I’m sure if your reading this, that you’ve probably heard of COVID-19 by now. COVID-19, or more commonly known as the Coronavirus, is an RNA virus that was first discovered in China, before spreading across the entire world in a matter of weeks. It is extremely contagious, its most common symptoms can be confused with the normal flu, and someone can spread the virus without having any symptoms. Luckily, COVID-19 is rarely ever lethal, as it only kills people of old age, or people with underlying health conditions. But this hasn’t stopped the virus from impacting our schools and businesses. Today, I’ll be going over how COVID-19 has dramatically slowed down Holyoke High School, and Holyoke’s businesses as a whole.
First, let’s talk about how Holyoke was before this pandemic started. After interviewing my older brother about how his retail job was like before COVID-19, he had this response; “Very time oriented, with multiple tasks throughout the day, with the type of task depending on the time of day. Need to manage time and people properly to get the job done.” As he described it, business took a lot to get done, but was overall still manageable. I believe the same can be said for HHS, while it can take a lot out of students and staff alike, it was still possible to get our work done.
But now, COVID-19 has entered the picture. Since March of 2020, Massachusetts schools were shut down at the beginning of the second semester, and all nonessential businesses soon followed. As of the time of doing research for this article, students are now finishing up their school year online, and while Holyoke businesses have been reopening, they’re not functioning at full capacity. As stated by Hector Molina, in a WWLP news article; “Offices that are opening back up will only be allowed up to 25 percent capacity and all employees will need to maintain six feet of social distance.”
During the state lockdown, several small businesses have suffered, and now have to catch up on lost revenue. But as for how COVID-19 is affecting HHS students, it depends on who you ask. As I said earlier, students now have to do their school work online. For students like me, who aren’t used to doing this different brand of school work at home, it’s quite a tough challenge. But as I found out when interviewing my twin brother about this, some students actually prefer this new way of learning; “It’s a much more laid back variant of learning, compared to regular school at least. Right now in Zoom meetings, teachers and students are being more casual, and feel more connected with each other, which would be a good thing to keep as school starts up again.”
Overall though, this COVID-19 pandemic has really slowed down the progress of Holyoke’s businesses and schools. Nonessential stores have to make up for 3 months of lost sales, and getting used to online schooling can be a learning curve for some students. But how will these two parts of Holyoke work when the pandemic is over, and how normal will they be? Well in my opinion, I think we’ll have a slow, gradual change to normal business, and this quote from a WWLP news article, written by Katrina Kincade supports this; “In-person shopping in stores won’t happen until phase two of the state’s re-opening plan. Customers should call ahead to ask retailers what their process for curbside pick up looks like.”
While it is obvious that businesses, and schools will focus more on health standards for the foreseeable future, having a semi-normal Holyoke is definitely possible. Yes, we should all try to wear something to cover our mouth and nose when out in public. Yes, we should all try to wear some kind of gloves when shopping at a store. And yes, if you are sick, you should stay home and isolate yourself. But if we can go through all of that, and stay diligent; The goal to make Holyoke normal again, isn’t that far away.