March 13, 2020 started as any normal day but ended with an announcement which would change our lives forever. In the days that preceded Friday the 13th, there were drastic changes around the nation. On the 10th, sixteen universities in the United States declared closure due to the pandemic. On the 11th, it was announced that Coachella would be postponed. On the 12th, Disneyland announced that the parks would be shut down for safety reasons. As drastic as the changes were around the country, the day of the 13th affected North Providence the most. At her press briefing, Governor Gina Raimondo announced that the spring break would be moved early. She stated, “Schools were scheduled to take a week off in April; Instead, we are moving that spring break to next week”. She also mentioned that schools will use that time to come up with distance learning plans. Little did students know that the plans which were initiated that following week would continue for an entire year. Today, on March 13th 2021, it is worth looking back at the day which changed our lives forever. It was the last day in which schools were clamorous with the footsteps of students. It was the last day of school without being required to wear masks and follow strict social distancing protocols. It was the last normal school day. Many teachers and students remember the thoughts that ran in their minds before leaving school on that fateful day. A few were willing to share:
Ms. Frezza, math teacher at NPHS says, “I felt worried and stressed because of all the unknown surrounding the governor’s announcement to shut schools down. I felt like it would be more than just a week and wanted to make sure I had everything needed in case I didn’t come back”.
Noelle Poirier, sophomore at NPHS says, “At that moment, all I felt was relief over the fact that I didn’t have to go to school for a week. As much as I knew that it would extend, I had no idea that it would alter the course of a whole year”.
Other teachers and students had similar feelings. Some totally expected the full distance learning while others were oblivious to the enormity of that afternoon’s announcement. Whilst students were caught up in the happiness over early break, the president called a national emergency that day. A bill was signed for federal aid and new restrictions were enacted. It was the beginning of a pandemic which would shake the world to its core. Today, Covid-19 is still as relevant as it was 365 days ago. As we reflect on the experiences that the past year has offered us, there is no doubt that March 13, 2020 will be recalled as the day we’ll never forget.