How the COVID 19 Affects the OP Family

March 26, 2020

This series of stories, photos and other content hopes to provide our readers with localized news on how the global pandemic affects those of us who daily walked the halls together as the Oak Park family and how our lives have changed this month.

Lights on to celebrate senior class of 2020

On the original graduation date of Friday, May 15, the Oak Park fields were lit at 6:30 p.m. to celebrate the Class of 2020. Several students in caps and gowns came.



Wallace State Park trails are worth seeing

As you head outdoors looking for new hikes, try Wallace State Park.

Missouri offers many state parks, Check to see if they are open during COVID-19 before you go!

Wash your hands

COVID-19 is a deadly virus, so how can you help prevent you and your family from getting it?

There are many things you could do but the two main things are to stay at home and to wash your hands.

When you were younger you learned how to rub soap in between your hands and to sing “Happy Birthday” for about 20 seconds and then rinse them. However, you want to make sure you hit every surface of your hands, also scrub the most exposed parts of your wrist and then clean under your nails. 

Wash your hands more frequently, if you have to go somewhere wash your hands before you leave, it will help you and it will help other people too, you don’t want to give other people something that could be in your house even if it is a cold.

When you get home from going somewhere even if you were just going for a drive, wash your hands. When you walk into your house don’t touch anything unless you have to like the door handle or the faucet handle, wash your hands immediately for 20 seconds and wipe down your door handles. 


You are supposed to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds but with going into grocery stores or running errands, especially with the virus getting so bad, but songs like “Happy Birthday” and “ABCs” can get old.

Here’s just one of many COVID-19 songs from professional artists that we’ve seen trending recently. 

Neil Diamond “Hands.. washing hands”


AP Testing Changed Due to COVID-19

As the end of the school year rolls around, this means a lot of different things for high school students. For AP students specifically, it’s time to really start studying and preparing for the AP test they have been working toward all year long.

This year, due to COVID-19, many schools closed, which initially brought many questions to AP students’ heads: What about the AP test? Is there still going to be AP testing?

I have mixed feelings. The tests will be different, and I like having less content to cover, but the new schedule puts my AP tests three days in a row,” said junior David Bartlett. He takes AP calculus A/B, AP literature and composition, AP U.S. government, and AP seminar.

Not long after schools announced they were closing, College Board quickly put out information on what would be happening with AP testing- saying yes, it was still in motion. But, instead of testing at school, with proctors, it would be at home which concerned some students.

Personally, I don’t know if it’s fair. I know a lot of people who were counting on the multiple-choice questions for points, so this is going to be a challenge for those who don’t do well with writing,” said senior Skylar Small. “I think it will reflect what I’ve learned because I take the writing very seriously and it is what I have spent the most practicing. However, for the ones who didn’t take the writing seriously until we started eLearning, it won’t reflect what they know.” She takes AP literature and composition and AP psychology.

I have mixed feelings.”

— junior David Bartlett

Although students worry about the likes of others cheating, College Board is not. Putting out a statement that students will have to confirm identity, provide their work to their teachers afterwards, and that plagiarism detection software would be in use.

I think I’ll do well (on the test) but I’m not sure if I’ll do better than what I would have,” said Small.

This test would consist of one or two free response questions, each timed separately. Students will have two windows to take their test, May 11-22 or June 1-5.

“(I’m) studying outside of the classwork,” sophomore Ayah Abdelhameed said. She enrolled AP U.S. history, AP language and composition, and AP psychology.

Even with all of these changes, students are persevering and working hard to get a good score for their test.

My teachers are prepping us as much as they can with FRQ practices and just working on our writing skills,” Small said. “I haven’t done much outside of class work because the class is supposed to prepare us for the test.I want to score at least a three for college credit. It would help bring the cost of my college tuition down.”


Walking, sports and more can fill the time

Keeping fit is one of the many ways students have been filling their time.




Free for all: This or that

Stores are crowded, resources are thinning, and chaos is spreading. Every mother, father, aunt, uncle and guardian are rushing to get to the toilet paper before one another. It’s the end of the world – or so people think. 

No need to worry, here’s what people should keep in mind while shopping during these times. 

It’s safer to stay inside as much as possible.”

— sophomore Jaida Horne

Psychology tells us humans are biologically trained to prepare for when difficult situations are thrown at them. Some students keep preparation simple, shopping for only essential items.

“To me, essential items would be food, hygiene products, cleaning supplies and medications,” junior Sabreen Aban said. 

The definition of essential items may differ depending on who one talks to. 

“You don’t need many essential items. Food and water are the most important to me,” sophomore Gabriella Cedillo said. 

During times of panic, shopping seems a lot easier said than done. Many people struggle finding the items they’re looking for. 

“I get stressed out when shopping because it’s so crowded. It really makes you see the seriousness of this pandemic,” sophomore Izzy Christus said. 

While some people find it difficult to shop, others may not. 

“I don’t really find it difficult to shop. Sometimes, it’s just frustrating when an ingredient wouldn’t be there if I’m making something specific,” sophomore Jaida Horne said.

Many families handle this situation in different ways. Some are buying a decent number of essential items, while others stuffed their pantries as if it’s the beginning of an apocalypse. 

“You shouldn’t buy everything at once because that’s just being selfish considering there are thousands of other people currently going through the same pandemic. And especially if those families can’t afford buying everything at once,” Aban said. 

It is good to prepare for a crisis, but keep in mind other factors that partake in keeping one safe.

“You should stock up, but not heavily. Buy items to last at least a month or so, so you aren’t exposing yourself every week,” Christus said. 

Others agreed.

“You should over-stock on items because the virus is growing exponentially. It’s safer to stay inside as much as possible,” Horne said.


Spring fever has people heading to nature

Between the quarantine separation rules and the season, many people are headed outdoors these days.


Lunches provided curbside and at selected bus stops


Due to recommendations from the CDC, the school district changed the food delivery process. As of Monday, April 13, they will no longer be using district buses to deliver meals at bus stops. Food distribution will be increased from four to 12 school sites and pickup time is also changing and will be from 10am to 1pm through Monday and Friday. Here is the new grab and go locations.

  • Antioch Middle School
  • Crestview Elementary
  • Eastgate Sixth Grade Center
  • Linden West Elementary
  • Maplewood Elementary
  • New Mark Middle School
  • Northgate Middle School
  • North Kansas City High School
  • Oak Park High School
  • Rising Hill Elementary
  • Staley High School
  • Winnetonka High School

For further information go to NKCSCHOOLS.ORG/MEALS



The school district provides 8,000 free lunches daily to the 21,000 students district wide. Students under 18 may pick up lunches at one of the four high schools and at select bus stops.

For more information on routes and times, visit:


The district social media has been a major source of communications about food services during this time:

Live today like you won’t see tomorrow

Today, Thursday, April 9, 2020, at 3:12 p.m. everything changed in the state of Missouri.

Hearts were broken when thousands of students read the devastating news that we would not be returning back to school this year.

For someone who never really loved high school, you would think it wouldn’t affect me much.

In some ways I actually looked forward to the end. Not having to go to school every day. Not being around hundreds of students I really didn’t care to be around.

Not knowing what is going to happen with my graduation is the most unsettling feeling in the world.

As I sit here and reflect back on my 13 years of education, I feel everything from all the great teachers I had to the amazing peer relationships I’ve had. Thanks to many of our district’s phenomenal teachers, I can say I am glad to have grown up here in the Northland.

One teacher who has stood out in my education is Athena Graham, my fifth-grade teacher. She inspired me to be a teacher. She is very dedicated to what she does, in sixth grade I ended up being homeschooled due to social anxiety, and for Take Your Child to Work Day, she invited me to come to her class.

She showed me what it meant to be an amazing teacher. To not only care for your student’s educational life, but also their personal life. I always enjoyed getting her postcards in the mail, and I still have them. To this day, I still hear from her every once in a while. She will always be my favorite and most inspiring teacher I ever had, and I hope I am just as amazing of a teacher as she was.

Without all the love and support from so many in this district I truly would not be where I am today.

I am not ready for this to be over, or I guess I should say, I was not ready. Because it’s happening whether we like it or not.

In this these last few weeks, I looked for inspirational quotes because for me that always helps me through the rough times. I feel this quote is very fitting:

“There’s an end to every storm. Once all the houses have been ripped apart, the wind will hush, the clouds will part, the rain will stop. The sky will clear in an instant and only then, in those quiet moments after the storm, do we learn who was strong enough to survive it.” – Dr. Meredith Grey( Ellen Pompeo), “Greys Anatomy”, season 9, episode 24 “Perfect Storm.”

Eventually, we will see our friends, family, teachers, and others. We will shop whenever we want and go to the pool or get our hair and nails done.

But for now, we need to flatten the curve, we need to stay home as much as physically possible, or at least stay away from others. Even if that means no prom, no senior celebrations, no banquets or no concerts. And most painful, no gown to wear on May 15, and no caps flying to our future. Well, yet…

Even without competition, the show must go on

Band members have been using months worth of free time to prepare for their contest season. Due to closures, those competitions were cancelled.

Click THIS LINK to read about their solution and watch the collection of “Tiny Desk Recitals.”

Spring break brought my birthday, free time and quarantine

Spring break, the time of friends, family, warm weather. The last real break before summer hits. It’s a time for excitement, this one was going to be extra special on top of all of that, coming up with my sweet 16 on the first day of spring break.

But, as the week of freedom from homework, projects, testing neared the world slowly started to shut down more and more. Covid-19, the virus that has made the headlines globally, and the effort to stop the spread was becoming more and more intense. 

I tried to keep optimistic, no local cases had broken and I was sure everything would be fine. My birthday started off as planned, a family dinner at Olive Garden then a trip to Main Event. The dinner went rather smoothly, we enjoyed the Americanized, cheesy, delicious Italian food and I got to open my gifts. As we purchased our passes to Main Event, my phone got a bunch of notifications.

Spring break, in a sense, just got a whole lot longer. With an announcement from Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, schools were to be shut down for safety precautions. I was forced to face the reality of the virus creating chaos. 

Perhaps selfishly we continued our way around Main Event, we’d already paid for their Monday Night Madness passes and didn’t want to head home. As we did our activities, sanitizing every few moments, I couldn’t help but wonder what the rest of the week would be like. A lockdown. Kansas City, my city turned into somewhat of a ghost town as I’d never seen before. 

As I got home that evening, showering the public germs off as quickly as possible, I did what no teenager wants to do over spring break, I thought about school. How would this work? I still had a week to wait until I found out. 

As spring break carried on, as much as an introvert as I am, I found myself lonely sitting in my house with nothing but the internet and my dogs. With as much privilege that normally is, I was sad. I couldn’t visit my friends, spend time with my family outside of my house, anything. I allowed myself to spiral into entertainment. Starting four different series at once, reading a new book on top of practicing my own writing. Anything to keep me occupied. 

This spring break was like no other, with the knowledge I essentially wasn’t allowed to do quite a few things, I’d felt the urge to do more and more than I normally ever do. As I write this, it’s the same situation. 

This unique, prolonged time at home wasn’t the way I planned my spring break, but it still ended up being worthwhile. Being able to catch up on the things I like that schoolwork hadn’t allowed me to indulge in, maybe this shut down wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

As we, society, rest as much as possible indoors. Distance ourselves from each other and germs, the world is healing. I started to see more and more beauty online. Stories from around the globe of rivers clearing up, deer and geese freely wandering the empty roads, mother nature going back to her old self. 

What I learned from this spring break, and my overall review of it is it was a learning experience. It wasn’t thrilling, adventurous or any other thing one might relate to a spring break but it was relaxing, productive in its own forced quarantine, pandemic way.  


The year no one will forget

Quarantine. Something that sounds like a movie plot, or that seems surreal.

photo courtesy of
The COVID-19 virus has spread world wide.

What seemed like a new minor virus, Covid-19, a variety of coronavirus, has become a nation-wide threat.

At time of publication on Tuesday, March 24, according to the CDC, there are over 33,000 cases in the U.S. alone which means schools have switched over to online, restaurants have moved to drive through and delivery only, and there are no gatherings of over 10 people.

But what is it really like to be a student right now — just two days into eLearning?

“I’m honestly freaking out,” senior Kelcie Jones said. “I’m worried about how school is going to work until we go back or if we ever do get to go back before the 2019-2020 school year ends. I’m worried I have already walked my last day within the halls and had no idea of it. I’m worried that my senior year days finished with a blink.”

I’m worried I have already walked my last day within the halls and had no idea of it.”

— senior Kelcie Jones

The disease has mainly been fatal for older people and people who are immunocompromised, but with it being a widespread disease, there has been a lot of panic.

“The whole thing is kind of scary and it feels kind of surreal. The worst part of the Coronavirus is that a lot of store have run out of things like hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes and people who are immunocompromised can’t access them,” junior Leemu Masah said.

There are many opinions on whether there are enough things being done to prevent the spread of coronavirus. As of Tuesday March 24, Kansas City residents are to stay inside unless it’s to go to any essential services still available in hopes to help prevent the spread of the virus. Mayor Quinton Lucas issued the shelter-in-place for the KC metro area with advanced warning over the weekend.

“The worst part is that we’re so unprepared to deal with such a large problem. The only way to stop the hospitals from overflowing is to slow it down through quarantine,” junior Joran Brensdal said. “The most upsetting thing is how so many people treat the problem with a careless attitude.”

For the most current information on COVID19, follow the Center for Disease Control’s website at

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