How the COVID-19 outbreak is affecting our community


COVID-19 Update_Twitter

Ethan Lee, Sports Editor & Business Manager

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has ravaged the United States for the past few months after its spread from its origin in Wuhan, China. Following Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer’s subsequent announcement of a statewide closure of all K-12 schools starting March 16 and lasting until the end of the school year, Portage Central students have been ordered to stay at home from school for their own safety. Students’ feelings were initially a mix of relief, boredom, satisfaction and perhaps a little bit of mockery from what could have been taken as an overreaction. Yet as time goes on and the current state of public health in America worsens, those feelings have changed to apprehension—and most worrisome, fear. 

The fear would, unfortunately, be somewhat justified. As of this article’s writing (April 21), the United States has surged to the top of the charts of infection, with 810,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 44,000 deaths. In Michigan alone, there have been 2400 deaths and 32,000 confirmed cases, all mostly centered in Macomb and Wayne counties on the east side of the state. Yet Kalamazoo County has also seen infection, with around 100 people testing positive. 

For Portage Central juniors and seniors, the newest revelation has been the impact of the virus on AP and IB testing. College Board, the creator of AP courses and tests, released a statement two weeks ago announcing that all AP exams would be tested online, composed of free-response questions and shortened in time. In addition, tests will be open note and content will come from a shortened curriculum for most exams. 

In a further step, IB has canceled all May tests for both full IB diploma students and students testing for college credit. In a March 23 email to parents and students, Central and Northern IB coordinators Eric Lancaster and Rick Searling, respectively, stated that “students will be awarded a Diploma or a Course Certificate that reflects their standard of work… based on a student’s coursework and the established assessment expertise, rigor and quality control already built into the program.” How colleges and universities will award college credit, and whether they do or not, has not been answered thus far. 

One of the most critical concerns of students that has disturbingly become more and more apparent is the quite likely chance of having major events in the future permanently disrupted, especially for the senior class of 2020. The annual Sadies Hawkins dance was canceled abruptly when school was in session, and now monumental events such as prom, Rideout, graduation and Grad Bash have suddenly been in jeopardy. In addition, the spring sports have either been canceled or postponed, striking another blow against seniors who looked forward to playing their last season. 


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