Covid-19 protocols defeat the virus—and the joy of my daily bus commute


Potomac SmugMug

Lower School students in early fall.

Bethel Girma, Staff Writer

Before the pandemic, my bus had an environment that was unmatched. As a new student last year, the Old Town bus was where I met my first few Potomac friends. Some of the funniest pictures and videos in my camera roll are a product of these beloved bus rides home. 

On this bus, I exchanged unbelievable stories with upperclassmen, underclassmen, and even IS and middle-schoolers. It seemed as if the minute we stepped inside the bus, all of our individual days would blend together into one big hour-long conversation. And what made it most entertaining was the wide range and unpredictability of our conversations. There were days where we would joke endlessly about memes, and others where we delved into our beliefs about the after-life, or how we were raised. These conversations provided a safe space where I could let my guard down.

Sad to say, all this has come crashing down with Potomac’s Covid-19 bus protocols. In order to maintain social distancing of six feet, the bus seating has changed drastically. While this is meant to assure our safety, we no longer can sit with our friends, huddled near the back of the bus laughing together. In addition, the Yellow Plan has limited the number of grades on campus at a time, creating a shift in the bus dynamic. One of the beauties of my bus was hearing little bits of what was happening in each grade. 

Now, I am limited to speaking with my classmates who are on campus that day. The bus ride where we once clamored over one another, has quickly become an era of gazing at our phones/laptops, avoiding the struggle to hear the muffled voices of our masked peers. For now, as with so many things in 2021, the only thing I can do is patiently wait in hopes of the return of the unmatched energy of bus route #2.