2021 impacts students


The fencing on the Capitol remains standing even into June to protect the Capitol Building after the insurrection on Jan.6. Photo by Kristine Brown.

Siddharth Dhadi, Staff writer

From sending people to space as tourists, to inaugurating the oldest president, to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ victory in the Super Bowl to the surge in the highly contagious Delta variant, a lot has happened in 2021. These events and others have left a long-lasting impression.

United States Capitol attack

Unwilling to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election, supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the United States Capitol to stop the count of the electoral vote on Jan. 6. They believed that the votes were miscounted and the election was rigged. Trump tweeted the insurrectionists to “fight like hell” to save their country.

“[The insurrection] was scary,” junior Claire Myers said. “Growing up, I thought that the government was the most powerful [institution] in the world, [so] the fact that it was overtaken by common citizens was pretty frightening.”

Several of Trump’s supporters and allies have ascribed blame to him. Most notably, the former senate majority leader Mitch McConnel held Trump as “morally responsible” for the insurrection.

“Trump could have asked his followers on Twitter to stop, and they would have stopped,” Myers said. “But he chose not to.”

The insurrection attempted to stop the democratic process of election

There’s always going to be people who disagree with the majority in a democracy.

— history teacher Ryan Childress

, but people still believe in American democracy.

“There’s always going to be people who disagree with the majority in a democracy,” history teacher Ryan Childress said. “But democracy has prevailed in America for 200 years and it very well can continue if we have the safeguards.”


Biden rejoins Paris Climate Agreement

Former President Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate agreement claiming that the agreement had undermined the U.S. economy. However, President Biden decided to rejoin the agreement, collaborating with nearly 200 countries in an attempt to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

 “The U.S. rejoining the agreement will help reinforce the dire situation that climate change needs attention,” junior Paria Karimi said. “If a major country like the U.S. supports the climate issue, then other countries are likely to support climate change, too.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. contributes 15% of the global carbon emissions and, from 2015, the U.S. carbon emissions have steadily increased each year.

“After the Industrial Revolution, and particularly after WWII, carbon emissions have risen dramatically, and from a historical perspective, climate change has never been in the forefront of political discussions more than in the previous few decades,” Childress said.

President Biden’s rejoining of the agreement affects Chantilly as well as the world. In a case study in San Joaquin Valley, it was found that increasing temperature and heat affected the well-being of high school students. Lower temperatures reduce the chance of heat stroke, heat exhaustion and heat rashes, which, according to the study, help high school students’ well-being.

“More students now have a leader to look up to who they know gives attention to the climate,” Karimi said. “And if the climate gets better, it’s beneficial to everyone.”

Afghanistan refugee crisis

American troops have been deployed in Afghanistan since 2001, fighting the Taliban. However, the U.S. began withdrawing from Afghanistan in 2020 under the Trump administration, and after taking office, Biden continued the withdrawal. Fully pulling out from Afghanistan created a power vacuum, which allowed the Taliban to take control of Afghanistan.

“A lot of money will be saved through the withdrawal,” Childress said. “But our reputation is tarnished because our antagonists will use the withdrawal as us not following through to help Afghanistan.”

America and other European countries have been trying to mediate in order to stabilize the political situation, but the Taliban took over the Afghan government. On Aug. 15 former Afghan President Arshaf Ghani left the presidential palace, and Taliban leaders replaced the Afghan government, ruling the nation based on Islamic tradition.

“The withdrawal is a betrayal to the Afghan people,” Karimi said. “The American troops [have been fighting] the Taliban for decades, and just left Afghanistan to fend for themselves.” 

Nearly 70,000 Afghan refugees have been evacuated and offered residence by countries like the U.S., Pakistan and Germany. As a result of the violence in Afghanistan, the U.S. admitted nearly 11,000 refugees since the beginning of the crisis according to the U.S. News; and the Dulles area has also welcomed some of the refugees. The CHS leadership program also organized an Afghan refugee drive on Oct. 22.

“Chantilly has been very welcoming of the Afghan refugees,” Karimi said. “And I hope we can welcome more refugees.”

COVID-19 vaccine

Most vaccines take about a decade to be deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, the COVID-19 vaccine was developed and approved by the FDA in less than nine months. Such a fast pace can be attributed to the overlapping of the development and testing stages of  the vaccine as per Healthline.

“[The production of the vaccine] was very revolutionary,” chemistry teacher Latha Shankar said. “The global collaboration of this scale for research is unprecedented.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Biden purchased 100 million doses of Pfzier and Moderna vaccines in February to meet the demand for vaccines in the U.S As a result of the purchase and subsequent purchases, the U.S. has vaccinated almost 70% of its citizens. 

“The American vaccine effort has helped control the spread of the virus, and the cases have gotten under control,” biology teacher Neelam Yadav said.

People drive into COVID-19 vaccination center at the INOVA hospital in Fairfax to get shots on Feb. 5. The U.S. has vaccinated almost 70% of Americans. Photo by Kristine Brown.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the daily cases of COVID-19 are significantly less than before the vaccine rollout, averaging about 50,000 daily cases towards the end of November compared to 200,000 daily average before the rollout.

“Virtual learning was depressing,” Myers said. “But now thanks to science and [the vaccine], everything is getting [somewhat] back to normal.”

 Due to mitigation strategies  based on scientific research such as vaccinations and mask mandates, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) had few COVID-19 cases in the fall of 2021. According to the data released by FCPS, the average daily cases in schools is about 30 in a student population of 178,000. As a result of the low transmission, CHS has taken the initiative to reinstate Charger Time (CT).

“Science is not a miracle,” Yadav said. “It’s based on reality, and it’s about perseverance and helping people, and I’m looking forward to a more normal future [with] the help of science.”