Coronavirus wreaks havoc on Guilford County

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Kaitlyn Sumner

A student sanitizes her hand before class. Northwest is taking many precautions in attempt to keep COVID-19 from spreading.

The Coronavirus has dominated headlines since January. As of Thursday, March 12, its impact on North Carolina is tremendous.

With 12 cases in North Carolina thus far– two in Forsyth County– colleges and school systems are clamping down on regulations in an attempt to preclude a widespread outbreak.

The WHO (World Health Organization) recently declared COVID-19 a pandemic; President Donald Trump has instituted a travel ban to European countries for 30 days. Businesses, like hotels and airports, have been economically affected, and a plummeting stock market shows the burgeoning impacts of this disease.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association just announced they will suspend all interscholastic athletics beginning at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 13 through Monday, April 6. This includes “workouts, skill development, practices and contests,” according to the NCHSAA website.

In addition to disappointed student athletes, because spring sports are canceled, the yearbook staff will not be able to meet their deadline.

“Our book is due April 12; spring sports is our current deadline,” yearbook staff member and junior Alli Stovall said. “Therefore, we have no pictures to put in our yearbook, and it (will be) almost impossible to complete.”

As of now, this cancellation does not affect school clubs, band, orchestra, theater or chorus; however, as of Wednesday, March 11, Guilford County officials canceled all school-sponsored field trips for the remainder of the school year. 

GAP Program

The German-American Partnership Program, which involved a group of 26 students, had planned to welcome German students to Northwest later this month. German students would stay in the homes of Northwest families, and they planned trips to Charleston, the International Civil Rights Museum and Old Salem.

It has been canceled.

“It’s awful because so much work has gone into it by Frau W (German teacher Lisa Worthington-Groce) and all the students,” German teacher Oliver Ham said. “It’s very sad to see something that so many people believed in to fall to pieces so shortly before it could come to fruition.”

Northwest German students have been in communication with their German partners to see if they can informally reschedule for this summer.

“It’s a shame, but maybe safety should come first,” Ham said.

Northwest German students have been in communication with their German partners to see if they can informally reschedule for this summer.

Northwest Viking Band 

The band had a trip planned to Washington, D.C. to play at the Kennedy Center this weekend. 

Band teacher Brian McMath declined to comment, but he sent out the following email to his students yesterday.

“It is with incredible sadness I report as of 5:45 p.m. today, GCS has cancelled all international and out-of-state trips for the remainder of the school year. Of course, this means our amazing trip this weekend is cancelled. I am devastated for you, myself and the program in general. Everyone has spent so much time, energy and money to make this happen… 

“The company will be working with vendors to see if any portions of refunds can be received.”

Band students are reeling from the news.

“I’ve been preparing for the Sousa trip since the end of December,” freshman Grace Payne said. “I’m kind of bummed. We put a lot of work and effort into preparing.”

“We had a rehearsal about every other Sunday and every Thursday,” freshman Lydia Ruth added. “I’m really upset about it because I was really looking forward to the trip and getting to see things in Washington.”

A partial list below includes other cancellations:

  • AP English spring break trip to Europe
  • Art trip to New York City
  • The Speech and Debate state tournament March 28 and 29 
  • The Odyssey of the Mind State Championship Saturday, March 28

At Northwest, custodians are working diligently to ensure the maximum cleanliness of the school going forward.

“We have extra disinfectant we have to use; it’s a chemical that kills all germs,” custodian Damian King said.

Teachers are also responsible for wiping down their desks twice a day and the keyboards in the computer lab before and after student use; students are asked to use hand sanitizer coming and going from each classroom.

Beyond the impact at the high school level, North Carolina colleges have also made similar decisions. Elon University, Duke University and UNC-System schools have extended spring break one week and will transition to online classes for the remainder of the semester.

The NCAA tournament has been canceled, and Disneyland and Disney World are closing until the end of March.

This is a developing story.