How did COVID-19 affect the 2020 Olympics? How did it affect schools?

Makenna Horne, Staff Writer

The coronavirus pandemic affected the lives of everyone across the globe. This included things like the 2019-2020 school year switching to virtual learning for all students as well as the news of the 2020 Olympics being postponed. 


The Olympics

The 2020 Olympics was previously scheduled to take place between July and August of 2020, but when the pandemic shut down the world in March, plans had to change. Athletes had been preparing almost all of their lives to be able to compete with the best of the best. The postponement was devastating for many, but also a great advantage for others. Although training came to a halt, it gave some of the more ill-prepared athletes more time to better themselves and have a chance at the Olympics the following year. Athletes who were just shy of the age cutoff became eligible to compete and didn’t have to wait another 4 years for the 2024 Olympics. 

Fast-forwarding to July of 2021, it was time again for the athletes to have the competition of a lifetime. Despite 71 positive COVID cases and 25 athletes withdrawing from competition because of it, the show must go on. The one-year postponement already cost an extra 3.5 billion dollars, so Japan’s Olympic organizing committee decided against another delay. 

Additional changes were made to prevent the spread of COVID amongst athletes, visitors, volunteers, and staff, including but not limited to the following:

  • Everyone must wear masks at all times
  • Additional space between podium-places to allow for social distancing
  • All presenters had to be vaccinated 
  • Athletes had to take medals and gifts from the trays so they wouldn’t have physical contact with presenters 




Although current iUniversity Prep owls were not affected schoolwise by the pandemic, brick & mortar students were. As the end of the 2019-2020 school year neared, students had to switch to virtual schooling. This trend carried into the following school year. Many of the new students for the 2020-2021 school year came to IUP because of the pandemic to ensure their safety and prevent exposure from school buildings. When the current school year came along, brick & mortar schools eliminated the option of virtual learning, so more students came to IUP again. 

Natalie McLaren is a current iUniversity Prep student who joined for the 2019-2020 school year because of the spread of COVID-19 and the pandemic. Natalie chose iUP over B&M because: 


We weren’t comfortable with B&M. One of my immediate family members had a health concern that made her very uncomfortable with her sending me back to in-person schooling. The district at the time didn’t get back to us with a decision about what they were going to do about their online system, so we decided to come to a school that was well-greased, and had been doing it for a while, so that’s why we came to iUPrep!!”


Despite being an online school, iUniversity Prep also had to make some changes to ensure the safety of students, teachers, and other staff, by minimizing face-to-face meetups, as well as social distancing and masks for testing. Natalie says:


“I think iUPrep did a great job with COVID-19 measures. It wasn’t like their school climate changed a lot because we’re already virtual, but the masks while testing, and the elimination of face to face events, for the time being, we’re very smart. I did think however, they did some great virtual events that did let people know they had a community, and this was really great to be a part of!! I definitely felt safe everywhere I went.”


With the introduction of vaccines and COVID cases dwindling down, many students left the virtual environment and returned to brick & mortar schools. Not Natalie though. When asked why she stayed, she said:


“I stayed at iUPrep this year because I didn’t want to go back to B&M. Although I did have the choice of going back to regular, in-person school, I liked the flexibility that iUPrep offered, and the community offered me so much more than B&M ever could. I had a very hard time socially in B&M with little to no friends, eating lunch alone, and getting made fun of, so why would I ever want to leave iUPrep and go back to that? NEVER. Which is why I stayed here.”


Natalie is currently a junior at iUP and when asked if she would return to a B&M school if COVID ever fully goes away, her response was:


“I definitely think I’ll stay here until I graduate!! This has been such a wonderful high-school experience for me, and I can’t imagine going back to B&M. Of course, I don’t know what the next few years will bring me (as nobody ever does know), but as far as I know, I’m staying until I walk across the stage with Wisely on my back, and a diploma in my hand!”


The COVID-19 virus is still spreading across almost the entire world. What our future is like is unknown. Thankfully, iUniversity Prep students can always rely on safe, distance learning from the comfort of their own homes during this time. 




Fagan, Seamus, et al. “Athletes Who’ve Had to Drop out of the Olympics Because of Covid-19.” CNN, Cable News Network, 26 July 2021,

Ioc. “Significant Changes to Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Victory Ceremonies to Respect Covid-19 Countermeasures – Olympic News.” International Olympic Committee, IOC, 15 July 2021,

Person, and Rocky Swift. “’We Cannot Postpone Again,’ Tokyo 2020 Boss Says of Covid Gloom.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 3 June 2021,

Tokyo 2020. “Covid-19 Positive Case List.” Tokyo 2020, Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, 29 Sept. 2021,