearing the holidays, students began their second quarter classes––it was an unusual source of interest to get new classes in the middle of a semester. Otherwise, hybrid learning was feeling more and more normal for students, and BSM kept its Covid levels relatively low. The holidays were marked by the abnormality of few gatherings, but still offered some solace as the tumultuous year of 2020 neared its close. 


January 2020

As vaccines are beginning to become available, the focus for students has shifted to getting through the (hopefully final) stretch of Covid. 


February 2021

Third quarter started, bringing new classes and new challenges. However, with the opportunity to change cohorts to be among friends, quarter three appeared to offer some normality.


March 2021

BSM has announced that it will be having all students back at the start of fourth quarter! This, combined with the announcement that vaccines will be available to all people 16 and older starting at the end of the month, have made it appear as though we are through the worst of it. That was quick!

Covid offered the opportunity to adapt education for difficult situations. It was certainly not all bad: the introduction of zoom means that students who are sick can still come to school–in a way. However, BSM students will surely be happy to all meet in person once again!