Featured Stories, High School, Main Menu, News — April 14, 2020 at 9:06 pm

COVID-19 ends senior year early

These two girls can’t wait to go back to normal after the outbreak of COVID-19. Photo credit: Hailey Rudd

High school seniors Hailey Rudd and Haley Schaefer are experiencing the last bit of high school differently than they would have expected. Experiencing the first of many lasts is what the final year in high school is known for.

Before the Coronavirus (COVID-19) hit, the girls had a fairly normal everyday life. Working at the same after-school job and belonging to the same friend group, they could not have been more excited to wrap up the school year.

Fast forward to spring break and things took a turn for the worst. Like many seniors in high school, they planned a spring break trip to Mexico, and it was all they were looking forward to for months. However, when it came down to travel, COVID-19 became more serious of an issue.

“We just thought everyone was being ridiculous, because we didn’t see firsthand what was going on,” Schaefer said.

While on the trip, their focus eventually went back to the concern of COVID-19 after they got an email from their community college where they were doing full time Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) college classes.

“We got an email saying that we weren’t going to have school for a few weeks,” Schaefer said, “I was texting my Mom a lot about what was going on and she said it was crazy in Minnesota.”

They took precautions early, even not knowing how severe COVID-19 would get in Minnesota.

“My mom was texting me the whole time when I got to the airport the first day,” Rudd said. “She said ‘you better be washing your hands and making sure you are safe.’”

Soon after, Rudd was shocked about how quickly COVID-19 was changing plans for people around her as well.

“My mom was saying how my sister’s spring break probably wasn’t going to happen because things got was more severe,” Rudd said. “I was like ‘Oh my gosh,’ I did not realize it would get so crazy so fast.”

While in Mexico, it was normal not to social distance and the girls continued to go out and explore while on vacation. Traveling back to Minnesota, was when it was evident that COVID-19 was a big problem. 

“While we were there, it didn’t seem like a problem until we got back,” Schaefer said. “In the airport on our way back we noticed some people wearing masks and gloves. When we got back to Minnesota they had a lot of questions like if we were feeling sick or anything.”

COVID-19 canceled classes statewide for high schools and colleges in mid-March, which led to not making the remainder of senior year “normal” for the girls. With the stay at home order recently extended to May 4, it comes close to end of year festivities, including graduation ceremonies.

“Not being able to walk for graduation and wear the cap and gown scares me because I’ve been looking forward to that for ever, and the fact we might not get to do it scares me,” Rudd said.

Prom was also cancelled, being one of the more memorable events for high school seniors they usually enjoy. Schaefer was extra sad that they would be missing this dance in particular.

“For me, this is the first year I was gonna go with someone that I actually liked,” Schaefer said. “I was really excited for prom because I’ve never [gotten] to do that.”

It may be the ending to a senior year no one expected, the girls are trying to see the light while in quarantine.

“Hails and I always FaceTime our friends and play games on FaceTime like House Party to try and stay sane,” Shaefer said. “Sometimes we’ll have car parties where we can just talk to each other through the windows.”

Spending most of their time together before quarantine, the girls felt the same about how they would celebrate once the stay at home order is cleared.

“I would see go see Hailey,” Schaefer said.

“I agree, I would go see Haley, and hopefully go get Chipotle, do something fun,” Rudd said.

The girls plan on being roommates while attending Minnesota State University Mankato this fall. 

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