In an unprecedented move, schools across the country, including Buffalo ISD, began announcing school closures of varying lengths this week. In an effort to control social distancing and control, if not completely contain, the spread of Covid-19, organizations and businesses began closing last week. The tide began with SXSW in Austin, moved to the Houston Livestock Show, and by Thursday saw UIL postponing state competitions and then district events, as well.
Currently, BISD is scheduled to be back in session on March 23.
“I about half expected it all week, especially once the livestock show shut down,” UIL coordinator Melonie Menefee said. “Still, it was a bit of a shock to get word Thursday that we would not be traveling to Austin this week to compete in state CX debate.”
As with many of the canceled events, which currently include boys state basketball, robotics, and debate, as well as all local district and bi-district academic, speech and OAP contests scheduled for the next two weeks, are on hold. This includes all sporting events, as well.
“Thankfully, UIL seems dedicated to finding ways to extending deadlines and moving events around,” Menefee said. “These kids have put in an incredible amount of work, and while of course everyone’s health is most important, allowing them to compete once this has settled is important.”
Students did not seem particularly worried about their health or catching the virus, but were not adverse to an extra week off of school, either.
“I think the situation as a nation has been exaggerated by the media, but I understand the concern,” senior Mollie Dittmar said. “I’m happy to have another week of spring break! I’m just going to keep going on with my daily life and make sure I wash my hands!”
The main concern was for protecting the health of the students, especially after many had been traveling for spring break.
“I think it was necessary to protect the students,” sophomore Omar Almeida said. “I honestly am not afraid of catching the virus, though.”
Some schools have closed for longer than a week. In addition, cruise ships leaving from the US are suspending operations, and more closures are possible as the situation changes. It is hoped that limiting social contact through the closures will slow the spread of the virus.
“It’s a good choice to close things down as in ‘we’re slowing the spread of the coronavirus,’ and I say slowing the spread because we’re probably all going to have it sooner or later,” senior Dustin Morgan said. “It’s bad in the sense that UIL events are canceled and other real events that could further our education via scholarships, like the Houston Livestock Show.”
Students involved in UIL athletics and academic events are anxious to know when everything will be up and running again, but realize the changes are being made with their best interests at the forefront.
“Personally, I think it’s nice to watch Buffalo show concern for our health and wellness by closing down the school,” senior Gina Jones said. “I’m upset about missing things that have been canceled, but I recognize that this is probably the safest.”