COVID vs. Fall: How Shut-In Life Shuts Down The Fun 


Elvis Gomez

Autumn Blues: Wire staffer Melanie Gomez details the many ways that the pandemic is taking a bite out of fall-time fun.

In any normal year, the changing of the leaves and the brisk evening or morning air creates excitement and anticipation about all that a new season has to offer. Every year fall brings a litany of memorable holidays, cooler weather, and an opportunity to don those warm, cozy sweaters. What’s not to love? Combine all the preceding with out-of-town trips with friends to see the world in its autumnal glory and you’ve got one of the best seasons imaginable. But just as the global pandemic has unalterably changed this school year, this interminable COVID season has also changed the kind of fall we’re all experiencing.

During 2020, we’ve lost our routines, vacation plans, and the normal things that make life interesting — or even fun. For many North students, quarantine confinement has meant rarely leaving their homes during the school week. In years prior when students had their daily commutes to school, they could see the progression of the seasonal scenery change, with the summer green leaves changing into a colorful red-orange. And through our school’s floor-to-ceiling windows, the arrayed treetops below and around us show a beautiful range of colors. But during this shut-in fall, the season’s changes have by and large been viewed through a bed-room window, the space where we keep up our unchanging day-to-day Zoom School existence. 

Of course, we can’t talk about fall losses without mentioning Halloween and Thanksgiving. When in-class learning broke up on March 13, no one ever thought it would have gone on this long. We figured surely by now we’d be looking forward to a normal holiday season. Even if some don’t celebrate Halloween or have grown out of the trick-or-treating phase (or … have you?), there are many at our age who enjoy getting together with friends to share a night of costumes and dressing up. Enter COVID and there is no dressing up this year. It’s just another disappointment in a year that’s been full of them. Thanksgiving has always been one of the few times many of us get to see relatives outside our immediate families. But the long tentacles of this plague have put this late-November tradition in jeopardy. No one wants to enjoy turkey and the sides when our beloved older relatives might be at risk. 

COVID restrictions have also meant sports fans have lost out on a proper season. Consider the fun and drama associated with watching Warrior sports teams play during this season. For many freshmen, attending a first football game is something of a right of passage. And yet, for this sizable class, that thrill has not taken place. Both players and the spectators who cheer them on are taking an “L” against COVID yet again.   

The losses the North Atlanta community has endured since March are matters out of our control. And now, even the fall season we’ve always loved has not been immune from significant changes. The ongoing comforts of home are never bad and, yes, it’s easier to “commute” to my first period class going from my bedroom to my kitchen table. But, still, those badly needed human interactions are missed. As are those fall traditions that make the season so special. In the face of this current season of changing leave and changing temperatures, grim COVID-realities continue to endure.