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Kentucky Students React to Missing Out on Senior Year Because of Coronavirus

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The coronavirus is making a lot of students anxious to see the pandemic, and home quarantines, come to an end. High school seniors, especially, are missing out on some rites of passage. 

The Class of 2020 has unwantedly become the Class of COVID-19. Eighteen-year-old Kallie Wood attends Bowling Green High School.  She realizes there will be no sports, prom, or senior trip to New York City.

“We were looking forward to going and seeing all the sights in New York," Wood told WKU Public Radio. "I’ve never been to New York so I was looking forward to it, and I was looking forward to spending one last trip with my friends and teachers.”

Most Kentucky schools have been closed since March 16, and all districts are using Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) through at least April 20.  Mason Stone, 17, attends Green County High School.  The class president says what he’s missing most about his senior year is track season.

“Not getting to run is very upsetting. I didn’t get to run in state last year, and I was looking forward to proving myself this year, and it’s not going to happen probably," said Stone. "You just have to stay positive, one day at a time.”

Stone has a full scholarship to the University of Pikeville.  Now that he’s not in the classroom, he spends most of his days doing online assignments and running to keep up his athletic skills. 

While seniors have been video chatting, they say it’s not the same as being together in person.  The prolonged school shutdown threatens another rite of passage: high school graduation.  Stone said he hopes it doesn’t come to that.

“One of the biggest days of your life, walking across that stage and getting your diploma in front of your entire family, so it’s very upsetting," he added.

Kentucky’s Interim Education Commissioner Kevin Brown has told school districts to prepare for the closure to extend through the remainder of the school year.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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