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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2020:01:28 14:25:50

MICHAEL BLUHM

Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2020:02:13 20:10:59

TAMMY MOWRY

Bridget Frame hasn’t bought her prom dress yet, though now she wonders if it’s even necessary.

With the uncertainty of COVID-19, the Tunkhannock Area High School senior doesn’t know what to expect for upcoming end-of-year events, from prom to the band’s trip to Disney.

Knowing the state government was making efforts to “flatten the curve,” Frame wasn’t surprised when Pennsylvania schools shut down for two weeks from March 16 to 27. With many people still not practicing social distancing, she said an extension wouldn’t come as a shock either.

On Monday, her prediction came true, with schools now closed until at least April 6.

As Frame waits for updates, her time away from school has been spent keeping her Spanish skills sharp and working on assignments for her speech and debate class.

Another Tunkhannock Area senior, Madison Nestor, also wasn’t surprised about the temporary school closure given the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Nestor worries about missing out on a significant portion of her coursework, as well as how this might impact the dual enrollment credits she’s working on this semester.

Like Frame, she wonders how end-of-year events will fare. Being a class officer, she said their class adviser wants to have prom even if it means rescheduling.

“I’m definitely feeling a little upset that I might be missing out on a few of the end-of-year activities, but our safety and health comes first,” she said. “It’s understandable, but upsetting.”

The effects of COVID-19 have also disappointed underclassmen like Tunkhannock Area junior Alison Edwards. Besides having in-school and out-of-school activities affected, the junior has been losing time with her senior friends.

“I’m hoping that we’ll get back into school quickly and can still spend these last few months together,” Edwards said.

School closures have also impacted parents such as Tammy Mowry, whose son is a senior at Elk Lake High School.

“We understand it’s not about the kids right now. It’s about keeping everyone safe,” Mowry said.

Her son has been keeping busy at home, and she’s thankful that nowadays, young people have multiple ways to stay in contact with one another.

Being a senior, she’s not too concerned about the effect on his academic performance.

“He may lose a little steam going into his first year of college,” she said. “But that should get him right back on track.”

Aimee Sample has two children in Elk Lake Elementary School, where she teaches fourth grade. With young children, it has been important for Sample to explain the situation calmly and maintain normalcy as much as possible.

“It was a shock, definitely,” Sample said of the closures.

Her family has seen a silver lining with being home, using it as a chance to spend time together. With her children, educational resources such as flash cards have been key.

“I really am just trying to keep them engaged, so when we go back, hopefully sooner rather than later, they don’t go backwards,” she said.

Michael Bluhm teaches in the Lackawanna Trail School District, where his three children attend.

Bluhm and his wife have been ensuring their children, two in the high school and one in the elementary center, strike up a balance between academics, physical exercise and entertainment.

With this being a difficult time for everyone, he said it’s a matter of figuring out the best way to get through it.

“It’s obviously difficult for their education and their development. However, it’s a very serious situation that requires drastic measures to be taken,” Bluhm said. “We need to keep everything in perspective and prioritize the health and safety of people at this time.”