In Hobbs, New Mexico, the high school closed and football was canceled, while just across the state line in Texas, students seemed to be living nearly normal lives. Here’s how pandemic school closures exact their emotional toll on young people.
Everything looks the same on either side of the Texas-New Mexico border in the great oil patch of the Permian Basin. There are the pump jacks scattered across the plains, nodding up and down with metronomic regularity. There are the brown highway signs alerting travelers to historical markers tucked away in the nearby scrub. There are the frequent memorials of another sort, to the victims of vehicle accidents. And there are the astonishingly deluxe high school football stadiums. This is, after all, the region that produced “Friday Night Lights.”