As the KO community heads into March, it seems that things may finally be looking up. With masks coming off, a return to “normal” times, and the promise of an eventful spring, perhaps we have finally turned the corner from a stressful and gloomy two years—and we should be thankful.

On Monday, Feb. 28, the KO community finally parted ways with a mask mandate after nearly a year and a half, allowing students, teachers, and staff alike to see smiling faces in and outside of the classroom. While the community remains undoubtedly concerned about the still-ongoing pandemic, this decision was a step in the right direction. In the words of Head of School Thomas Dillow, it is time for us to manage our lives amidst a COVID-19 world instead of letting it control us.

The end of the mask mandate has allowed the KO campus to look more normal than ever, bringing back many traditions we have been accustomed to. The lunchroom has returned mostly to normal, with students congregating around small tables, interacting naturally, and enjoying the presence of one another. These quick conversations and these tiny moments are integral to the high school experience—in a year where lunch tables were partitioned with plexiglass dividers and quick interactions were hindered by masks and social distancing, the sense of community on campus took a significant hit.

Now that we have finally persevered through this challenging period, it is time to look on the bright side. We need to rebuild the splintered nature of our community, reaching out to our fellow peers, demonstrating good morals and core values, and being appreciative of the opportunities around us. 

It seems that there will be no better time to embrace this new mindset than this spring. For the past two years, the springtime—often known for exciting traditions and events—has been tremendously altered due to the pandemic. Proms were turned into casino nights, form events went virtual, and KO’s beloved commencement was altered to ensure safety amidst growing case rates, hospitalizations, and deaths. With KO planning to carry out all spring events just as they were before the pandemic, it seems that there is a lot to look forward to in these coming months.

Overall, we, as the student body and campus community, should change our rhetoric, sentiment, and mindset this upcoming spring to reflect the appreciation we hold towards this school. Oftentimes, we criticize aspects of the school that don’t affect our overall experience in the big picture; the KO News editorial staff acknowledges that we possess these shortcomings, and at times, even propagate this criticism.

However, in the last editorial from the 2021-22 editorial board, we would like to offer an alternative message of appreciation and optimism. We have three more months together as a community—three months that will hopefully be untouched by the mires of the past year—masks, social distancing, and a lack of cohesion and unity on campus. Together, let’s finally put the pessimistic criticism behind us, and move forward, looking up and turning the corner.