By Adriana Lopez
Vanessa Edwards is one of the lucky, or unlucky, workers considered essential personnel during the COVID- 19 outbreak. She works as a security guard and has been patrolling the Claremont Colleges.
Her husband, Dwight Edwards, has been working 40 hours a week at Walmart.
Financially, they are better off than the reported 22 million Americans who have filed for unemployment benefits, according to The Washington Post.
No one within their household, including their two children, Alyssa Edwards and Christian Edwards, have a weakened immune system. However, they take the precaution of changing out of their work clothes before they interact with their children. This precaution has been sufficient enough in insuring their family’s health.
The wrench in their life during quarantine comes from their children not being in school. Alyssa and Christian are seniors at Carter High School and were supposed to have their graduation ceremony in May.
“It’s really hard because they worked so hard for this time. I pushed them for four years and watched them get to this point,” Vanessa Edwards said. “They feel like they’ve been cheated.”
An email sent out to parents and students of Carter High School informed them that the graduation ceremony would be postponed till July, but a July date seems unlikely as health officials urge that large scale events should be placed on hold till 2021, according to CNN.
Along with postponement of their graduation, Alyssa and Christian Edwards will also be missing their prom.
The night was originally scheduled for April 25 but has been canceled.
“It’s something that every senior should attend because next to graduation, prom is one of those things that says they’re almost there, they’re almost done,” Vanessa Edwards said. “It gives them something to look forward to. It kind of hurts, but it is what it is.”
Outside of seniors missing out on graduation and prom, they are also being denied visiting the colleges they plan to attend due to campus closures.
Christian Edwards is enrolled to start classes at California Baptist University in the fall of 2020 and Alyssa Edwards is enrolled at Riverside City College for the fall term as well.
Both campuses have virtual tours available for students, but Vanessa Edwards sees this as another experience that her children are losing.
While her children will still be getting an education through online instruction, Vanessa Edwards knows that they are missing out on the social aspect of attending college.
“They won’t be out when college starts to meet new friends or see friends that they have now at Cal Baptist or RCC,” Vanessa Edwards said.
The growing list of cancellations and closures of campuses and campus events has been building up Alyssa Edwards’ annoyance.
“Our school is trying to make sure we have some type of celebration in July, but having to wait for so long is very frustrating,” Alyssa Edwards said.
For Alyssa Edwards, missing prom is worse than the postponement of the graduation ceremony.
“I am mad. I really wanted to go to prom,” Alyssa Edwards said. “My dress was cute and everything. I’m definitely sad.”
Life after high school is also looking bleak to Alyssa Edwards.
“The fact that I’m probably going to have to take classes online till next year is scary,” Alyssa Edwards said.
Apart from missing out on the experience of physically attending classes, she is also unable to explore passions.
“I was definitely looking forward to being in RCC’s marching band because they’re the best in California and they’ve been invited to events across the nation and other parts of the world,” Alyssa Edwards said. “Not being able to participate in that as a freshman sucks.”
She also planned to work as a security guard, but due to employee cutbacks that is no longer an option for her.
“Being at home is not fun. I would rather be working,” Alyssa Edwards said. “If they told me I couldn’t go to school but I could be working I would rather do that, and I can’t even do that”.
While the world waits to get to a place of normalcy, high school seniors are forced to sit idling on their chance to explore adulthood, an exploration that is being delayed further and further in the time of COVID- 19.