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From dining habits to bathroom breaks, the global pandemic has affected every layer of life, even in a county relatively untouched by the virus thus far.
For almost three months, communities have been bombarded with data, restrictions, updates, and a boatload of conspiracy theories to go with it. The pandemic has affected everyone’s life in some way, but for this year’s graduating classes, it has created a perfect storm of uncertainty in what is already a stressful time.
Social distancing measures and constantly updating recommendations meant to curb the spread of COVID have left seniors and their families wondering just what the “pomp and circumstance” would look like this year, especially after schools were closed in March.
MHS senior Becca Steerman has ridden a roller coaster of emotions since schools moved to distance learning.
“Personally, I was sad at first to not be able to finish out my senior year and have to take online classes. But over time, I realized that COVID has affected everyone,” Steerman stated.
Rio Blanco County has had no further cases since the single positive result April 2, but that in no way means it’s back to “business as usual.” School district officials in Meeker and Rangely have worked with Rio Blanco County Public Health to plan safe celebrations, and community members and parents have put on socially-distanced parades, hung banners, and planned other events.
Steerman recognizes this and other efforts. “Most people have maintained good attitudes and have worked hard to make our senior year special, even if we haven’t had a traditional senior year.” Steerman said she is grateful for this support.
Graduation will look a bit different, but one thing remains the same: it’s about the students —their efforts and accomplishments. Whether it’s on a football field, in a gymnasium, a drive-through celebration, a parade down Main Street, or something else, the Class of 2020 has made it to the doorstep of adulthood in a time of historic turmoil, and we should salute them for it.
Details on this year’s graduation celebrations can be found on PAGE 2A (Meeker) and in the Rangely High School Graduation special section included in this edition.
By CAITLIN WALKER