Lost & Found in the Pandemic

One year ago, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic and Foote School, like so many others across the world, abruptly closed its campus. In the 12 months since, we have endured so much loss, from the profound to the trivial, while adapting to life under pandemic restrictions.

But the past year has also been one of growth and discovery. We learned to fill the empty spaces with new hobbies, new recipes, new songs, new books and movies, and outings to places we never knew about. We've made new friends and reconnected with old ones. And we've even found the upside of mask wearing, Zoom and socializing outdoors (winter s'mores, anyone?)

To mark the one-year anniversary of life under COVID-19, we asked students, teachers and staff to reflect on the past year. Inspired by the Humans of New York series, this gallery provides a portrait of the Foote community as we enter year two of the pandemic—changed but by no means diminished.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss not wearing masks because when I'm really hot my mask just makes it worse.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I am very happy I did not get the flu. (I also did not get sick in any way.)

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

There are two things I miss very much: One of them is singing together, both in music class at Foote and outside school with all of my professional choir colleagues. The other is visiting with my faraway family and friends. 

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

COVID has forced me to adapt my teaching, and that has meant learning new activities and new technology. That learning is going to stick with me, and I'll have more tools to use in the future. More broadly, I also think that post-COVID, we will feel deeper gratitude for all the things we miss right now and might have taken for granted before. 

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss not having to wear a mask because IT IS ANNOYING! 

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

A positive outcome about wearing a mask is that it keeps my face warm!

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

In terms of teaching, I miss seeing my kids working on a group project together. We still do breakout rooms via Zoom, and socially-distanced partner work, but there's something about the positive buzz in a classroom when four or five kids have their heads huddled over a puzzle, or they're sharing clay to build a 3-D map, or they're rehearsing a play they wrote themselves. I think these kinds of experiences are essential for student growth (and classroom fun!), so I'm really looking forward to the time when we can re-establish true group work.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I like the way the challenges of the past year have asked us to embrace new technologies; I can see Zoom and Google Classroom having a positive impact on how we structure communication with families and assess student work. I also like the enhanced focus on safety and disease prevention; I think this is the first year in my 21 years in the classroom that I haven't caught a cold! And yes, I'm knocking on wood as I write this...

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss playing inside with any friends because before COVID you could play with their stuff.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

We get our own iPads in school.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

Sitting in the faculty room for lunch, seeing colleagues from all over campus to catch up and connect. Taking Metro North to New York City for the day. Flying to different cities around the country to meet Foote alums.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you?

More time spent with my two 9th graders, and an appreciation of all that the teachers and staff do for students and families. 

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss playing soccer with other people, and going to school in person.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

Lots of things, including being able to spend more time at home and not having to get up as early

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss having birthday parties in the backyard with all my friends and playing with them. I haven't seen a lot of them either. They moved away or because of COVID I haven't seen them. I also miss going on big trips to other places and seeing my family. I miss being close to each other. I wish we didn't have to wear a mask and I wish COVID was over.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

Plain and simple, hugging! Family hugs, like with my mom, sister, nieces and nephews. Hugging an old friend whom I haven’t seen in a while. Hugging a new friend I just met and spoke with for hours. And just hugging someone who needs a hug.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

At Foote a positive for me has been getting to know a lot more of our students doing drop-off, pick-up and recess duties. I love seeing kids skip off to class in the morning and hearing about their days in the afternoon, and the 9th grade boys have promised me I can play soccer with them in the spring.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss hugs. I miss traveling, especially to visit friends at Yali. I miss chatting with students around the Harkness Table during lunch and doing the daily crossword with my team teacher Megan Williams.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I bake my own bread now. I Zoom with my adult sons every weekend, so even though I don't see them as often, I feel in touch with them. I'm finding myself thinking harder about what really matters to me. I discovered that I love gathering with friends around a fire, even in frigid weather.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss when I could hug people & I miss when I could go to restaurants without worrying and wearing a mask.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

Since COVID-19 started the positive things are when Foote School went in person.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

Eating out. Hanging out with friends. Walking around campus.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

Something that I don't like about COVID is that I can't go on vacation because I can't see different animals and see new cool places and seeing my family.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

Something that I like about COVID is that most factories closed and that is better for the Earth's polar bears and climate change and is also better for us.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss regular interactions. I miss traveling.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

More time with my brother who would otherwise be away at college.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss traveling and seeing my family and friends.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I have picked up new hobbies and made new friends.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss playing tag and four-square with my grade.

What is a positive outcome from the changes that have happened post-COVID?

Something positive is that I have got to spend a lot of time with my family and in nature.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss visiting my relatives and spending time with my cousins. They have grown so much since I last saw them. I miss being able to walk outside without a mask. Now, my glasses grow cloudy and my I am often in discomfort. I miss spending time with my friends outside of school. As soon as we leave campus, our conversations are cut short.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I am so glad that I have been able to spend more time with my mother, father and brother. We have been cooking, laughing and sharing more about our lives during the pandemic. Though online learning has been tough, I enjoy learning at my own pace in an independent fashion. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, I am so glad that I have been able to pursue new hobbies such as writing in a journal, photography and continuing to lose myself in intriguing books.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss no mask school because our faces could never get wet! I also miss seeing friends.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

Not having to wear a mask. Being able to travel. Playing organized sports.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you?

Having a lot of free time. Spending time with family. Life continuing.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

Before COVID-19 I went to gymnastics class and I miss doing it.

What is a positive outcome from the changes that have happened post-COVID?

I got a trampoline and a blow up pool and a slip and slide. Soon I hope I can enjoy them with my friends.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

Sleepovers. Traveling. Walking in hallways at school.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I learned to cook. A family member was able to get surgery quicker. We got a dog.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss Hawaii, in person Fridays and skiing.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

Smaller class, big desks, outdoor dinners.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

Hanging out with friends, not having to wear a mask, sleep overs.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I talk with friends more, making new friends,  having online interactions.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I wish I could still ski with my family.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I've been able to find new hobbies, such as liking snakes.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I have had more free time, to relax, to read and to try new hobbies.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss spending time with my family and going to see my grandpa in Florida.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

In quarantine I got to practice my ukulele more!

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss being able to hang out with my friends without masks on. I miss traveling. I miss going out to eat.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I've had more free time at home. I get my own individual desk at school. I've gotten to spend more time with my family.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

There are so many things, but one of the things I miss most about pre-COVID times is sharing holidays with friends and family.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

One of the greatest outcomes from the pandemic is finding new hobbies to pursue, like painting, hiking and biking. I have loved having more time at home with my family to spend time doing these things.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss being in person at school and dance classes.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I can focus more and learn better from home because there are fewer distractions.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

What I miss most are Foote School assemblies and May Day.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

One positive outcome is that I’ve gotten way better at typing!

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss not feeling as connected to the students, especially the new students.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

Family walks and being more disciplined about attending to my well-being (exercise, meditation etc.).

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

What I miss most about pre-COVID times is having my friends over to play.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

One positive outcome is that one day a week we start our day a little later and get to sleep in.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss waking up early for a flight and being in a new place by the afternoon. I miss spending the summer at a camp in Vermont. I miss getting to know the students' parents, sending in baked goods for class birthdays, and live music. 

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I am thankful for COVID because without COVID I would not be teaching here and I love Foote. (They needed more teachers for smaller classrooms). I am thankful for the faculty/staff book club we started. I am thankful I don't have to drive my kids around all the time! I am thankful for faculty meetings on Zoom.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss going on vacations and going to assemblies.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

A positive outcome is that I have more time for building stuff.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss playing soccer with people from other grades and the chance to meet new people. I miss sharing a desk while working on a group project. 

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I like that I have gotten to know the people in my class more closely because we are always together.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss going to sports arenas to watch teams play. I miss the roar of the crowd when the player makes a good play. I hope I can go back soon!

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

A positive thing is that it’s made me more patient and independent.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss playing with friends and doing things in person that I can’t do now.

What is a positive outcome from the changes that have happened post-COVID?

Something positive about COVID-19, is that I got to spend a lot more time with my family and camping with them!!!

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss sleep overs with my best friends.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

We don't have to perform the first 11 lines of the Aeneid at a competition.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

What I miss most about times before COVID is hanging out with my friends. I don’t like wearing masks either. 

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

One good thing about life now is that I wash my hands more often. 

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss going to the library. I miss going to museums. I miss having people over. I miss being able to travel.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I like that i have been able to get to know myself better.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss being able to hang out with my friends without masks on. I miss traveling. I miss going out to eat.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I've had more free time at home. I get my own individual desk at school. I've gotten to spend more time with my family.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss playing sports that I have always loved playing. I have missed playing football with my friends. I miss sleepovers, playing games, and playing football with my friends a lot. We used to hang out almost every weekend and have fun.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

COVID has made us go more online so I have learned a lot of computer skills that could be very useful in the future.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

The thing I miss most about about pre-COVID times is that you don’t get to go on vacation. I was supposed to go skiing in Utah, but we couldn’t go.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

One positive outcome from the changes is that ski lodges are less crowded. 

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss giving and receiving hugs, sitting next to friends while eating a delicious meal, and hanging out with my mom, sister, brother-in-law and nieces as often as I wanted. 

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I am more appreciative of the people and things I have in my life. I now have lots of plants because I developed a green thumb! Other positives: spending lots of time outside; getting to know students during drop-off, recess and pick-up.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss not wearing masks. I also miss going to the movies. 

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

The positive part of COVID is that I don’t need to wear a collared shirt to assemblies and I get to play with my friends online.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss not having to run back in the car to grab a mask when I forget. I miss smelling the candles at Yankee Candle with my family. I miss my big family Christmas party and our big classes. I miss not having to put in my password in stores and using face ID.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I've had more free time at home. I get my own individual desk at school. I've gotten to spend more time with my family.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

What I miss most about about pre-COVID times is being able to walk around the block to my friend’s house and playing without a mask.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

One positive outcome from changes we’ve made is that me and my friends got to play in our pool instead of traveling. 

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss being able to go anywhere in the summer. My parents take a week off from work and they take us to zoos, aquariums and beaches and it’s so much fun. I hate how COVID made me miss swim team and have to switch to another one.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I like that during COVID people are less busy because you can’t really do anything so you have more time to FaceTime your friends and do homework together or talk. It also allows you to pick up on hobbies like crafts!

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss being able to hug my friends and living free from a virus that is all around the world. I also miss just feeling safe around everyone without hoping not to get sick. I miss doing bike and ski races without having an order of teams and my team racing last .I miss just being with friends all the time (as much as possible) now I only call or rarely meet up with friends.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I like that we get to play outside.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

Ok, I miss a lot, but I miss seeing my grandparents normally the most, I’m finally going to be able to see them again soon.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

If there wasn’t a pandemic I would have had less time to play basketball with my dad.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss having a small child lean into me as we look at a book together or try to solve a math problem. I miss the hugs that small children want to share with you when they have had success with a task or 'just because'. I am sad that when a child reaches out to hold my hand that my first thought is that I shouldn't pull my hand away and that after a few minutes, I will need to get up and wash my hands.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I have learned how much my co-workers mean to me and the value of laughter throughout the day. This community remains an integral part of my life which became more evident when we weren't allowed on campus.  Now that we are here,  I realize all of the 'normal' things of being on campus that are still missing.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I really miss going over to my best friend's house and getting ice cream with her every day. One other thing is I miss seeing my friends all the time. I miss seeing them a lot. I also miss going to swim practice every day after school. But the biggest thing I miss is getting to see my family that live far away. I haven't seen some of them in over a year and that's really hard.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

On the bright side the restrictions have forced me to make friends in my class. Another thing is that because of all the restrictions no one is getting the stomach bug or a cold because we are being so much more careful. Another good thing about it is I got to do more tennis this summer because I couldn't go to sleep away camp, but I also miss going to sleep away camp. 

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I immensely miss going to New York on the weekends. The feeling and joy of Broadway and trying new types of food. I love the pretzels and ice creams carts. I especially miss strolling around Central Park. The feeling of being alive is such a thrill.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

A  benefit is the new teachers. I wouldn’t be where I am if the new teachers did not come to Foote. I am very grateful for that benefit.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss playing soccer with my friends everyday after school and not having to worry about getting a deadly disease.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

Because of COVID I wouldn't have gotten to know someone who later became one of my closest friends

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I like being with my friends at Foote School this year.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss being able to hang out with my friends and playing soccer in other states with my whole team.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

One positive thing about COVID is that a lot of people have come together to help others in their struggles.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

Being able to play touch tag.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

Being able to distance myself when I'm in a bad mood.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss being able to hang out with my friends in large groups. I also miss traveling to other countries.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I like having a smaller number of kids in our classroom and my own desk space, and it’s nice not having to walk around to class. (Though that’s just me being a little lazy)

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss not having to wear masks and going out to eat.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I learned how to play Minecraft.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss being able to live in a world where I’m not constantly worried about catching a deadly disease. I miss being allowed to sit next to my friends without the judgmental looks of others.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I love that I haven’t gotten sick in over a year with all of the mask wearing. If it wasn’t for COVID I would never have met one of my closest friends.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss seeing my friends.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I like spending time at home with my family.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss vacations and seeing more of my friends in person.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I discovered new hobbies and made friends over the internet that I wouldn’t have made if there wasn’t a pandemic.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss going to Colorado in the winter with my grandparents to ski because it makes me and my family happy. I miss going to Maine to my sleep-away camp to have the best summer ever. I miss seeing all my baby cousins and other family that live in different states. 

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

One positive thing that came out of COVID was that many people came together in unity to help people with their struggles. It also helped global warming because many people were not flying and driving everywhere. 

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss being able to play sports with friends. I also miss being able to not have a mask on.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

Something good that came out of COVID is helping the environment, global warming.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

The thing I miss the most is hugging.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

One thing I’ve noticed as a positive is that the Kindergarteners are incredibly independent. They’re able to carry all their belongings each morning and also at dismissal. I’ve even seen them be quite resourceful with their sleds, using them as a travois at times to cart around all their things.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

Getting together with friends.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

Reading books on the iPad.

What do you miss most about pre-COVID times?

I miss going to my basketball team's trip to nationals. We were going to go to nationals and we did not because of COVID-19.

What's something positive that has come out of this experience for you? 

I think a positive outcome of COVID-19 is it helped global warming because more people are at their houses.