Category Archives: Featured Posts

Corona Virus’s special qualities make it especially contagious

By Emily Ankers

Editor-in-Chief

As drastic changes in daily life have occurred due to the outbreak of the virus, Covid-19, many remain in the dark about what the virus truly is. In order to understand what this particular virus is and how it affects the human body, it is crucial to understand what a virus is in general terms

“A virus is on the borderline of alive and not alive and that’s why they can be hard to kill,” Mrs. Stone, a high school chemistry teacher, said. “Viruses are a piece of a nucleic acid, either DNA or RNA (Corona has RNA) and a protein shell.” 

Stone continued this thought by stating, “When the virus has made enough copies it bursts your cell and releases more viruses into your system that can go and infect even more of your cells. So a zombie apocalypse for your cells! All that breaking into and out of your cells is why you feel achy, feverish, and in general bad.”

Contracting a virus is fairly common, in fact, it is something that happens often for most of us. The coronavirus is not specific to the current virus circulating the world and causing the pandemic. Ordinary illnesses like the common cold and the flu are also categorized as a coronavirus simply because of the hooks that the cell has. 

Although other strains of the coronavirus are quite common, this strain, Covid-19, is new and therefore causing more issues. “One reason why Covid-19 is causing more of a problem than the common cold is that it is also a SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus. It being a SARS virus means that the virus attacks the lungs and, because this is a new strain, no one has immunity to it,” Stone said.

Even with Covid-19’s relation to the flu, there are quite a few differences between the two. For instance, the flu is a virus that has been circulating for some time now, meaning that people have begun to resist it. On top of the resistance is the vaccinations that were created and that are readily available in order to treat and prevent the flu. 

Covid-19 is also far more deadly than the flu. There have been many deaths from the flu, but nothing like the rates seen from Covid-19. “Even though flu can kill people, it isn’t as lethal as coronavirus and we don’t close down countries because of the flu,” said Stone. “If that wasn’t enough, coronavirus also seems to like to create lung damage and blood clotting that we don’t see with the flu.”

The lung damage seen as a result of Covid-19 is one of many reasons why some individuals are more at risk. “If you already have lung, immune, or circulation problems the virus can affect you more. Also, people with conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and other diseases don’t have as much strength to fight off this virus,” Stone said. “Additionally, people who live in urban areas and elderly people in nursing homes are especially vulnerable because so many people are closer together. The danger is anyone can get it and pass it on even if they don’t have symptoms. You may have it and not even know it, but you could give it to someone who is vulnerable and that is why everything is shut down right now”.

As of May 20th, York County has had 817 confirmed cases of Covid-19. The state of Pennsylvania as a whole has had 63,666 total confirmed cases with the entire nation having had 1.6 million confirmed cases.

Viewpoint: Traditional Graduation vs. Virtual Graduation

By Ryelee Stone                      

Opinions Editor

Black and gold decorations have filled Horn Field at the Red Lion Area Senior High School every year for the highly awaited graduation ceremony that celebrates the seniors. Unfortunately this year, the class of 2020 is not able to have this special moment due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Students that attend the Red Lion Area School District were informed on March 13 that the next two weeks they would not attend school because of the rapid spread of the coronavirus. Governor Tom Wolfe later announced that all Pennsylvania schools will be closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.

Governor Wolf has stated that the coronavirus outbreak has “made it impossible” to hold a traditional graduation ceremony. Secretary of Health, Rachel Levine, says that students may not even be able to attend school in person next year in the fall, much less have a graduation ceremony for the class of 2020.

To reopen the state, Wolf has a color system on when certain regions are allowed to start resuming to normal life. York County had been in the “red” phase and on the stay-at-home order until June 4.

While some students were excited about their “coronacation,” others realized all the events and opportunities they would be missing out on. Seniors were hit the hardest because they were not able to have their last spring sports season, a senior class trip, prom, or the rest of their high school experience.

With the coronavirus stealing many special memories from all students, but especially seniors, a traditional graduation ceremony should not be taken away as well.

Currently, a graduation committee is planning to have a virtual graduation for the class of 2020 on Friday, June 5, at 6:45 PM. “Our hope is that the students can dress in their caps and gowns, watch the ceremony from the safety of their homes, to hear the different speeches and the reading of the names of all of our graduates, and celebrate with loved ones,” said head principal Mark Shue in an email that was sent to students and parents.

Although it is not a traditional graduation ceremony, it is an attempt to honor the students and their last high school year coming to an end. However, this was still upsetting for many people because these students put years of work into their educational careers and will now not be able to walk a stage and be handed their diploma in front of a cheering crowd.

Although it is understandable that it will not be safe to hold a graduation ceremony at this time, the school’s administration should be doing more or looking at other options to make this special tradition be the best that it can be. Students should be able to receive their diploma wearing their caps and gowns in front of those who love, care, and support them throughout their educational journey.

For some students, they do not have any significant memories of winning their first game or meet on a high school sporting team. Those same teenagers may not have participated in any extracurricular activities or had the best high school experience, so their main positive memory of their success would be a graduation ceremony. 

Instead of canceling the ceremony early, they should have postponed it until August instead. Some parents and community members felt that they made this call too early on and could have waited to see all of the possible choices. Postponing this event would have shown that the administration fully cares about the voices of the students, parents, and the community.

Another option for this dilemma is that students could be handed their diplomas while wearing their caps and gowns by the principal in front of their families one by one. This process would be very time consuming but would show that the administration values traditional, meaningful graduations and the opinions of everyone. 

This one-on-one graduation substitution could span over a series of days late in the summer to ensure that the health of everyone is being prioritized. This option would allow students to be in proper graduation attire and let family members capture a special moment in their seniors’ life. Even though it would not be a traditional graduation ceremony, this would be the closest choice that still holds some of the aspects and feelings of one. 

By attempting to have a virtual graduation, it almost seems as if everyone is trying to conclude these challenging circumstances. Everyone wants to start over and have life return to “normal,” so certain events are not being carried out to their full capacity at a later date. Sports banquets, birthday parties, and more have all been cut short because people want to forget about this time in history.

Substitutions to everyday activities and special events during the Covid-19 outbreak are starting to seem like something cool and memories that can still be appreciated, simply because it is something different to what we are used to experiencing. Although virtual conversations and other substitutions to life are better than nothing, it should not be seen as equivalent to traditional events that hold sentimental value to everyone across the nation. 

Because so many exciting events and special occasions have been already taken away from students, the graduation committee should be trying even harder to fulfill the needs and wants of everyone when regarding a graduation ceremony. These seniors deserve closure from high school experience, especially since they were cheated of their last school year.

While this pandemic has been extremely challenging for all, it is not an excuse to fail to give the class of 2020 a meaningful graduation that they fully deserve. For some students, this was a moment that they were dreaming of their whole lives because it signals their success and a new chapter of their life alongside those they grew up with.

Even though it is not safe at this time to hold a traditional graduation ceremony, more options should be considered so the seniors have a true memory of them officially graduating after years of hard work and dedication. However, it is important for all of us to keep in mind that safety comes first and that these questionable times have impacted everyone in various shapes and forms.

The views and opinions expressed at TheLeonid.com are those of the authors and do no necessarily reflect the official policy of The Leonid or of Red Lion Area School District. Any content provided by our bloggers is of their own opinion and is not meant to malign or cause harm to any individual or entity.

Missing Spring Sports: Seniors Savor Last Moments

By Julia Beiler, Sports editor

Springtime is filled with blooming flowers, rainy days, and rising temperatures. With the start of new life is also the start of spring sports all across high schools. Student athletes prepare through the long winter to be ready for their spring sport to finally begin. 

For seniors, this is the year that they will most likely remember forever. This is their last year of high school and participating on a high school level. For those who won’t be playing on a collegiate level, their high school careers as an athlete will be coming to an end. The Senior Season is something that is special to those athletes, something that they will remember forever, and memories that will last a lifetime. 

Although senior seasons should be a glorious and unforgettable time, this year’s seniors are facing upset as schools have closed for the remainder of the year. 

The recent COVID-19 outbreak is the result of sports seasons getting cut short. On April 9,  PIAA announced that the spring and winter sports season ended for the remainder of the 2019-2020 year. This took in effect after Governor Tom Wolf declared that schools were closed to in-person learning for the rest of the school year. 

Disappointed seniors all across high schools are facing the fact that they will never get their last practice, their last game, their last bus ride, and they won’t get their senior nights. 

Dedication and commitment has gone into preparing for the season to begin, and it has all been washed away for so many student athletes. For those athletes that have been doing their sports for a long time and worked so hard for so many years, are now feeling the pain of not earning their senior season. 

“Senior year is what you look forward to,” senior Kaiya Edwards said. “We had a really good group of girls this year and we can’t get to play with them.”

Kaiya Edwards has been playing lacrosse since the fifth grade. In those seven years of playing, never did she think that her senior year playing for Red Lion would not happen because of a global pandemic.  

One of the values of the spring season, according to Athletic Director, Mr. Arnold Fritzius, is for scouts to check out up-and-coming athletes.  

“There would have been some volleyball coaches coming out to see the boys play this spring to see ‘Is Johnny as good as they says he is’ or “Should we take a shot a Jimmy…everyone says he can set, but we’ve never seen it,’” Fritzius said.  “[Coaches] are pretty sure of what they think, but for them to come to a Northeastern or Central volleyball game and see kids play at their highest level, they might take a chance on somebody.”

Nothing was set in stone for this season. There was no way of knowing how successful each team would be, but they never got to prove their worth this year.

“We don’t know if lacrosse was going to have a good season,” Fritzius said. “We don’t know how well baseball, or volleyball, or track was going to be, but it doesn’t matter.  We wanted to let those kids have a chance to compete and see if they could beat some teams they aren’t supposed to beat and beat some teams they were supposed to beat. But now they lose that chance.” 

Schools want to honor their senior sports players. At Red Lion, Fritzius is working hard with other athletic directors across the state to find a way to show admiration for the seniors at Red Lion. “Nobody has a clear-cut answer to what we’re going to do, but all we know we’re going to do something,”

This isn’t just something that is affecting these certain seniors, coaches and administration are seeing the pain the sports seniors are going through and they want to do something for them, even if they don’t know what that will be yet. 

“We are all just talking about what can we do to send these kids off with as good of a send-off as we possibly can,” Fritzius said. 

Something that can be taken away from this worldwide pandemic is you are never guaranteed another game or another practice. No one ever knows what just might happen tomorrow. 

“Appreciate the four years,” Edwards said. “Because you never know when your last high school game will be.”

Governor Wolf closes schools as COVID-19 causes major changes in school events

by Daphne Riddle

Junior Editor-in-Chief

Check out the timeline below.

“We need to understand that we are all in this together and that we all need to support each other.”

Mr. Mark Shue, Principal

In news reports from April 9, Governor Wolf closed all Pennsylvania schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. There is no information about where this will lead the district’s academics and scheduled events.

 On Friday, March 13, 2020, students, teachers, and staff at all Red Lion Area schools got the unlucky news that schools would close for at least a two week break out of caution of the virus, COVID-19. Since then, the spreading pandemic has changed life as known, as closures have been extended and other public places have been temporarily closed. 

“During times of great tragedy and unrest, public schools are the glue that hold communities together,” said Principal Mr. Mark Shue. “That is why it is very important that we do what we can to keep our students engaged and connected with the High School.”

Many questions linger regarding end of the year events that could be affected by the quarantine. Seniors in the high school have raised concerns about prom and graduation.

Mr. Shue sent a letter out March 27  saying that the district is planning on keeping these events on the calendar for the students. In the letter, it was said that seniors have worked hard for years, and the school wants to do everything they can to keep these events planned as a reward for the students’ hard work. “We,” said Mr. Shue,  “are going to do everything that we can to hold the end of the year events that Seniors hold dear.”

From a school perspective, classes have been moved to online learning until the unknown time of return to regular schooling. Starting on March 30, teachers gave thirty minutes of work for each period, three days per week. This allows teachers to continue teaching their course’s content, although not to the full extent that could be reached in a classroom. 

Other schools have made the decision to go on a pass or fail basis for the remaining period of the year. Red Lion, however, has chosen to continue with normal grading methods. 

The school may change the amount of work given, however, based on the level course. Red Lion’s main priority the first few weeks was to allow kids to adjust to the new way of learning, but once the change becomes more normal, more work could be distributed depending on the level of the class. 

Many questions linger regarding end of the year events that could be affected by the quarantine. Seniors in the high school have raised concerns about prom and graduation.

Although many events throughout the school have been cancelled due to the pandemic, the Senior High has been working to create new ways to keep students interacting and feeling a part of the school community. 

The Board of School Directors will hold a virtual school board meeting Thursday, April 16 at 7 p.m. Virtual attendees must register with a code and follow the directions for participation outlined on the web page. 

The week of April 6-9, the Student Council held a virtual spirit week. The planners included themes such as extracurricular day, hats off to essential workers day, animal day, and Red Lion Pride day to keep students participating in a school “event”. Kids were asked to take pictures of themselves participating and post them on social media for other students to see. 

Staff from the school also worked together to make a TikTok account for the Senior High as another way of keeping the students and staff involved in a school-like environment. The video featured school faculty and staff smiling and waving, spreading positivity to the students and staff stuck in their homes.  

Through these tough times, it is important for the schools to stay connected with the students. “We need to understand that we are all in this together,” said Mr. Shue, “and that we all need to support each other.”

News Update: Pandemic creates online public schooling system

By Ryelee Stone
Opinions Editor
Students across the nation are waking up and getting ready for school at whatever time they please, just to simply sit back down on their bed or at another comfortable spot in their own house. By just opening up a laptop or pulling out a smartphone, public school students are now taking online classes. 

The Red Lion Area High School is now providing education by having teachers assign their students 30 minutes of online work on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. This distance learning system will continue until the end of the 2019-2020 school year since Pennsylvania schools are now closed.

“At first we were hopeful that this wouldn’t last long,” head principal Mark Shue said. “What we wanted to do was avoid giving the students too much work. We are going to start with these limitations and as things progress, we will see if we need to adapt our system.”

The world is currently upside down due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus, also known as the coronavirus. According to the
World Health Organization, this new virus was unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. However, due to people traveling, there are now over 1,000,000 coronavirus cases and 50,000 deaths from the disease in the world. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the three main symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath may only show until 2-14 days after exposure. To protect yourself, you can wash their hands for at least 20 seconds regularly, avoid touching your face, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at your house, avoid large crowds, and avoid all non-essential travel.

The country has taken many measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, such as President Trump implementing the rule of social distancing until April 30, 2020 so there is less contact among people in public. In addition, many non-essential businesses have been shut down or the employers must work from home as another way to “flatten the curve.”

In Pennsylvania, governor Tom Wolfe declared that schools are officially closed for the rest of the school year so that the health of staff members and students is not being compromised. Although there are many concerns during this time, how students are continuing their education during a pandemic is a major concern that many families have.

Some classes are easier than others to have students learn and look over the information on their own. However, the students are always permitted to have Google Meet sessions with their teachers if they need any assistance or explanations of their material.

“I am concerned about my students taking the AP test later in the year since the test changed and we had to switch gears,” physics teacher Charlene Wyrick said. “It’s difficult to provide effective feedback on free response questions and we can no longer do labs. I’m trying a Google Meet just for my AP class today to discuss common mistakes and correct problem solving techniques for the assignments I post.”

Advanced Placement tests and how teachers are helping students are only some of the concerns regarding distance learning. There are some courses where it seems almost impossible to learn everything someone may need to know or do all of the hands on activities offered, such as tech education or gym classes.

“In my class, I am focusing more on the cognitive aspects of the activities I am teaching as opposed to the physical aspects of the games and activities,” physical education teacher Tom Bell said. “My hope is the students will better understand the concepts associated with the game and activity though watching a video and answering questions that go along with the video, or completing a skill specific worksheet.”

This whole system is new to everyone, but the Red Lion Area High School staff is working diligently to make the best out of a daunting situation. Having to transfer to the distance learning system was not only shocking at first, but it only revealed more downfalls as time went on.

“I am disappointed that we all cannot physically be at school because during physical education class the students have the opportunity to be active, and for some this may be the only exercise or activity they get in a day,” Bell said. “Exercise has so many benefits, both for the body and the mind, I think it is important for the students to do some form of exercise or activity every day.”

Although teachers and students alike are quickly adapting to these life altering changes, it can be especially difficult for students. This is the first time students have experienced a national emergency that has scared the whole world, however, they still need to continue their educational pursuits. 

“On one hand, I like being home and getting to spend time with my family, while also getting to work on school assignments at my own pace,” junior Mera D’Aquila said. “On the other hand, it doesn’t even really feel like school to me because my assignments have been significantly reduced. The Google Meets have been helpful, but nothing can ever compensate for talking to somebody in person.”

No one, especially the seniors, expected this to be the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Even though many students, faculty members, and parents are dimmed by this whole experience, it is all for the safety of everyone.

“This isn’t replacing traditional education, this is an emergency,” Shue said. “This is the best that we have at this time.”
The teacher and the students of the journalism class are communicating with each other by using the platform Google Meet. The Red Lion Area Senior High School staff are using the Google Meet platform as an easy way to talk to and see their students during the stay at home order due to the spread of COVID-19. 

High school administration gives new consequences to students who vape

By Ryelee Stone                  

Opinions Editor

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been a total of 2,711 hospitalized cases due to e-cigarettes and vaping products as of Jan. 21, 2020. In 27 states and the District of Columbia, there have been 60 confirmed deaths that have also been linked to vaping.

Vaping is the action of using electronic devices such as e-cigarettes to inhale nicotine, which is an addictive chemical. These devices were marketed as a “healthier” option for those who smoke traditional cigarettes.

However, e-cigarettes have fallen into the wrong hands and have caused many health complications, as well as hooking a new generation onto nicotine. There are a variety of reasons why individuals may vape such as mental illnesses, peer pressure, social media, and more. 

“I vape because that is how I deal with my anxiety,” a local senior girl said. “Sometimes it is just what I turn to in order to find comfort and to calm my nerves.” 

Vaping is an ongoing issue in the nation and in other parts of the world that has affected teenagers. School administrations now have the responsibility of ensuring that students do not vape during the school day.

At Red Lion Area Senior High School, there are students who attend there that vape daily. The school has taken certain measures to try to educate students about this ongoing epidemic. 

“The people that developed vaping lied to you,” principal Mr. Mark Shue said. “They said it wouldn’t hurt you and that’s not true.”

Health classes and different programs are provided so students have the opportunity to learn about the dangers of e-cigarettes. New programs and other propositions are being set into place in an attempt to reduce the number of teenagers who vape.

“We want to educate people so they can make educated decisions,” Shue said.

Not only is vaping a health and safety concern, but it has also created many conflicts between students.

“It [vaping] seemed like it created tension between the kids going to the bathroom,” Shue said. “Some kids thought it was cool, but there were a whole bunch of kids who saw it as an annoyance.”

Instead of using the bathrooms just for their traditional purpose, teenagers will sometimes take a “bathroom break” as an opportunity to vape. As a response, the school installed vape detectors to try and prevent students from vaping in the bathrooms.

“It [vape detectors] has acted as a deterrent,” said Shue. “Once we put the vape detectors in, it helped with the attitude of the students and the frequency.

If students are caught vaping, they may be suspended regardless if they are of age to use tobacco products or not. Recently, a new penalty has been added to the possible consequences that students may face if they are found to be vaping in school.

A newsletter was emailed to parents/guardians and students by superintendent Dr. Scott Deisley about the new rules regarding tobacco products, and the enforcement policies that school districts are allowed to use. Governor Wolf signed House Bill 97 into law that states schools are now allowed to fine students and adults who use tobacco products on school grounds.

“Please understand that as of January 26, 2020 students and adults possessing nicotine delivery products on school property will be subject to summary citations and fines that may be in excess of $200. Fines for possessing THC or THC delivery products may result in greater fines and criminal consequences.”

Red Lion Area Senior High School administration has also been focusing on enrolling students who are found vaping in school into educational programs. In these sessions, students have conversations with the school social worker, Mrs. Brandy Shealer, about the harmful effects of vaping.

“I have worked with over 40 students so far this year,” Shealer said. “I am hoping to send out a survey at some point this year to gauge the impact the sessions have had.”

Vaping is currently not FDA approved and is not safer than smoking cigarettes. If you or someone you know is struggling with quitting, call this hotline 1-800-QUIT-NOW for help. Another option is to seek more information or help from Mrs. Shealer in room number C210 or to email her at shealerb@rlasd.net.

“I have seen a dramatic improvement from walking the halls and going into the bathrooms since they are both emptier,” Shue said. “From a number standpoint, vaping in school has decreased and fewer people are being caught on their second offense. I’m very happy with this outcome, however, there is still more improvement to be made.”

Shaw Shows Success in Strong Season

Margaux Rentzel

Social Media Editor and Marketing Director

Junior Makiah Shaw dribbles down the court while looking for her team to work with her to win the game. The game was played in the Fitzkee center on January eighth against Dallastown. Photo by Randy Fizer.

SWIIIISHHHHH! The six-foot forward, Makiah Shaw shoots the basketball and scores yet another basket. Shaw’s long arms help her to maintain the block when playing the game. The sounds of squeaky shoes, screaming fans, and the blows of a whistle fill the Fitzkee center when the Lady Lions basketball team plays. The gymnasium is filled with ecstatic fans, parents, and friends cheering for the basketball team. 

The juniors on the Lady Lions basketball team have displayed success this season. Only one senior on the team has caused the five juniors to step up and offer more guidance than juniors on the team have had to in the past. 

“Those juniors have had to take a leadership role on the team,” head coach Don Dimmof said. “And they have done a very nice job of that.”  

Shaw, as well as the other juniors, have shown their guidance and leadership on the team to not only each other but also to the younger players. 

“During times of sadness they pick us back up and give us encouragement,” sophomore and player on the Lady Lions basketball team, Maddie Barlow said. “They are like big sisters to us.” 

Forward Makiah Shaw has shown success in her season by totaling 21 points in a single game, 12 points of which were over the arch. Shaw has been the leading scorer in a number of games but has her team to thank for working together so well with her. 

Compared to other forwards in the league, Shaw is on the smaller side but that does not belittle her athletic capability. 

“Everyone always wants to look at the points and that is obviously important,” Dimmof said. “But she’d be the first to tell you her teammates are a big reason she is the leading scorer.” 

Shaw and her team have gone 19-4 for their 2019-2020 season, and are far from done. 

“I am just working on being the best player I can be,” Shaw said. “And I think I’ve done a pretty good job at that.” 

Shaw started playing basketball when she was six years old and has not stopped since. She has come back every year to play basketball and fuel her passion for it and hopes to take that enthusiasm to college for basketball. 

“I just love the game and how intense it can be.” Shaw said. “I have always been in love with the sport which has motivated me to come back to it.” 

Some current players that she played with when she was younger include Chloe Tollinger, Asia Eames, Madisson Shellenberger, Julia Bieler, all of whom are juniors with Shaw, and Sarah Wolf, who is the senior on the team. 

“We’ve just grown up together and I think that connection and chemistry are what helps now,” Shaw said. “Especially since we are older.” 

Coach Dimmof also believes the harmony the team has is crucial in maintaining a successful team.

“That’s why we play so much in the spring and summer,” Dimmof said. “To build the team chemistry.” 

Although the season is nearing its end, the team is not done yet, and still has the hope of counties, districts, and states in their reach. Their unstoppable teamwork and humble attitude have taken them this far, and the whole community has hopes that it will take them even further. 

“I think we have the potential to be very good,” Dimmof said. 

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