Pandemic and Changes
By Alisson Andrea Alas Bonilla
Volume 2 Issue 5
March 28, 2022
Image provided by The Cougar Courrier
I remember the day that turned our lives upside down as if it was yesterday. We all thought it would be two weeks! Some of us were ready to enjoy those weeks… but later the pressure started building up. We couldn't see our friends and were eager to go back to school. We kept waiting to hear when we could go back to school, but we never thought it would have been that long. It is very sad to think that our last full school year was 2018-2019. Our 7th graders' last normal school year was 4th grade! This is life changing. I know some of the students of class of 2020 who were very excited for their senior year… which didn't turn out as they hoped. Even now for the class of 2022, it would be kind of normal as years before, and I have honestly seen a huge change in many of my friends and even myself, educationally and mentally. In my opinion I now actually care about many things I could not have cared less about two years ago.
When it came to learning it was not so great… I feel like I learned a bit in the year the pandemic started, but from March to June 2020, it's all a blur. I think that academically and emotionally we all slowed down, some more than others. It was tough to adjust to it, and it definitely shaped us into better students and human beings. My generation hasn't gone through hardships as past generations, and we have mostly everything we need handed to us. I really do believe that the pandemic has changed this. I went around asking students and staff members a few questions to get more insight.
Do you think things will ever go back to “normal”?
“I think some people will go back to living normally, like before covid but I think some will continue with masks, boosters and it will go back to normal for people who want to. For some yes for some no and for some of us it's already almost normal.”
Would you rather be at home doing virtual classes or being in the building but with a lot of restrictions?
“Being in the building without restrictions. I don't enjoy the virtual. Would like to be in the building with restrictions and the biggest preference would be to be in without restrictions.”
Do you think students actually learned online?
“I think some did the majority learn significantly less. There was a huge learning gap.”
If this had happened in your time back in high school, how would you have felt?
“We would have had to push through it, and things would have been close to normal, would have been frustrated about it.”
We are the generation that has lots of new and improved technology. How do you think this impacted us?
“As a whole this generation is behind socially and we use technology a lot, and being distanced and to be behind a bit more than others affected this more.”
How do you think this is impacting students hence things are getting back to normal?
“For students I think that it's taken some time to readjust to daily school life.”
Do you think COVID affected politics in any way? If so, how?
“Yes, covid has probably divided our country. The virus has been another thing for people to argue about.”
How do you feel about the fact that we are becoming more lenient with masks?
“I think that if they are going to have people wear masks there has to be a certain statistic the states hit, that masks will be able to come off, like if a percentage of covid level is hit. Let everyone choose if to wear masks once a statistic is hit. There needs to be stated at what point they will come off.”
Do you think things will ever go back to normal?
“Yes, I think that eventually enough people will get sick that somehow people will have an immunity that eventually the virus will be another respiratory virus and people will still get sick and will recover and there will be very different ways to treat it.”
Do you think students actually learned online?
“I think that some did but that it was difficult for many to concentrate given all the distractions.”
Being online we were obviously behind a screen even more time than we usually were, so how do you think the pandemic impacted this?
“I think that it is another hurdle for your generation because you were dependent on your phones, and had to use more technology and we were better off interacting with people in person than technology, and some tech is good but we need to be face to face.”
If a student started doing badly online due to covid reasons, what's something that you did as a teacher to help them succeed?
“Well I would try to give them alternatives that could help them be more successful with the project or assignment”
Online with grading, it has to be much easier this year, but how do you think it has impacted you?
“I think I've learned that there are many different ways to organize and present information and I think struggling to learn some of the new technology has made me realize that not everything is easy for students as well. It's easier to grade online because the work is online and I can access it whenever I want to and it's organized for me. It’s easier because there's a record of everything and students can't say they did hand in something when they didn't.” I honestly don't think that I learned as much as I could have during online school in 2020-2021. It was difficult to wake up every morning and I would sign into class while laying in my bed and I would get distracted easily. I honestly got used to the habit of waking up at 7:55 and I would oversleep and miss the first two periods. I'm truly glad that now we are in person and we are able to see each other's faces again. It feels odd, at least to me, to not wear my mask anymore. It was normal to me and even though I feel empty without one, it is definitely better and hopefully we can keep going like this.
With the pandemic I can honestly say I have done a lot growing up and so have many others around me and it's kind of amazing how something can change the whole world, even if it was for a bad reason, but most of us got together and made it through.