Jesuit Chronicle

Opinion: We Should Not Open Up Jesuit

A few months ago, I would have agreed that school should be back in session. This opinion was not backed by any research but simply a selfish musing. School has been closed since March 2020 and we have now endured almost nine months of quarantine and isolation. While I would love to return to school to see my peers and be able to participate in typical senior year activities, I know it is not safe.

With COVID-19 spreading so rapidly, the idea of returning to school is in the far future. While masks, home room lunch periods, and health screenings are necessary precautions, they would only limit the spread.

The requirement for students to wear a mask at all times may be helpful, however, there is no guarantee that masks will in fact stay intact through the school day. Students will need to remove their masks to eat and drink and often masks are removed in restroom settings. Teachers cannot be watching students at all times and we do not have the resources to ensure that masks stay on during school hours.

However, even if students keep their masks on at all times, studies show that masks are not 100% effective. In an article published by Stephanie Pappias titled “Do face masks really reduce coronavirus spread?” the effectiveness of different kinds of mask is explained.

“CDC also does not recommend surgical masks for the general public. These masks don’t seal against the face but do include non-woven polypropylene layers that are moisture resistant. In a surgical mask, about 70% of the outside air moves through the mask and about 30% travels around the sides,” Pappias wrote. “That leaves fabric masks, which currently are recommended for general use by the CDC. Fabric masks also allow air in around the sides, but lack non-woven, moisture-repelling layers. They impede only about 2% of airflow in.”

No matter what mask is worn, there is always some airflow that is let in. As Stephanine Pappias explains, you may be at a lower risk depending on which mask you choose to wear, but the underlying fact is that masks do not work all of the time. The only method that is proven to be 100% effective is to stay at home.

Masks are to be used as an add on for safety. It is a common misconception that masks are the only precaution that people must take. Stephanie Pappias elaborates on this.

“‘Putting a face mask on does not mean that you stop the other practices’” Pappias wrote quoting Assistant Director of Public Health in the Office for Science and Technology Policy May C. Chu.  “‘It does not mean you get closer to people, it does not mean you don’t have to wash your hands as often and you can touch your face. All of that still is in place, this is just an add-on.’”

At school it will be difficult to maintain a reliable distance from every student or faculty member that you will pass through the day. As May C. Chu stated, it is not enough to just wear a mask, you must still maintain social distances.

In an ideal world, masks always work. Even so, students are still at risk once they leave school and are exposed to those who are not following CDC protocol. While you may think that you are interacting only with your “bubble,” your bubble is often larger than you think. If even one person interacts with someone without their mask who is not in your bubble, they could risk contracting and spreading the virus.

There is also a large opinion that even though we are not able to go back to school that we should be able to participate in sports. In my opinion, we should focus on getting back to school first. With constant motion (and in some cases physical contact) it is easy for masks to slip while in close proximity, not to mention athletes need to lower their mask to drink water. In the event that an athletes mask does slip while they are infected with the virus, they could spread it to their whole team, who will then likely spread it even further. This fact is evidenced by the numerous college football games that have been cancelled due to COVID-19.  While I am disappointed to potentially be missing my track season, as I am sure many other students are, it is too risky to even practice.

Of course, I realize that the greater majority of high school students are young, healthy, and will not be deeply impacted by the virus. This is not the reason to take precautions. Many students live with or frequently come in contact with those who are at high risk. I visit my grandparents often and know because they are compromised, I need to be extra careful. Even if you don’t, someone you come in contact with might so it is important to always be cautious.

The only way it is safe to return to school, sports, and all other activities is when there is an effective vaccine that is easily accessible. Without one, an airborne virus is too difficult to contain with a group of people as large as a high school. I know that everyone wants to return to school, but right now, it is not safe.



Live Science

Opinion: Let’s Open Up Jesuit

With Christmas break fast approaching, Jesuit is rounding the corner on it’s ninth month of digital learning. I think it’s time to return to in-person learning.

With COVID-19 raging throughout the United States, it seems impossible for schools to remain open. In addition, Oregon has been having record high case counts recently, the most being on December 4 when over 2000 people tested positive. So why would I think that Jesuit, along with other Portland schools, should open?

I think that kids should be in school not because the danger of the virus is low. The coronavirus is a very dangerous virus, and as a community we need to take it seriously by social distancing and wearing a mask. But, that does not mean we cannot go to school safely if the correct measures are put in place.

In other places, students have already returned to the classroom for in-person learning. For example, schools in New York City closed just last month after being open for almost eight weeks. Despite cases rising back up to their April highs in the state, elementary schools will return to hybrid learning on December 7. And outside of the states, as the city of Toronto, Ontario entered its second lockdown in November, schools were one of the only places to remain open, while bars and restaurants closed (New York Times).

So what does this mean? Why are all these different places reopening their school doors while Oregon has kept theirs shut? Simple, other places realized that schools are not the cause of spread; the state of Oregon has failed to see that.

I went to Washington Square Mall the other day, and it was a packed house. Although masks were being worn throughout the building (by most), I had to dodge my way through the crowd to keep my distance as much as possible from others. But, as I was doing it, I had a moment where I stopped and looked around at the mayhem and thought, “Why is this allowed to happen? Why is this mall allowed to be open at seemingly maximum capacity while our schools, who would take the necessary steps to reopen safely, are not allowed to open?”

Not only am I calling for a reopen to schools, but so are prominent health experts. The CDC Director, Dr. Robert Redfield, said during a press conference that schools need to be open because they are not what’s causing the spread.

“There is extensive data that we have…[that confirms]…K-12 schools can operate with face-to-face learning and they can do it safely and they can do it responsibly,” Redfield said (C-SPAN). “The infections that we’ve identified in schools when they’ve been evaluated were not acquired in schools. They were actually acquired in the community and in the household.”

Not only is the CDC director on my side, but even Dr. Anthony Fauci said that to slow case rates, bars and restaurants should be closed and schools should be open.

“Close the bars and keep the schools open,” Fauci said. “If you look at the data, the spread among children and from children is not really very big at all, not like one would have suspected” (Business Insider).

But what about those who are immunocompromised or who are seeing immunocompromised people? Or what about those who just don’t feel comfortable returning to school? For those who don’t feel comfortable returning to in-person learning, an option of online learning should still be available for them. This would allow each student to decide when they would like to return to in-person learning, appeasing those who are both for and against it.

Again, I would like to reiterate that I am not downplaying the severity of the virus. My family and I have been following CDC guidelines to the T, and I also have grandparents that I visit with a mask on, so I would not advocate for a return to school if I didn’t believe that we could do it safely.

While I understand concerns expressed by individuals who may not feel comfortable returning to in-person learning, national health experts have recommended that we do so, and I think we should listen to what they say.



New York Times: How Toronto Plans to Keep Schools Open Amid Its Second Lockdown

New York Times: New York City to Close Public Schools Again as Virus Cases Rise



Business Insider

2020 Happened – Let’s Think Positive For 2021


Image courtesy of Avni Sharma.

Packed with an eventful and stress inducing Presidential Election, protests, an ongoing pandemic, and the sight of smoky skies in September, 2020 has been quite the rollercoaster. Though bad times come and go, the long anticipation for widespread use of the vaccine prolongs this nightmare-ish year from ending.

The end of a significant year prompts one to reflect on the high and low points. For Jesuit students, the past nine months are synonymous with isolation, stress from school related activities, and various personal struggles. 

“[2020] had a lot of ups and downs,” sophomore Gabriella Feleciano says. “It has been the shortest and longest year in a sense.”

Pushing students to their academic, mental, and emotional limits, the current arrangement of a hectic school schedule paired with extracurricular and other commitments made the year progress slowly, yet fast. Everyday occurrences—such as meeting friends, or going out to dinner—pass off as a luxury, too dangerous to be afforded. These measures have impeded students’ ability to maintain close friendships, and have deprived one’s ability to appreciate simple joys in life. 

That being said, unhealthily dwelling on the unfortunate events of the past year won’t help us heal from it; Neither will ruminating about pre-COVID life improve the current quality of life. According to an article written by Dr. Summer Allen, looking ahead with a positive outlook holds more significance in the healing process than reminiscing about how things used to be. 

“Besides helping us make decisions and reach our goals, there is evidence that prospection may improve psychological health more generally,” Dr. Allen says, “Taking time to simulate and enjoy a positive experience in advance—whether it be an upcoming meal, visit with friends, or vacation—can allow you to derive lasting benefits for the experience.” 

Many students at Jesuit have already begun to utilize Dr. Allen’s positive-thinking findings to keep their motivation and drive during this time. 

“I’m working through everything with as positive of a mindset as I can muster,” sophomore Caitlin Thomas says. “I recognize that I am given the opportunity to still be here, to enjoy life. I hope 2021 will be a year of peace and productivity for us all.”

About the Writer
Photo of Avni Sharma
Avni Sharma, Staff Writer

Avni Sharma is a current sophomore at Jesuit High School. She enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics, from music reviews to current politics. Though...

F.D.A. Approves Pfizer Vaccine. Will People Take It?

Pictured above is a cartoon version of the COVID-19 vaccine

After nine months of quarantining in the United States due to the coronavirus, the F.D.A. has finally approved Pfizer’s vaccine. But will the efforts of the drug makers pay off with a willingness from people to take it?

With the vaccine being approved Friday December 11, anti-vaxxers have taken to social media to express their grievances. On Governor Kate Brown’s Instagram page, @oregongovbrown, users criticized the vaccine on one of her recent post.

“Our family will not utilize a product where the manufacturer is completely free from all liability, especially one that has not gone through proper safety testing and sent via Warp Speed to the marketplace,” one user commented.

“In 10 years there will be commercials saying, “If you received the COVID Vaccine, you may be eligible for compensation, call Jones Law,” another said.

While some on social media have strongly expressed their stance of being against the vaccine, many Jesuit students said they would be willing to take it.


“I’d be pretty willing at this point. The rates of it being effective are pretty high. I would like to look into it a little more, but I’m pretty willing.” –Astrid Foster: Junior

“I’d definitely take it as long as they prove that it’s effective and safe. I take the flu vaccine every year so I don’t see how this would be any different.” -Stella Anastasakis: Junior

“I would take the vaccine because I have no opposition to not taking it. I think that especially people who are allergic to vaccines it’s important for us to take that responsibility.” -Julie Pham: Junior

“Yeah I’d be willing to take it because although it may not be a hundred percent [accurate]…it works.” -Patrick Rau: Junior

The first shots were given on Monday December 14, just a few days after approval (CNBC). The first to receive it will be frontline healthcare workers and those at long term care facilities. While it may seem like only weeks separate Jesuit students from receiving their vaccines, Dr. Anthony Fauci says that April will be the month when those not in high priority groups will receive their dose.



New York Times



About the Writer
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Anton Baricevic, Managing Editor

Anton Baricevic is a proud editor for the Jesuit Chronicle. As a member of the class of 2022, Anton decided to take Journalism because his sister Mia,...

Pro-Con Opinions: Should we go back to school?


Photo by MChe Lee on Unsplash

Gwynne Olson and Anton Baricevic offer opposing opinions about whether or not Jesuit should return to school?

Long-Form: Traveling Amidst the Pandemic: How to stay safe over the break


Eric Mclean

Pandemic Hotspots

Dear Charlie: An Advice Column with Charlie Crusader



Writing a letter brings joy to those who receive it, and it highlights the joy of giving during the holiday season.

Dear Charlie,


I am a junior, and though I was excited to become an upperclassman this year, I feel lost. My homework keeps stacking up, there is pressure to think about colleges, and I feel like I’m not taking on a big enough leadership role in the community.


Junior year is supposed to be the year I come out of my shell and become more independent. But now, I’m stuck at home stressing about all the work I haven’t done. Help!




So Much To Do, So Little Time


Dear So Much To Do,


In the words of Billy Joel, “Slow down, you crazy child!” As a junior, it may feel like the year to make your mark at Jesuit. If you are feeling motivated, go for it, but during the holidays, Admissions Director Erin DeKlotz recommends a simple six step plan to help you relax and take the pressure of success off your shoulders. 


“Breathe, move, rest, laugh, give, pray, and connect,” DeKlotz said. “I know when I’m stressed, I find myself holding my breath. Focus on breathing deeply. If you’re on your couch all day, stay physically active, even if it’s taking a walk. Get enough sleep. Try not to watch the news too much. Give back to your community.”


Deklotz said that practicing gratitude is also another big part of her life. She advocates for journaling, and making a habit of writing down one item that she is grateful for every day, like a warm blanket or a cup of coffee.


AP Psychology and Macroeconomics teacher Malia Bernards is a big believer in staying active, not only physically, but mentally.


“Challenge yourself to learn something new, something you’re interested in that has nothing to do with school, whether that’s sketching or baking or learning to cook,” Bernards said.


As the year comes to an end, focus on making connections, rest before the new year, and focus on your health. That will help you reach your goals of making your mark when the school year starts back up.






Dear Charlie, 


I am a freshman, and high school is a bit overwhelming. I wanted to do really well in my classes at the beginning of the year, but I’m kind of burnt out after a crazy year of COVID, wildfires, and quarantine. I thought high school was about meeting new people, going to dances, and taking every opportunity, but I am the only person from my school to come to Jesuit, and I feel very isolated because I don’t know anyone.


How can I make connections with new friends?




Down and Out


Dear Down and Out


Making connections can be tricky, but it is a natural, and necessary, part of life, one which is especially important during not only a pandemic, but also the holidays.


“Swallow your pride,” DeKlotz said. “Be brave. Try randomly reaching out to people and see what you get. Don’t worry too much if you get silence. Maybe someone said something in a Zoom class that you appreciated, and you could text them and let them know that you appreciated their comment. I’ve heard people say it meant the world to them when someone reached out and texted them. Don’t underestimate the power of small acts of hope that you bring to other people.”


Theology teacher Sara Salzwedel mentioned some ways to reach out to family members of close friends during the pandemic-themed holiday season.


“Write letters to friends,” Salzwedel said. “Think about people to whom you could tangibly send something in the mail. I think anytime we start to go beyond ourselves, having those brief moments of respite where we put our focus on someone else I think really does help.”


Salzwedel and Bernards agree that the holidays are a time to check in with ourselves. 


“Just remember to take care of yourself first,” Bernards said. “We teachers are more concerned about [students’] health and well-being. Get outside and get some fresh air. Reach out for help. It’s okay to be vulnerable. Everyone is vulnerable right now.”


It may be difficult to begin your high school career like this, but take care of yourself, reach out to people, and surround yourself with people and things you love this holiday season.


Don’t forget to reach out to old acquaintances. Touching base with friends, catching up on Zoom, or even getting together while socially distancing can make your season that much brighter.






Charlie encourages you to talk to a counselor or trusted adult if you have any concerns.

Writing a letter brings joy to those who receive it, and it highlights the joy of giving during the holiday season.
(Steele )
About the Writer
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Steele Clevenger, Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director

Sarcastic. Artistic. Enthusiastic. These are three words Steele Clevenger would use to describe herself. A senior at Jesuit High School and a veteran journalism...

Administrators update parents on COVID-19


Parents were invited to attend an online webinar, during which Jesuit Principal Paul Hogan and President Tom Arndorfer discussed updates on the coronavirus pandemic, and how it affects the Jesuit High School community.

Hogan and Arndorfer began with a prayer for veterans, thanking them for their service. Following the prayer, Hogan and Arndorfer discussed the school’s plans regarding the coronavirus.

Arndorfer said he wishes that students were back on campus, as he feels that the social, academic, and emotional aspects Jesuit provides are best served in person. However, he said that the school will continue to make appropriate accommodations for those who wish to stay home or come to campus for extracurriculars.

For students to return to school, two measures, put in place by Oregon Governor Kate Brown, must be met. The first measure states that in Washington County there must only be 50 or less new COVID cases per day per 100,000 people in a two week period for students to return to school. Currently, that number is 190 new COVID cases per day per 100,000 people.

The second measure is the test positivity rate. Currently, in Washington County, the test positivity rate is 10.2 percent more than twice as high as the necessary percentage to return to school, which is five percent over a 14-day period.

According to Arndorfer, students and most teachers will be staying at home through semester one. Hogan reminded parents to keep their teens at home to protect those with underlying conditions.

Hogan and Arndorfer encouraged parents to ask questions during the webinar. One parent asked if there were any creative ways to bring the students back to campus.

Hogan said that although students will need to stay home for the next few weeks by order of the Governor, he says he hopes to move into a hybrid schedule later in the school year. As part of a hybrid schedule, half of the student body would attend school in person on certain days, and the other portion of the student body would attend school alternate days.

One parent asked: what is the administration planning for the senior class? The administration plans to offer the PSAT, ACT, and SAT tests for current juniors in semester two. Additionally, Hogan announced that seniors were working with Jesuit’s college advisors, and that those advisors would reach out to juniors beginning January 2021.

Semester exams, which are usually given in the final week of each semester, will occur during regular 80-minute class meetings. Teachers have been encouraged to develop a range of cumulative semester assessments that students can take remotely.

If students were to come back to campus, one parent asked, what would lunchtime look like? Hogan says that because students will need to remove their masks to eat, they may be spread out into large areas, such as Gedrose Center, and locations outside.

“We hope to face the problem of finding places for students to eat, as that would mean our students are back on campus where they belong,” Hogan said.

Regarding the Food Drive, the annual holiday event where the Jesuit community collects food for underprivileged families, faculty, staff, and students plan to meet on December 7 to drop off food. This will be one of a few drop-off dates, as the number of people on campus will be limited. The alumni food drive will also proceed this year, though food drop-off dates are still pending.

Sports are still taking place on the Jesuit campus, though Hogan and Arndorfer both believe academics are a higher priority. They hope that events, including sports, will take place in large-open spaces off campus or through a virtual setting.

To be on campus, students have their temperatures taken upon arrival to ensure that they are not sick. A new piece of technology called Capscann will assess the health of each student, evaluating any symptoms they may have, replacing the thermometer that is placed in front of a person’s forehead to gauge their temperature.

Sports allow for students to connect with one another without looking at a screen, but parents are still hoping to have their children back on campus. Some parents are signing a petition to bring kids back to school. They plan to send the petition to Governor Kate Brown. Hogan and Arndorfer encouraged parents to continue to try to influence politics, contact representatives, and let their voices be heard.

The two administrators recognize that keeping students out of school affects their mental health, and advocate for bringing students back to school as soon as it is safe. Administrators will continue to send out surveys to parents regarding concerns they have about school policies and what they would like to see in the coming months.

Both Hogan and Arndorfer stressed throughout their presentation the importance of following Centers for Disease Control and a Prevention guidelines, spending time connecting with those around them, and giving thanks for the teachers, faculty, and staff of Jesuit for their hard work during these difficult times.

For more information on COVID metrics, visit


About the Writer
Photo of Steele Clevenger
Steele Clevenger, Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director

Sarcastic. Artistic. Enthusiastic. These are three words Steele Clevenger would use to describe herself. A senior at Jesuit High School and a veteran journalism...

Crowded in a Virtual Classroom, Yet Feeling Alone: The Necessity of In-Person School for Freshmen


Avni Sharma

Students, especially those new to the high school, may be feeling overloaded both academically and emotionally.

After seven months of quarantine, online learning has become the new norm. To upperclassmen, the feeling of drowsily walking to class in the morning, catching the sweet aroma of cinnamon rolls on Wednesdays, and hearing the loud chatter at lunch seems nothing but a distant, nostalgic memory. For freshmen, however, the chances of sharing the same experiences and sentiments this year seem unlikely –  And the negative effects of online schooling are becoming clear. 

Even in normal circumstances, the transition from middle to high school can be mentally and emotionally taxing. Fulfilling deadlines, getting used to new expectations, maintaining extracurriculars, and the thought of nearing adulthood are all arduous tasks that overwhelm students on any grade level. 

As freshmen, students gently ease into the new environment, but quickly familiarize themselves with the hectic lifestyle and academic rhythm of high school. The aid given by a teacher, counselor, or other staff through physical classes helps a student adapt faster. With the restriction of a remote-learning environment, freshmen are struggling to academically compensate for the lack of in-person instruction. 

“It feels like it’s harder to ask questions and understand new concepts,” freshman Sonali Kumar says. 

Academics isn’t the only aspect of school in jeopardy. 

Building relationships online can be a daunting prospect for many. It’s especially difficult for introverted students, who already face difficulty making friends.  

“Half the time I don’t even know the people in my class well enough besides hearing them answer questions,” an anonymous freshman states, “I can’t even think about asking for contact info or saying “hey, wanna do this?” because it feels awkward, too—How  would you ask them for things like that?”

Usually, this is where Jesuit Ambassadors often step in to play the “big-brother role”, by organizing freshman-focused activities such as dances, games, and retreats to help build relationships and encourage friendships. But with the absence of these crucial in-person events, simply conversing online may not be enough to establish a significant bond between students.

During stressful times, upperclassmen often reminisce and reflect on important memories with their friends at Jesuit as a means of motivation and hope for the future. 

“I remember seeing my friends after school everyday,” senior Gwynne Olson recalls, “I can’t wait to come back and maintain the friendships I took three years to make.” 

But how can people even make those important memories? According to Micah Murray, an associate professor of biology at the University of Lausanne, the “multi-sensory events – those which engage sight and hearing – enhance memories and create more vivid memories.” 

Without associating senses (auditory, olfactory, visual, etc.) to one’s experiences, the development of a memory is compromised. In other words, one has to be physically present in order to have the memory stick and become meaningful. That’s why students bond over food in the cafeteria, in after-school sports activities, and in classrooms.

It also explains why people crave human-to-human contact in isolation, because they no longer have access to hearing, seeing, physically touching things, which helps them connect with others on a deeper level. Because of this, the Class of 2024 could potentially have one of the most underdeveloped relationships with each other than any other previous graduating class at Jesuit. 

Jesuit’s prudent efforts to provide in-person socializing opportunities are praiseworthy, including the upcoming Freshman Day Retreat on October 19th. Students are looking forward to meeting fellow freshmen and becoming acquainted with the school’s environment. Even a small success from this early effort could ultimately prove hugely promising toward a fuller and richer school experience for all.

About the Contributor
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Avni Sharma, Staff Writer

Avni Sharma is a current sophomore at Jesuit High School. She enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics, from music reviews to current politics. Though...

Are Students Wearing Masks and Social Distancing When Socializing?


While the pandemic steadily continues, student views of precautionary measures regarding the Covid-19 Virus have potentially altered. 

    During the month of April, 3 months after the first announced case of Covid-19 in the United States in January, the CDC officially recommended the use of masks in order to prevent the spread of the virus (Vox News). By the month of July, masks were made mandatory to wear in public in multiple states throughout the US (CNet). 

    Throughout the first few months of quarantine, feelings of unease and fear spread, as the US still had limited information regarding the virus. 

    “In the beginning I was really scared. I would check the cases [and] I wouldn’t go outside…Now, it’s a little more relaxed,” senior Afua Pinamang-Boampong said. “I’ll go to the grocery store with my mom, I’ll hang out with friends as long as I have the right gear on and social distance; I’m not that worried.”   

    Currently, regulations regarding precautionary measures have been more lenient, with the use of masks simply recommended by the CDC when in public (CDC). While more lenient, regulations are still implemented in order to insure safety, causing students to think of more creative ways to stay connected.

    “I’ve facetimed a thousand times more than I ever have in my entire life,” Pinamang-Boampong said. “I’ve gone on picnics with friends, and we sit on different blankets. I’ve become more innovative in the way I hang out with people. So finding things we can do distanced and being safe.”

    With quarantine continuing to be the safest precautionary measure, the lack of traditional socializing may be linked to students’ deteriorating mental health, as connections could be severed between friends.

    “I would think most students are like most of the population.  They are in favor of masks and social distancing until it becomes inconvenient for them,” health teacher Mr. Skipper said. “As students feel more isolated, I feel they are more likely to break the protocols.  I know it has been a struggle in my own house to balance being socially responsible and the mental health of my kids.  I would assume this is a struggle among lots of families.”

    A survey taken on the Jesuit News website displayed that 3 out of 5 students sometimes wear masks outside, while 2 out of 5 students always wear masks outside ( 

    “I worry not just about students, but everyone’s view about the protocols,” Skipper said. “The longer this goes on, the less fear we seem to have. With less fear, people will be less likely to follow the protocol.”

The frequency of precautionary measures taken by students varies, as some students have begun to hang out with small, close-knit groups of select friends outside of their family.

    “It’s changed because my parents [now] allow me to have ‘bubbles’ with friends,” junior Kurt Woodruff said. “So I have a selected group of no more than 10 people that I hang out with so we are still constricted, so it’s kind of sad because I’m not going to parties or hanging out with random people.”

    Although unable to hang out with many people, students have found that restrictions have revealed true friendships and the value of making an effort to stay connected to one another. 

    “Friendships feel deeper in a way because you actually have to reach out to people, and you can see who are your real friends and who’s maybe not…There’s so many friends at school that you say hi to but you wouldn’t hang out outside of school,” Woodruff said. “I kind of missed seeing them, but at the same time all of the people who have reached out to me, we now hang out and FaceTime and that means a lot because I get to know them better.”

About the Writer
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Scout Jacobs, Staff Writer

Scout Jacobs is a managing editor for the Jesuit Chronicles at Jesuit High School. As a senior in high school, this is her third year doing...

Mental health challenges among students during quarantine


Steele Clevenger

Charlie Crusader says hello to his geese friends over Zoom.

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Mental health decreases amongst high school students during quarantine

By Steele Clevenger

Editor and Creative DIrector

It’s no surprise that COVID-19 has hindered people—with no exception for age, race, gender, socioeconomic status, or location in the world—from day to day interaction with one another. For students at Jesuit High School, they are spending some of the most formative years of their lives cooped up in their homes, missing out on the social connection required for the mental well-being of teenagers.

“Kids are struggling a lot more not being able to hang out with their friends, not being able to be on campus, not being able to go outside the house. It didn’t have as much to do with school. It more so had to do with the social aspect [of their day],” said Jesuit High School counselor Jason Barry.

Additionally, Barry noticed that social distancing is difficult, since teens are at an emotionally-driven stage in their lives.

Said Barry, “Teenagers struggle with [social distancing] because their first instinct is to hug and to touch. Look how many kids are shoulder to shoulder, arm in arm, in the hallways or at Mass. They want physical contact with their friends. When you put five kids next to each other and tell them “don’t touch,” it’s hard.”

Teenagers aren’t the only ones having a hard time adjusting to the all-virtual school setting. For health teacher and Mental Health Awareness Club moderator Liz Kaempf, “For the first week, I went into school because I thought it would make the kids feel more like they were at school, but it just made me sad because I missed the students.”

Kaempf pointed out that while it is difficult for her to have relationships with the students, it is even more difficult for the students to have relationships with one another.

“The hardest part is not being able to interact in person with students and with colleagues. The kids give me energy, but I miss that face-to-face interaction with them because they get me excited for the day. Now, trying to develop relationships with students that you are just meeting for the first time on a screen is super hard,” said Kaempf.

Amidst the decrease in mental health, one Jesuit student not only noticed the disconnection and loneliness the Jesuit community is facing, but created a solution to ease those feelings.

Junior Jenny Duan, leader and creator of Jesuit’s Mental Health Awareness Club, recognized anxiety and stress amongst her peers, and has come up with effective ways to correspond with club members and focus on improving their mental well-being.

Duan said, “We try to facilitate conversations in our club and through social media. The other part of our club is focused on self-care. We play games together, we do short meditations, and we provide ideas for practicing self-care at home.”

What are some ways students can improve their mental health right now? Duan suggests focusing on what is most meaningful.

“Take a larger outlook on things. It’s easy to focus on a test or something, but we need to remember there’s more to life than that,” said Duan.

Kaempf encourages students to set a schedule.“Establish some type of normalcy in your day. Get outside, even if you just sit outside. Reach out to people. I challenged some of my students to text some of their friends and meet for a Zoom lunch,” said Kaempf.

Both Barry and Kaempf suggest ways to physically distance safely. They propose teenagers get outside and meet up with friends while wearing masks and remaining six feet apart.

“We want kids to be interacting. We had a lot of kids playing video games where you put on a headset and talk to your friends.” Barry said. “Some kids talk back and forth through social media—anything that we can encourage kids to do in a safe social distancing manner.”

About the Contributor
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Steele Clevenger, Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director

Sarcastic. Artistic. Enthusiastic. These are three words Steele Clevenger would use to describe herself. A senior at Jesuit High School and a veteran journalism...

Society After Quarantine


With stay at home orders still in place, how society will function after quarantine is difficult to predict. 

Throughout the past month, COVID-19 has altered lives around the globe. Through consistently staying home, many have developed entirely new routines and ways of maintaining a sense of normalcy. 

Assimilating back into “normal” society will be a challenging process, as the definition of what is considered “normal” may be altered drastically. Whether it be hygienic precautions or a heightened reliance on technology, COVID-19 will alter numerous customs and practices of everyday life, creating a “new normal.”

One impactful change is the use of masks to limit the spread of germs. With masks being mandatory in many well-known stores, such as Costco, as well as the new, current norm of wearing masks in public, wearing masks is predicted to be an “everyday accessory of American life” (Los Angeles Times).

“I think you will see more people wearing masks in public, and it is likely that more people will stay home when they are sick or wear masks when they don’t feel well,” says Mrs. Kuenz, Associate Director of Ecological Justice & Global Networking. “We all now have a heightened awareness of how our germs can impact others and with something that is highly contagious, my hope is that people will be more responsible and do a better job of staying home when they do not actually need to go out.”

Mrs. Kuenz also voices her hopes that COVID-19 will influence many to make more conscious decisions to think about the impact of our actions, such as buying products that support local businesses and becoming more resourceful to lead a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

“My hope is that more people are aware of where products are coming from and keeping local businesses afloat,” Mrs. Kuenz said. “Ordering things from big chains or Amazon, while it might be easier to get those products, it hurts those local businesses. On the flip side, it could be where people are so hungry to go out shopping that all of a sudden there is a huge up-tick in shopping. So it’s about balance, and it’s hard to know what is going to happen.”

In addition to a change in consumer trends, school systems and workplaces might alter their way of continuing education and practices through a heightened online presence or change in routine, catering to health precautions by avoiding large gatherings. 

“It is really hard to envision what schools and workplaces will look like in the fall.  I think that there will be more options for meeting/learning remotely,” Mrs. Kuenz said. “I imagine that if telecommuting has worked well for an employer and employee, that there will be more such options in the future. There are aspects of business that can function more efficiently in a remote environment.”

One of the largest changes to everyday life may be the heightened awareness surrounding the spread of germs, specifically through hand-contact. Due to COVID-19, the importance of hand-washing has been emphasized immensely, which hopefully will continue in post-quarantine society. 

“Definitely people will be more conscious with washing hands,” junior Jamie Turner said. “There’s hopefully going to be a lot more education in school about it, and I also think we are going to have to put many more health systems in place to deal with stuff like this in case it happens again. I think we are overall going to be more health conscious so that we don’t repeat our past mistakes.” 

Assimilating back into society will be a slow process, and restraining from jumping back in will be difficult, especially for those who are extremely social and eager to see friends and family they have been separated from. 

“Whenever I’ll go out with friends I’ll feel guilty and stressed about it,” Turner said. “Especially because my parents are doctors. I also feel like if we do have school and sports, there might not be any audience at sports games, and I’m not sure if we’ll have assemblies. As much as people want to go back to normal, I think it’s going to take so much time.”

While schools may be looking into strictly online learning, bringing students back into classrooms could be an option. However, according to NPR, classroom settings will likely look much different than what many are used to. 

For example, along with heightened precautions surrounding health and hygiene, classroom sizes may be 12 students or fewer, creating an entirely new schedule and calendar to accommodate all students (NPR). For Jesuit specifically, lunch and classroom schedules could drastically change, as half as many students would be able to convene together in order to maintain a healthy distance. 

Due to these schedule changes, remote/online learning may need to continue in some capacity to efficiently continue lessons. In addition, assemblies, sports games, and parent-teacher conferences may discontinue, as gathering in large groups will most likely be prohibited. 

While quarantine has altered many aspects of everyday life, the excess time has allowed for a boost in new hobbies (such as quidditch) and time spent with family members. 

“I sincerely hope that more people choose to emphasize and make time for crafts, hobbies, family game night, walks together and so on,” Mrs. Kuenz said. “I think that we will all cherish time with friends in a new way. Many of my students have also commented on how much they have appreciated being able to complete work in their own time. I wonder if it has given many of us an opportunity to re-prioritize our lives and the space to really understand how we as individuals work and think the best.”


About the Writer
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Scout Jacobs, Staff Writer

Scout Jacobs is a managing editor for the Jesuit Chronicles at Jesuit High School. As a senior in high school, this is her third year doing...

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