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An Open Letter to the Class of 2022

July 30, 2021

Dear Class of 2022:

You are the third group of high school seniors to have your senior year during the COVID pandemic.

The Class of 2020 did not see this pandemic coming. In the spring of their senior year, our nation abruptly shut down in the face of a pandemic we did not understand. No senior proms. No senior trips. No spring sports, conventions, contests, or gatherings. And no anticipated, traditional, in-person, graduation ceremony.

It was awful.

And no vaccine available for anybody, which made everybody all the more vulnerable.

Time passed. In the fall of 2020, the Class of 2021 started their senior year, the pandemic still with us. Remote learning, hybrid instruction, or full attendance were our options. Masking. Social distancing. No water fountains. Intentional limiting of opportunities for students to congregate. Incessant cleaning. And quarantine for those who came into contact with a person testing positive for COVID. It was a nuisance, but at the time, very few students ages 17 or 18 were contracting COVID and showing any symptoms. Sure, school admin may have tried to institute social distancing, but let’s be real: Seniors and other high-school-aged students were hanging out, business as usual, on their own time. Even some parents, in the name of giving students a normal senior year, arranged social situations that involved students gathering together in large groups. Sometimes these gatherings resulted in mass quarantine.

It seemed that teens were for the most part immune to COVID, with very few who did test positive actually experiencing symptoms.

COVID seemed to be a problem for older people, especially the elderly.

Not teens. Not us.

In December 2020, amazingly, COVID vaccines became available, but only for certain individuals, including the elderly. And just as the Class of 2021 was wrapping up its odd-at-best, COVID-beset senior year, in April 2021, vaccines became available to 17-year-olds.

No vaccine for the Class of 2021 until the end of their senior year. Still, that didn’t seem to be much of a problem since COVID was An Issue for Older People.

Not teens. Not us.

So here we are, ready to begin a new school year.

The Class of 2022’s time has come.

So has the Delta Variant.

Think of it as COVID that has learned some lessons of survival.

The Delta Variant is much more likely to lead to hospitalization and death in those who are not vaccinated. I’m not exaggerating. It is more contagious that original COVID. And consider this, from, “5 Things to Know about the Delta Variant,” published in Yale Medicine:

“As older age groups get vaccinated, those who are younger and unvaccinated will be at higher risk of getting COVID-19 with any variant,” says Dr. Yildirim.  “But Delta seems to be impacting younger age groups more than previous variants.”

Uh oh.

Could be teens.

Could be us.

So, here’s the deal, Class of 2022:

I want you to have a senior year as close to pre-pandemic “normal” as is possible. I want you to be able to enjoy as much of the social aspect of being a high school senior as you can.

The best way to promote normalcy and confront the Delta Variant is to be vaccinated.

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a country with ample COVID vaccine available for anyone 12 years of age and older who wants to walk in off of the street and receive a shot at any number of locations, including thousands of pharmacies.

That includes you, Class of 2022. Right now, even as you are reading this post, COVID vaccine is available to you.

Do it for yourself. Do it for your friends and family to boost their confidence in your safety against this frenzied Delta Variant.

If you have no condition preventing you from being vaccinated against COVID, please do your part to help prevent yourself from possibly becoming hospitalized from that Delta Variant in your senior year.

I would much have Healthy You seated in my classroom.


–Dr. Schneider

Vaccinated, Senior English Teacher


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