School community reflects on pandemic anniversary

Principal, nurse and senior remember March 12, 2020


Ava Amos

On March 10, the basketball Sectional played at Lawrence Central was packed with fans. Two days later on March 12, in-person classes would take place for the last time during the spring semester.

Tory Basile, Reporter

With the one-year anniversary of the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States upon us, many have found themselves in the position of reflecting on the rapid change it created and the grief that it ushered into our communities last spring.

One year and one week ago, students and faculty left the Hill under the assumption that they would return in April after a few weeks and possibly even looked forward to what felt then like an extra long spring break. 

Of course, this was not the case.

Principal Mrs. Julie Barthel, school nurse Mrs. Marianne Vogt ’86 and senior Andrew Marcou reflected on the decision to close last year, and the vast impacts that Covid would soon foster in their lives. 

Barthel said she remembered March 12, 2020 as being a day of decision making. “We were in a leadership meeting most of the day in the Hood Conference Room, planning the announcement to let the students and teachers know that Cathedral would not be coming back the next day.” 

Barthel noted that she ultimately realized the gravity of the pandemic after seeing its effects on the school community firsthand. She said, “When the NCAA canceled the men’s basketball tournament last year, we knew it was serious. (Also), Cathedral played in the basketball Sectional last year at Lawrence Central and the gym was extremely full. It was standing room only. That was on March 10. Cathedral let out on March 12. Many people from that Sectional got sick and some even passed away from Covid who attended the games. It was extremely  heartbreaking.” 

When the NCAA canceled the men’s basketball tournament last year, we knew it was serious.”

— Principal Mrs. Julie Barthel

Furthermore,Vogt reflected on how quickly the pandemic affected healthcare workers’ daily lives, including her own. Vogt, who was working as a school nurse at Riverside Junior High in Fishers last spring, said, “We kind of had word that we were going to be closing down. So I was preparing for that and getting kids, especially diabetics, their supplies and things to go home, because we knew something big was coming. We really, really thought it was (only) going to be two to three weeks, and that seemed huge that we were going to shut down for so long.” 

Vogt, who is employed through the Community Health Network, remembered that as the day went on, she began receiving more information from the hospitals than from the school.

The school nurse said, “Community said (healthcare workers) were all being called into the hospitals then. I left (school) that day, and thought I would be coming back Monday, (but) then they told us ‘we need you’ and we were sent all over the place. I ended up working at five different places in the next six weeks – at the hospital, at a cancer center, at an outpatient clinic doing Covid stuff. So I went from the job I’d had for 25 years to being sent all over the place. It was kind of a crazy day.” Vogt said she contracted Covid last April while working in a hospital, but recovered.   

Still, Vogt stressed that she is optimistic regarding the future and Covid. She said that she is awaiting the day that everyone, especially teachers and students, can be vaccinated, and notes that “it’s coming soon, and it’s going to be a lot better.” For Vogt, it’s incredible that “none of us had ever (lived through) something that big, and you guys are in the height of it. We’re learning every single day, and as you learn, you change. That’s how medicine has to work.” 

Vogt said, “I think for kids, as bad as it was living through this, it’s something you’ll never forget.” 

Marcou echoed this notion. He said, “(I can) remember every detail from that day. They made the announcement at the end of the day. It sucked. I was upset that Coffeehouse (Jam) had been canceled, especially since my group and I had worked so hard for it. It was not a good day.” Coffeehouse Jam, scheduled for March 12, was the first school event to be canceled and was to be an evening at which student musicians share their talents with their peers over coffee and refreshments. 

Marcou said he realized Covid would be a much larger issue than he originally thought when his mother contracted it. He said, “That was pretty scary. She ended up getting over it really fast, but I still knew a lot of people weren’t as lucky.” Marcou also noted being disappointed that his spring volleyball season and school band trip to Hawaii were canceled. 

He said, “Missing all that really sucked, and the impact it had on everyone was very clear. Nonetheless, we are all making the most of it this year, and (the band) just found out that we are going to Disney (World in Florida) at the end of this year.”

As a country and as a school community, everyone has been forced to adapt to new ways of living in the last year. Barthel recognized this, saying, “Covid has greatly impacted schools across the country and I am extremely proud of the Cathedral educators and staff for putting together an amazing safety plan so we could be in school face to face.”