Shutdown Stories

The COVID-19 outbreak is history in the making. No one knows when the shutdown will end, or what the cost of the crisis will be. Like the rest of the world, the Everett community is figuring it out day by day. #ShutdownStories are glimpses into the lives of Lansing people, living their lives in a new normal. Click the image above for all of the #ShutdownStories from The Voice staff.

April 18, 2020
The AP announced changes to testing due to COVID-19. Students are taking their college placement tests from home this year, and many students and teachers are worried they are not prepared.

As AP Tests move online, students and teachers concerned about lack of prep time

by Colleen Pender

The current COVID-19 pandemic has prevented students from doing many things such as attending graduation, going to their last prom, and taking tests that they have been preparing for since they were at the beginning of their high school careers such as AP and SAT exams. Specifically, Everett students are struggling a lot right now. The fact that they can’t take these tests is a big part of their stress.

The College Board, the organization that administers SAT and PSAT tests, already canceled SAT tests that were scheduled for June. 

”To keep students safe, and in alignment with public health guidance and school closures across 192 countries, we will not be able to administer the SAT or SAT Subject Tests on June 6, 2020,” said The College Board on their website.

Many teachers are concerned about students taking their exams.

”I am nervous for them, yes, ” said AP Biology teacher Stephanie Robinson. ”I am nervous because we missed out on a lot of time in class to cover material and to review for the exam,” Robinson said.

Robinson, as well as many others, think that students missed out on many things due to the school being closed. Distance learning couldn’t make up for time spent face to face with students.

”I usually do several practice exams and review sessions after school in April and May and that did not happen, ” said Robinson. ”There are whole sections we did not cover in class because of the closure.”

Nevaeh Faulkner, a Junior at Everett, also missed out on things that are important to her.

”I miss out on mostly volunteering work I would’ve done through the school, ” said Faulkner. Nevaeh says she also missed out on theater.

Some students may not feel prepared for the exams, but their teachers are trying their best to help.

”I created a Google Classroom and have posted information and resources in it for them,” said Robinson. “I have shared information about exam changes and updates as the College Board has made decisions.  I have watched the videos made by the College Board, and we have had Google Meets three days a week for the past several weeks to discuss them.”

April 16, 2020
Like every Lansing teacher, English teacher Robin Elliott has had to adjust to teaching from home. Her home office is very different from her classroom. Here, she said she is “pondering why I am inside… and why does it continue to rain.”

Move to online learning not often a smooth transition

by Will George

As the coronavirus quarantine seems to be everlasting, students have had to make the jump from real classes to virtual ones. For many, this may not even come as a drastic change in their day to day lives. Many students have made the switch to online classes before any of this madness even started and decided it was right for them. 

For Everett’s teachers however, this may prove to be a bit harder. Even though teachers have had to use technology more and more to teach their classes, teaching classes online is an entirely different ball park. Going straight from in class to online is never an easy switch, and when you’ve been teaching in a classroom for years, it can be a big leap.

“It is harder for me because I get distracted by everything,” says English teacher Robin Elliott. “As for teaching, I am trying to navigate away from 27 years of being in front of class interacting in a similar way. Now, I have to do different things, and we all know about my level of comfort with technology.”

For teachers like Elliott whose main goal in the class is to create a dialogue among the class, this is nearly impossible unless the entire class decides to join the Google Meet or Zoom chat.

Getting ready to teach online was not a smooth transition for many. Biology teacher Stephanie Robinson said that it took some effort, between setting up the virtual classroom and making sure her students were set up as well.

“I watched several videos on how to set-up/use Google Classroom to figure things out.  It was also difficult trying to figure out what to teach during my three-week course,” said Robinson. “We have had issues contacting students because phone #s and/or emails for students or parents don’t always work.” 

Even though Google Classroom and Zoom are greatly helping students and teachers see more class time, the pandemic has shown that most schools were not ready to move completely online. While some resources were shared for teachers scrambling to learn, professional development classes are being looked at to help everyone feel more prepared for whatever the fall may bring.

Everett teachers are doing the best that they can with what they have been given. This year may not have ended like everyone hoped, but even if the class of 2020 won’t be at Everett next year, the teachers will be there, ready to teach their classes however they need to.

April 4, 2020
Streets are empty in many neighborhoods, as people comply with the statewide quarantine. You can still go for walks, though, and are encouraged to get out at least once a day. Just remember this is meant to be an activity for one or two people only, keeping at least six feet apart.

Lansing students, residents try to avoid cabin fever

by Evelyn Talbot

With the “shelter in place” lockdown put in place by Governor Whitmer due to COVID-19, many people are finding themselves restless and bored as more time passes. Sure, you can watch Netflix for three days straight, but for some that activity isn’t as intriguing as the days pass by. For Michigan’s K-12 students, their break is going into its fourth week, and with that comes a heavy dose of cabin fever. 

“Everyday feels like a blur, it’s all the same thing,” said sophomore Roman Tremble. 

Meanwhile, many students are utilizing their newfound abundance of time to pick up a new hobby or skill. 

“Outside of what I normally do, I’ve been learning two different languages,” said local artist Mya Brown, who is a dancer as well as talented actor.

Some students still have to go into work, being deemed ‘essential,’ especially if they work in the food industry or at the grocery store. While at work, they do their best to follow CDC recommendations, such as keeping a six foot distance from all other people, washing your hands often and disinfecting surfaces. For others it’s now just a matter of staying preoccupied at home and hoping others are doing their part to flatten the curve. 

“I’m trying to use essential oils and a diffuser to ease my mind and anxiety,” said Sexton graduate Jaylen Sanders. “Like every night I put lavender oil in the diffuser to help me sleep. I’ve always wanted to do it but I never felt like I had the time to do it.”

It’s a perfect time to cure your boredom and turn it into an opportunity to explore a new or old spark. Many craft stores and online retailers are still providing online shipping to homes with two day shipping. Also, there is no ban on being outside, as long as you keep a safe distance from others. A recent Sierra Club article encourages people to get outside for their mental health.

Find some way to make a trip to your nearest woodlot…or hillside,” writes author Jason Mark. “Take the dog for a walk. Sit in your backyard or garden. As long as you’re able to do so in a way that meets the recommendations for social distancing, figure out how to get outside however you can.”

Be warned, though: Michigan has a $1,000 fine for people who violate the Stay At Home order, so make sure you’re not going out in a group, and you’re keeping a safe distance from anyone you might meet on your walk or run.

March 29, 2020
These days, a fever is no joke. After taking her temperature five times daily and checking in with her doctor, Rebecca Tremble was finally cleared to go back to work.

Essential worker: ‘I thought I had Corona’

by Evelyn Tremble

Paranoia is at all time high with the COVID-19 plaguing our surrounding areas. Many are led to wondering if that cough or headache is just from the cold wind or a sign of something worse. While most are following the state-wide order to stay home and quarantine, “essential employees” have an extra layer of stress added upon them. Healthcare workers, some restaurant employees, grocery store employees, truckers and others are still leaving their homes to head to work, every day facing the possibility of the virus infecting their workspace. 

For Everett parent Rebecca Tremble, these fears became very real when she woke up Monday morning with a fever. 

“I work for the USDA on a farm, so I can’t work from home. I didn’t want to be the one to make everyone sick. I had a feeling it was just stress; but you never know,” said Tremble. 

With hospitals already being flooded, Tremble felt it was best to stay home and gauge her temperature. With much luck and rest, her fever subsided within two days, seeming that the problem wasn’t COVID-19.

“It was harder proving I didn’t have it so I could go back to work than it was calling in and explaining I might be sick with the Coronavirus,” said Tremble.

Tremble took her temperature five times a day and took pictures to send to her boss and show her doctor. She waited three days to be able to get in contact with her doctor and get a note signifying that she didn’t have the virus and would be able to go back to work.

“It was more stressful than anything. No one wants to have it, regardless if it’d put you in critical condition or not,” said Tremble.

March 28, 2020
Like millions of Americans, Mackenzie Davis was laid off from work when her restaurant closed due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Restaurants are closing, taking the main source of income for many students

by Arianna Orta

COVID-19 has changed the daily life of everyone in the world. Countries have closed their borders, schools and many businesses are being forced shut down. Many teens and adults are worried about paying bills and not being able to bring food to the table in daily life. 

Many students, like senior Mackenzie Davis, have been laid off.

Many students, like senior Mackenzie Davis, were laid off for a while. The restaurant where Davis works is now closed. Before the owner closed down the restaurant there were restrictions in place to protect employees and others from COVID-19.

“[The owner made her employees] literally bleach and wash everything and didn’t let us prep new food until everything else was bought out,” said Davis.

On March 16, an order from the governor closed every restaurant in Michigan for dine-in service. Some businesses shortened their hours, and switched to takeout or deliveries. Some couldn’t do enough business that way and had to close completely, hoping to reopen when the order is lifted.

For workers like Davis, the order means lost wages and days spent confined at home under quarantine. According to the CDC and many others, the best thing Davis and others can do to get back to work as soon as possible is to stay at home to help stop the spread of the virus. Wash your hands often and if you have to go out for groceries or exercise, keep a six-foot distance from others.

March 27, 2020
Everett parent Nathin Gillette has continued to work during the quarantine, as stores like Dollar Tree that sell food and household items are “essential” businesses that are allowed to stay open.

‘Essential’ jobs under quarantine: ‘clean better, do better, help out more’

by Emylie Gillette

The virus may have put a lot of businesses down, but the Dollar Tree is still open and ready for you. 

My dad works has been busy since everyone is going crazy but doesn’t stop him from being positive about his job.

“The virus may have affected businesses, but it keeps me motivated and inspired me to clean better, do better, and help out more,” he says.

Since the recent Stay At Home order, only those in “essential” jobs are allowed to work. Because Dollar Tree sells food and other necessary items, it is considered an essential business.

“Since we work in retail… people need us to work instead of staying home and we need to provide that service,” he said.

March 26, 2020
For Savannah Sykes, the coronavirus pandemic means probably missing her senior soccer season.

Senior Year Vs. COVID-19: ‘I wish the coronavirus would hurry up and go away’

by Janessa Sykes

“Life is kinda hard right now.” 

Being a senior isn’t the easiest, and many people aren’t big fans of school. But canceling all school events has been hard for many students to deal with. Senior Savannah Sykes is exhausted with all the commotion that’s taking place right now. She said she feels sad that her senior season is ending this way. 

“I’m a spring athlete, it would be great to play,” Sykes said.

Sykes has participated in many school activities in her four years of high school, and the possibility of it coming to a close without a senior trip, or prom, or maybe even a graduation? It’s hard to comprehend. 

Imagine fundraising for months for an event, just for it to be canceled weeks before. You would be mad that you wasted all that time and money. For Sykes, a big disappointment is the possibility of missing her last first game. She practiced months in advance just for games to be canceled and not rescheduled. On top of that, there hasn’t been any word about school being extended, or sports being completely canceled, or anything. 

“I wish the corona virus would hurry up and go away,” said Sykes. 

March 25, 2020
A lunch provided by Sodexo-MAGIC and the Lansing School District contains a sandwich, milk, snack bar and juice.

Meal distribution continues during Stay At Home order

by Arianna Orta

Due to the closures of schools because of coronavirus, the Lansing School District continues to  offer free lunch pickups to parents and students. Any family member is welcome to stop by at one of the food distribution locations, located all over the city. Food pick up is available Monday-Friday. Pick up times change as the process is refined. Up-to-date information can always be found on the district website:

This was offered due to the many students who rely on school lunches during their day. According to the Lansing State Journal, on the first day of the program the district distributed meals for 5,000 kids and 725 adults. Each bag includes milk, juice, a snack bar and a sandwich. 

“The district made a great move by providing free lunches because of all those parents who are getting laid off, it is great how they are helping the community and how it’s not just the district but many other organizations who are out helping people in need,” said former Everett student Briana Vazquez.

While the state is under a strict Stay At Home order through at least April 13, leaving your home to get food is considered a necessity, and is allowed under the order. The food distribution is a part of that order. Volunteers helping distribute food are also allowed to leave their homes to help pass out meals.

March 24, 2020
Senior Sidney Stewart is sad to be missing the end of her senior year, especially her last soccer season. While spring sports haven’t officially been cancelled as of March 25, hope that Stewart and her teammates will have one more season is fading.

Stewart: ‘I’m not ready to let go of high school soccer’

by Maleni Esquivel

For most seniors, the probable loss of prom and many senior-only activities due to the COVID-19 crisis is a tough thing to deal with. For a smaller group of seniors, the loss of their very last chance to play a spring sport hurts even more. Senior Sidney Stewart wanted a chance to enjoy at least a few moments on the field as a senior.

“Soccer season is one thing I look forward to every spring, It keeps me busy and [makes me happy],” said Stewart. 

Spring athletes have been conditioning since winter break, running the halls and getting ready to give their best their senior season. 

“It’s my last year and I’ve worked hard trying to get into shape and be as ready as I can. I’m not ready to let go of high school soccer or bonds that I have with my teammates. It’s just missed opportunities to be something great,” said Stewart. 

The MHSAA hasn’t officially ruled out a shorter spring sports season. In an interview with WILX on March 24,  MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl referenced the current April 13 date that Governor Gretchen Whitmer has set as a possible date for the current “Stay At Home” order to expire.

“Ultimately it will be a decision made by our board and we’re going to get some options in front of them and we’ll see what April the 13th brings and we’ll go from there,” Uyl said. Unfortunately for seniors, more and more discussion from medical and school leaders hints that the closure could extend beyond April, possibly until the end of the school year. None of this is official, though, as the state and the world watches to see how effective the current shelter-in-place order is at beating the virus.

Stewart and many others are struggling to find a silver lining in the closure.

“It’s nice to have a break from the stress of school and everything [that comes with school, like the work.] It gives us time to catch up on any work that we have. Realistically school work is the last thing on our mind,” said Stewart. 

As of today, it is still possible that the virus recedes and learning and school sports resumes mid-April. Things change daily. What the next week or two brings, no one yet knows.

March 23, 2020
Oronde Stokes is spending lots of time with his video game controller lately. Originally he thought he could pick up more hours at his fast food job during the shutdown, but that did not work out.

Extra hours during the break? Think again.

by Michael Leek

As week one of the coronavirus break nears its end most places have been shut down, fast food restaurants are only drive through and most people have stayed in the house. Junior Oronde Stokes works at Chick-Fil-A, and thought he was going to be able to rack his hours up at work. His managers had other plans. 

“They took me off the schedule for this week,” said Stokes. “I guess the older people need the hours more than me so they schedule them first,” said Stokes. “They did schedule me for two days only next week though.”

The coronavirus has started to disrupt people’s money flow and has also put a plague of boredom over the students.

“I’ve just been at home playing [games] working on my room, there’s not really much else to do because everything is closed,” said Stokes.

There has also been talk of keeping the schools closed longer than anticipated. Many people are wondering how the school year will turn out for things like the SAT, prom, finals, etc.

“I was supposed to take the SAT this year but I’m not even sure what is going to happen anymore. I’m just bored at this point,” said Stokes.


March 21, 2020
The pandemic shutdown has changed daily life for everyone. Most of those changes are not good, but for one student it means being able to spend time with her newborn niece and help out by babysitting while other family members work.

A shutdown upside: an extra set of hands

by Emylie Gillette

The school shutdown is affecting millions of people. In my house, there is at least one positive side. My sister has a newborn, only one month old. Now that I’m home, she has another set of hands to help care for her new daughter.

“It’s really great to have my sister home because now I can get other things done since I have more hands with my daughter,” she said.

My sister also doesn’t have to worry about our mom, who works third shift,  watching my niece when my sister goes to work.

“When I go back to work my sister can watch her instead of our mother; [we can] let her sleep.”

March 20, 2020
Band director Penny Filonczuk sits at a piano Elvis once played. She and her students visited the RCA studio, where the piano resides, on their trip to play in the Nashville Christmas Parade in 2019. Filonczuk said that during the shutdown she hopes her students are remembering to practice their instruments.

Filonczuk: ‘I hope my bandos aren’t letting their instruments gather dust’

by Colleen Pender

Many people in the Everett community are being affected by the school being shut down due to COVID-19. Some people are enjoying the ‘break.’ No school, no worries, right? However, that’s not the case for Everett’s band director, Penny Filonczuck.

I really dislike not being at Everett with my students,” said Filonczuck. 

The Coronavirus has kept many people from doing the things they enjoy doing on a daily basis. The CDC recommends everyone practice social distancing. This means no parties, no sports events, no concerts, nothing. Even local restaurants are only accepting takeout and drive-through orders.

“My husband and I enjoy going out once or twice a week for a meal,” said Filonczuck. “We will miss that but are planning to place to-go orders instead from our favorite restaurants,” she said. 

Everett’s marching band is involved in many events and has been praised for its performances statewide. Being that talented requires lots of practice, inside and outside of school. 

“I’m hoping my bandos are not letting their instruments gather dust during this time away from school,” said Filonczuck. 

Social media is a very important thing during this time. Many people use it to communicate, spread news, spread awareness, etc. Right now, many schools and teachers are using it to give updates to the community. 

“I try to post daily to our band Facebook page,” said Filonczuck.

Even though the shut down might be inconvenient for Americans right now, there are many people who think the government is doing the right thing by keeping everyone safe.

“I think our Governor did what she had to do to lower the spread of Covid-19,” said Filonczuck.

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