TY 1 – 0 COVID-19 by Cormac Thompson
Animals of all species around the world are forced to adapt to ever changing environments and 2020 has led humans to do the same. For instance face masks, we wear them so much now that they nearly are a biological part of your face and so much so that when you get up on Saturday morning your first instinct is to put it on before you enter the kitchen.
Schools around Ireland were hard pressed over the last few months to create a safe environment so they could get students coming in the door again. Everything was covered, books, desks, one-way systems, hand sanitation (well it was up until last week) and the impression was that students were just getting on with it. That impression would be correct for all other years apart from TY’s who in some schools were left stuck in the mud. I am very lucky that the TY department in my school worked tirelessly to make the year as best as they could in these unnatural circumstances.
One way system in a school
As a TY group we have activities every Wednesday for the whole year, but then Covid comes along and tries to turn it on its head, but it didn’t. The school decided that we do all our activities with our base class only for contact tracing reasons, so the TY department in our school rotates our activities each week between the four base classes. So, to break it down the TY Co-Ordinator lists the four activities for the month in a block, these activities are then rotated between the different classes over the four weeks. Because of Covid-19 restrictions the majority of our activities so far have been based outdoors which is great when the weather is good, but it often isn’t especially as we near the Winter months. But from my perspective so far, I can’t complain, we are having as much fun as we can and to be honest there isn’t an outrageous difference between what we have done and what last year’s TY’s have done so far.
The “so far” bit understandably is standing out a little in that sentence, because usually at the turn of the year is when TY really gets going, TY Ball, trips abroad, adventure trips, graduation etc. At the moment our calendars are looking a bit too blank as everything is up in the air. But there still is that sense of optimism that we could get some of this stuff done apart from the trip abroad of course (unless a 14- day quarantine is your thing, which I doubt it is).
To use my own school as an example again, we are still aiming to organise an annual fundraiser which can adhere to health guidelines. We are hoping that it will run in 2021 but at the moment it is just a flicker of light in the distance and the planning of the event has only begun as close as last Thursday. I cannot say much about it unless anyone is open to a sponsorship deal. All in all it is giving us something to look forward to and talk about and as bleak as this pandemic is you have to find a little fun somewhere!
TY is going far better than I expected it to be earlier in the summer. Maybe it was from getting a pessimistic view in the ear from virtually everyone which casted the doubts over my head, “ O, you are as well off going straight to fifth year” was the words muttered by every third person you would meet ( every fourth if you’re lucky). But I am glad I did not take any of this advice, so far we have been kayaking, cycling, golfing, orienteering, and other various things. All of them a million times better than trying to solve a Shakespeare piece.
It is important to be patient and instead of sitting there thinking of what might have been, try and think outside the box and adapt to the situation. But for me it’s TY 1 Covid-19 0.