SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Lincoln High School senior Grant Graber bluntly reviews what quarantine was like.
“You know, it really wasn’t that fun,” Graber said.
He credits his teachers, though.
“My teachers did a really good job of keeping me updated,” Graber said. “All, they put all the assignments online on Google Classroom or through email, I could, I Zoomed in to my anatomy class.”
He didn’t test positive for COVID-19, but he did miss out on a high school tradition.
“It was homecoming week, and I got sent home on Thursday, I couldn’t come to school on Thursday, so I missed the football game and the activities that we do on Friday,” Graber said. “So that was kind of, that was a bummer, but I would rather not spread the disease than go to homecoming.”
He belonged to the homecoming court, but in a 2020 twist of fate, had to watch it from afar.
“It was disappointing, I’ll be honest,” Graber said. “But it’s just one day, it doesn’t, it’s just a fun activity, it doesn’t really define who I am.”
Out west, Rapid City Central High School freshman Rowan Hibbard wasn’t diagnosed with COVID-19, but she did have to navigate distance learning.
“It was hard at first, because it’s really easy to miss assignments, like scroll past them and not see that they’re there, and that was a big thing for me is like, I’m a person that’s really on top of my assignments,” Hibbard said.
She feels fortunate to have reliable internet access.
“I’m lucky for that, ’cause I know there’s like a lot of people that don’t have that, but luckily for me I’m able to connect to the Zooms really well and be able to access everything,” Hibbard said.
Watertown High School sophomore Jaxson Fiechtner has also had to take time away from school.
“I got quarantined for two weeks myself and then the school got quarantined for two weeks before that, so I’ve had four weeks of quarantine total,” Fiechtner said. “So it’s been a lot of online school, but I think it’s been easy for me.”
Easy, he says, because he already takes classes online. He, too, wasn’t diagnosed with COVID-19, but it has impacted his experience.
“You’re only in high school for a few years, and I play soccer, and four of my games got cancelled when we were in season because of COVID, obviously,” Fiechtner said.
Who could blame him for being somewhat frustrated?
“I’m a little frustrated, but there’s nothing you can do about it, so I guess I kind of just gotta move on,” Fiechtner said.
“It’s been a little bit more difficult than prior semesters, and it might just be the classes, but I think it’s mostly not being able to be in school 24/7 has been a little bit more difficult for me,” Watertown High School sophomore Katherine Pfaff said.
Pfaff wasn’t diagnosed with COVID-19, either. But their classmates Erika Stadheim and Gabbie Hibbert were each diagnosed with the disease.
“I wasn’t able to do school for probably four days just because I was so tired and I didn’t have a motivation at all, and I really just needed to take time to focus on me,” Stadheim said. “But then when I got back to school I was able to catch up really easily, so that was good.”
“I had a headache, and I was really tired,” Hibbert said. “So like some things, I’d get stressed out when I did have it, that I needed to get work done, but overall I caught up.”
Students in 2020 have had their worlds dramatically changed. KELOLAND News asked Graber if he feels like he was robbed or unfairly lost certain experiences.
“I don’t know if ‘robbed’ is the word I would use,” Graber said. “It is a little disappointing I would say that we can’t have like a formal dance or even a homecoming dance. It feels like we … it’s disappointing but you work with what you have.”
“I just hope that we can stay in school if we can and just be able to get through the rest of the year, and be able to go, mostly go back to normal, because I miss everything that we used to be able to do for school, like dances and stuff, and I wish that we could go back to that,” Stadheim said.