Students continue adapting in the aftermath of Covid-19

Three years after school shut down, students, teachers and staff are still feeling the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. From learning loss to social anxiety, the impact on kids has left a scar. 

“It was bad,” Lisania Lemus, a sophomore said.  

Online schooling had many students confused. Most didn’t know what to do. It was a time of big change that affects them now that they’re back to traditional schooling. 

 “Everybody was confused and it being over computer and not understanding what the teachers were really explaining about the work,” Alana Glasco, a junior, said.  

Many students are now behind in their education because of the lack of information that was presented online. Since most students weren’t there, they missed all the information they need now in school. It was a challenge to learn online where no one was there to hold students accountable. 

 “The hardest thing online is there would be a good number of students who you just couldn’t find and didn’t know if they were not logging on or had computer trouble not answering the phone,” math teacher Benjamin Edelman said. 

Online learning was a struggle for everyone, not just students. Teachers couldn’t do much from a screen. They were also having difficulties teaching and trying to prevent a loss of education for students. Students were dealing with distractions and dramatic changes, like masking, social distancing, and having to disinfect everything that came in the house. 

Students are still sorting out the losses of the pandemic. Online learning left its mark on students – both behaviorally and educationally. (Photo by Zuleyma Chavarria Hernandez)

There is a greater understanding now that students’ success depends on in person learning. During the pandemic grades were inflated to take the edge off both students and staff. In the moment, that may have been the best option, but inflated grades have caused students to fall behind.  

“I don’t think I got that much information from each class, so when we came back it was difficult because we didn’t understand it for real,” Glasco said.  

Online learning was difficult for students whether it was because of constant distractions, lack of motivation or personal problems the pandemic had caused. It was not easy transitioning back to traditional learning after being used to getting good grades without having to work for them. But social skills also suffered dramatically.

” I think it was because the students were home in the house for a long time, they kind of forgot about how schools work, how you’re supposed to conduct yourself in schools,’’ Dean Eugene Randell said. “So, it’s like they’re restarting all over again.”

Adjusting back to socializing was more than a challenge for some. They forgot how to communicate and act appropriately because they spent so much time without interacting face-to-face. Having to talk to a person face to face was like experiencing something for the first time.

“When the U.S. Department of Education surveyed public school districts in 2022, 84% agreed or strongly agreed the pandemic has negatively affected students’ behavioral development,” Denise-Marie Ordway wrote in Journalist’s Resource. 

But students started to make connections again, made new friends, met new people. For some it was like they lost all the friendships they had, and for others it was a fresh start.

“You can see people smile, you can engage, you can give handshakes and fist bumps and it’s just so much nicer to have those personal relationships with students, with other staff, everyone,” Edelman said. “That’s huge.”

The ability to be around peers and engage with others and not have to be socially distant was a major relief for students as well.
“Being around people just makes it easier,” freshmen Jaylen Creek said. 

 Young people can recover. Because they are still growing and changing, some students are doing alright. It takes time to get back to what they used to do but eventually they will be even better at it.

“It changed me, like, the way I act, and my social skills,” sophomore Oscar Juarez said. “But being out more, I think I’ve gotten a lot better.’’  

Lockdown took its toll on everyone’s mental health. Being able to connect again with our community brings some ease to our minds. Returning to traditional schooling has benefited many students’ ability to learn, as well as benefiting their social skills.  

“I prefer in person, because you can see all your friends and you get to learn in front of a teacher instead of a screen,” Juarez said.