🏠😷🦠 Life As A QuaranTEEN 🦠😷🏠 The UnifiEd Student Voice Team Blog Surrounding COVID-19
So far, this year has been unique in terms of my experience. I have attended my Junior year entirely online so far, and these are my experiences. These experiences are by no means universal; every student will feel...
differently. First, I did not expect to become more rested once I switched to online schooling; however, that has been one significant difference compared to in-person school. I no longer wake up at 4 AM; instead, I can sleep until 6 AM and have plenty of time to wake, have breakfast, shower, or do something relaxing before my classes start. These were things that I could never do before online school, and it has drastically improved my mental and physical health. I also no longer worry about having distractions in class, such as active shooter drills, tornado drills, or fire alarms. However, I do not have only positive things to say about my experience thus far. Watching students I know fall ill, go into quarantine, then enduring the long period before getting back a positive or negative result for COVID-19 is nerve-racking. It is difficult to see people you know, even if only acquaintances, have this amount of stress. The hardest part is knowing that these people, who you see through a screen every school day, are at risk. I wouldn't recommend going in person to anyone I know. My only hope, and wish, is that the county allows online learning in the spring semester becauseI know I will not be able to learn with the stress of possibly becoming ill.
Confronting my feelings about online schooling is possibly one of the most challenging things I’ve had to do during the quarantine. My impulse is to say that I hate it, but there are certainly some perks to online schooling as well. It has been incredibly challenging to balance my school work and attendance of zoom calls. My mental health has struggled as I have had to remind myself that it is okay to take breaks and not be productive all day.
However, I’ve fallen behind, and I’ve been attempting to catch up for weeks, but I get assigned a new one every time I complete an assignment. It has been incredibly difficult to do long assignments like essays as I don’t have time during the day to do it as I am in zoom calls for all but one class period every day. After school, I end up with personal things to do, a desire to nap from zoom fatigue and general tiredness, and wanting to be normal and watch tv and do nothing during the evening. It has been tremendously challenging to balance simple things like eating dinner, walking my dogs, and staying hydrated with my constant stress over unfinished assignments and a continual desire to take a nap.
Like Sam said though, I couldn’t be at school. I would be so scared throughout the day of Coronavirus that I wouldn’t be able to concentrate. Throughout quarantine, I’ve struggled to find the right level of fear of this virus, and being in school would certainly not help that. I’ve managed to become okay with small things like going to the grocery store after hearing recent research that suggests that brief encounters with infected people do not spread enough bacteria to be infectious, but still the idea of being in a school building is frightening. During the first few weeks of school, I had much more free time as my teachers had far fewer zoom calls. Those weeks were great, I was able to take naps after my morning classes, and I had time to do creative things during the day and the evening. Now, if I’m not on a zoom call or preparing for one, I am either working, sleeping, or having a breakdown.
Throughout this experience, I’ve been so thankful to have outstanding teachers who have been checking in on us and asking for feedback. However, so many students don’t have those kinds of support in their homes or schools. Without student voice helping to form the HCS-at-Home program, the program would be absolutely horrible for many students at my school as it had not been tested or planned well for many of our classes. At the end of the day, HCS-at-Home isn’t perfect with its countless communication barriers and mental health challenges, but being at school would be far worse for me. Unfortunately, the decision still comes down to mental versus physical health for many students on the fence over whether or not to do virtual school.