COVID-19’s Effect on BHS 

Freshmen+and+sophomores+eat+lunch+in+the+aux+gym+to+provide+more+space+between+tables.+Juniors+and+seniors+eat+in+the+cafeteria.+Additionally%2C+BHS+has+four+lunch+periods%2C+rather+than+the+traditional+three%2C+in+order+to+further+space+out+students.

Freshmen and sophomores eat lunch in the aux gym to provide more space between tables. Juniors and seniors eat in the cafeteria. Additionally, BHS has four lunch periods, rather than the traditional three, in order to further space out students.

Katie Tarnacki

Freshmen and sophomores eat lunch in the aux gym to provide more space between tables. Juniors and seniors eat in the cafeteria. Additionally, BHS has four lunch periods, rather than the traditional three, in order to further space out students.

In all of Brighton High School’s history, there has never been a school year quite like this one. COVID-19 has stripped the typically lively academic year down to just the basics- academics. Football season, Homecoming, pep assemblies, Powderpuff, Winterfest, concerts, sports team dinners, club gatherings, and the other extracurricular activities that go along with school have all been eliminated. 

This has taken a toll on students, including senior Sheldon Riley who said, “Wearing masks during school and under my helmet during football was definitely a weird feeling and uncomfortable but ultimately they are what allowed us to play sports and congregate in school. So, even though I didn’t necessarily like the masks I was grateful for them.”

The school’s scheduling changed to four days in person and one virtual day. Brighton’s virtual day takes place on Wednesdays, giving the students a makeshift break in the middle of the week. On Mondays and Thursdays, students will have an “odd” day where they go to hours 1, 3 and 5. On Tuesdays and Fridays students will go to hours 2, 4 and 6 as their “even” days. 

Although students were able to participate in fall sports they were far from being “normal”. There were no student sections permitted and each player had only two tickets they were allowed to give to family or friends to give them access to the game. 

“Varsity football games felt more like youth games,” said Riley. “With the little number of fans we had, it wasn’t the same feeling and rush of adrenaline you get during a normal year. The fans did their best to make it loud but without a student section it is close to impossible to make an actual impact on the game.”

Homecoming was not allowed to happen because gatherings were limited to a certain amount of people. The spirit week leading up to what would have been Homecoming was nonexistent due to the lack of a homecoming dance or game. Cancelations didn’t stop at the dance, though. With the restrictions, indoor and large group gatherings were not permitted without social distancing. Therefore, pep assemblies, the fall play, and the spring musical were cut out too. 

John Thompson, athletic director at Brighton High School, explained, “the hardest thing for me this year was working to keep myself focused on positive. Being the person to set the tone for our 150 coaches and 1,000 plus student-athletes. I have to keep my bad moments short so everyone can make the best out of it.” 

Looking on the positive side, the number of COVID cases is gradually declining as the year goes on. According to the BAS COVID-19 Case Tracker, the school district is reporting that Brighton High School has had 50 positive COVID cases during the length of the 2020-21 school year so far. Currently, about 1.41 percent of the student population is quarantined due to close contact with a COVID case. Of the 50 positive cases, none of them have been contracted from being in school. 

On Thursday, Feb. 11, Gavin Johnson, the main principal at Brighton High School, sent out a survey to the students that had been distributed to parents the night before. The survey was a chance for the students, parents and teachers to input their opinion on returning to a five-day week. The five-day week schedule would entail students to be in person Monday through Friday with block scheduling still in place. 

On Monday, Feb. 22, the Board of Education met and discussed the options and decided that the 2-1-2 schedule would stay in place with changes. Virtual Wednesdays will need to be “enhanced.” The new Wednesday scheduling will start on March 17. As of right now, the final decision as to what the Wednesday school day will look like is still unclear. 

As a final word from Johnson, he said, “I want my seniors to know we are trying to talk through and work out many different possibilities for them this spring. I have a plan for a graduation ceremony at Eastern Michigan University, if that doesn’t work I have a backup to that and a backup to that. 

“We are trying to figure out a senior prom and a senior assembly,” said Johnson. “Not all of these things will look the way most of us want them to, but we are trying our hardest to get the seniors one last high school memory.”