Spring Break is a time for fun and relaxation, to shed the burdens of studying and the pressures of final exams. Every year, we look forward to this important respite. For some, this means getting away from home, while others find comfort in lackadaisical hours alone. But, for everyone Spring Break offers a vacation from the typical demands of our life at Marlborough. In 2020, Spring Break took an unexpected turn.
Gavin Newson, the Governor of California, issued a stay-at-home order amid the COVID-19 crisis. Like many other schools in Los Angeles, Marlborough made the decision on April 12 to close and to continue with online learning. Only two weeks later, spring break began, leaving students and teachers not knowing what they would do.
Elias Johansson-Miller, English Instructor, and Helen Mendoza, Dean of Faculty and History & Social Sciences Instructor, shared what they did during this stressful time. Their stories couldn’t be more different, but after interviewing other students and faculty they represent consistent themes for what it means to vacation amidst this crisis.
Miller had not planned anything, expecting a quiet staycation of rest and local fun. When news broke that everyone else was forced to follow his lead, he had no idea that homebound was about to take on a whole new meaning. Finding fun in being productive, he graded papers and spent afternoons entertaining his cat, Manohla Dargis.
“As humans, we need to have things to take care of and interact with.” But, that’s the challenge during a global pandemic, and sheltering-in-place offers few options, even for those content to stay at home.
Mendoza, a teacher and a parent of two boys, had planned a trip to England. But, she spent her break coming up with ideas to help make her classes more engaging (between binging Tiger King on Netflix). She often felt frustrated.
“It almost doesn’t seem real. Every time I wake up in the morning, I forget for a second, but then I remember. Just the unknown, about what is coming in the next couple of months, in terms of how we’re going to go back to normal, is the thing that’s most unsettling for me,” she said. “This is our time to be together [with family]. That’s really the silver lining.”
Like so many others, who had to deal with canceled plans, the decision to turn inward, being with family, working on those things that are important, exploring new interests, offers a new perspective where helping everyone deal with the chaos and confusion of COVID-19 can provide comfort.
Alison Moser, Mathematics Instructor and 12th Grade Dean spent her spring break by making a quilt. She was able to make the top and the back; however, even after two weeks of free time, she has not finished (yet). She is still waiting for more materials to arrive. Once she gets these resources, then she plans to celebrate weeks of hard work and productivity
Jena English, Student Publications and Media Program Head, took on more ambitious goals. She started to learn guitar from her son and later went on to build a recording studio at her home. Additionally, after 10 years, English made a return to Wii, a game console that connects to your television in an attempt to fit more movement into her day. English said that she felt her leisure time needed to be more productive.
“Because I had more of [time-off,] I felt ‘Oh, let me do all of these things that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time that I always felt like I didn’t have time to do before’ ”.