COVID-19: Man on the street


By Gigi Alioto-Pier and Stasia Winslow

Through email, we contacted several members of the Branson community and asked them: How has COVID-19 altered your spring semester? 

Strat Tolmie ‘21

I appreciate that we can still hold class lectures and discussions. However, I am concerned that our learning has been compromised by the absence of homework and assessments. My fear is that we will not be as sufficiently prepared for our next academic year as if we had remained in school.


Steve Reinertsen ‘82


Nice pandemic silver lining:  I run at the lake and on the mountain frequently, and only once in the past three weeks have I not seen someone I’ve coached—current students and quite a few alums including one in her fifties—or members of their families…everyone moving, breathing, connecting (at a safe 6’+ remove)—“forest bathing” my hippie mother-in-law calls it.  

Biggest personal pandemic surprise to date:  still find 15-20 typically little but sometimes big things to be grateful for each morning when I scribble out my list.  Kind of amazed by this would have supposed that all the good stuff would shut down along with everything else, but no.  And, I am aware that most of my friends and family are fortunate to be doing well so far, things could change for any of us overnight, as they have for so many others.  But for today, here, still a lot of gratitude, which comes as a very pleasant surprise.  

Giant virtual hugs/handshakes/high-fives to all who want them.


Audrey Dickinson ‘20 

I feel really sorry that I took so many things for granted in high school. Having gone through the process of applying to colleges, I couldn’t help but picture myself moving out and starting fresh in a new city. High school was just something to get through and do well in. I took seeing my friends and teachers every day for granted. I took swimming and daily exercise for granted. I felt as if I had worked super hard for 3 1/2 years just to get to this moment, senior spring, stress-free time to hang out with friends, and enjoy my last moments in high school. I really miss seeing my friends and hearing them laugh in person, something I always assumed I’d have ample time for once I got into college. It sucks that that was officially my last day of high school. Still, I feel very lucky to be safe and healthy, and that I have access to technology which allows me to connect with loved ones.

Adriana Golden ‘20

I have adapted pretty well to the shelter in place order by finding activities to keep myself occupied, like cooking, painting, reading, and FaceTiming with friends. It hasn’t really settled in for me yet that we will be unable to have prom or graduation in person. I just feel grateful for the high school experiences we have had together, and hope that we can postpone these events instead of holding them online.

Sophia Milan Howells ‘21

I am sad that I am not going to be able to see any of my friends, coaches, and teachers but I am excited to experience this new teaching program! This time has given me the opportunity to explore new interests and has made me grateful for the Branson community.