Fear and Worry with Global Pandemic at Fort Collins’ Doorstep

Laylah Reyes, Contributor

“Anytime I cough, anytime I sneeze, I think Coronavirus,” said Brooke Golden, a 9th grader at Rocky Mountain High School. As the World Health Organization announced on Wednesday that the COVID-19 outbreak is officially a “Pandemic,” people are in widespread panic.

Recently, as COVID-19 or more commonly called “The Coronavirus,” a respiratory virus that attacks the lungs and respiratory system very harshly especially for those of age 60 and above or those with autoimmune diseases, has been spreading and increasing the death toll daily for countries; students, parents, and community members are fearful and worried that they might catch it.

“They were looking at those around them and in their eyes, I could tell they were wondering does the person standing next to me have it. They would keep their distance from others and roam the aisles looking for what they needed. If they didn’t have what they needed they would say oh well or just go onto the next aisle,” said Naomi Cabrera, a PSD parent, and mother of four describing her experience while shopping at her local grocery store.

Sandra Smyser, the superintendent for Poudre School District sent out an email on Wednesday night discussing the possibilities of if and when they might shut down schools due to COVID-19, but that so far they plan on keeping schools in session.

“Current circumstances demand that we take steps to be as prepared as possible…there are NO plans for a closure following spring break at this time. We are doing everything we can to proactively prepare and respond to this changing situation, Mrs. Smyser said in the email.

Many colleges and schools like CSU and CU are going online for their classes and extending spring break for their students. Trini Borunda, a Sophomore CSU student talked about the school’s precautions and how it has affected her while also changing her everyday habits.

“Recently CSU declared all classes to be online from after spring break until April 10 so in a way, I’m spooked; also I am taking precautions by keeping a bottle of alcohol on me and spraying anyone who sneezes or coughs in my perimeter with sanitizing alcohol,” she said.

While others are perfectly fine with going into online classes and courses or the possibility of it happening many students are feeling at a loss for words. Either feeling like they won’t be able to get the work done without help or motivation, or the idea of no human interaction with classmates, teachers, and friends.

“I won’t be able to get anything done if we go into online. I am motivated when I am in a classroom and at school rather than at home where I have no motivation,” said Matthew Cabrera, an 11th grader at Rocky Mountain High School.

Brooke Golden was furious as she discussed how she felt and would feel if an online school setting were to take place, “I have to leave my house or I’ll go crazy, I need to see my friends or I’ll go crazy I NEED TO DO SOMETHING or I’ll go insane… I just can’t stay at my house for weeks, I just literally can’t.”

As many try to prepare for the worst, parents, teachers and students feel anxious and scared for what may happen next and hope for better and brighter days to come during these frightening times.

UPDATE from PSD: Poudre School District has made the difficult decision to extend spring break for all schools for March 16-27. To be clear, all PSD facilities and schools will be closed for the two weeks.