Stuck at home: Students detail experiences with COVID-19 at the start of the semester


Courtesy of Audrey Robinson

Students participate in an in-person physics class while one classmate joins from Zoom.

Zoe Damessous, Staff Writer

Following an increase in omicron cases during winter break, MSMS administrators reinstated the requirement of negative COVID-19 test upon students’ return to campus. Testing yielded numerous positive results, and students could not return to campus at that time and quarantined at home. While it was not required of them, some students requested to attend classes virtually, and most teachers made accommodations for them.

“I got tested after I developed symptoms,” said senior Kayla Riley. “My only symptoms were a sore throat and a cough; it felt like a cold, and I didn’t feel too sick, but I tested positive. I was on campus at the time, and when I developed symptoms, my mom told me to get tested. Then I had to go home.”

Other students also got unexpected test results quite soon before classes resumed.

“After I drove four hours up [to MSMS] from McComb, I got tested,” said senior Madelyn Phillips. “I was just chatting with my mom waiting for my results, and I got the phone call that would inform me. I also chatted on the phone with [the health care worker] for a minute or two, but she finally said, ‘Oh, by the way, you’re positive.’”

Following the news, students corresponded with MSMS administrators and were given medically excused absences. Some students whose symptoms were not severe contacted their teachers to inform them of their predicament and requested virtual meetings.

“Most of my teachers accommodated for me to be included in the class,” said senior Madison Johnson. “I think there was only one who didn’t make a Zoom meeting, but they emailed me with updates on what was done in class. So, that was good because I didn’t feel too behind.”

This brief return to virtual learning was quite reminiscent of the 2020-2021 academic year, since the majority of MSMS’s current students attended school via Zoom then.

“This was very similar to school from the past year, but I’ve grown from it,” Riley said. “This experience made me realize there’s only so much you can get out of Zoom University. You can only do so well to an extent through Zoom. It’s so different from teaching in person, and you can’t do the same in both.”

As a previously homeschooled student, Phillips shared a different view.

“There was a disconnect because there were more people in the classroom than online. In most of my classes, I was the only student online,” Phillips said. “I understand that it’s easier to talk to people in person than through a screen; however, I was homeschooled before I came to MSMS, and I watched most of my lessons at home.”

Students who have returned are happy their quarantine is over, saying it was not easy nor ideal to spend a few days of the beginning of the spring semester at home.

“It feels good to be back,” Johnson said. “I prefer being on campus way more than being virtual. This way I can see my friends, be engaged in class and exercise opportunities to meet with my teachers one on one.”