Online Learning: The Present Day Challenge for Students During COVID-19

Protecting and maintaining the safety of people during the Covid-19 pandemic has come with the cost of jeopardizing students’ psychological health. 

The current school year has brought about so many elements of change within the world of learning. Remote learning, no sports, and other limitations on students have set back many in their high school careers, specifically challenging students mentally.

The pandemic has caused increased feelings of worthlessness, loneliness, lack of motivation, depression, anxiety, and stress among many students. 

Source: eCampus News.
Students sit in front of their Ipads and laptops struggling with stress and anxiety from the situations set by the current school year.

“The current school year has taken a drastic toll on my mental health because it is so stressful to keep up with the new atmosphere at school as it has become more reliant on technology and focused on following the COVID-19 protocols,” sophomore Megan Kashi said. “It is challenging to get back into the school routine and adjust my day-to-day schedule ever since March because the level of learning during quarantine was nowhere near as difficult as it is now.” 

However, adjusting to the new school year is not the main concern for students, parents, teachers and administrators around the world. With COVID-19 health protocols, interaction has to be kept to a minimum or within a distance of six feet. Though the social aspect of school plays a major role in maintaining a cheerful attitude throughout the school day and at home, it must take a back seat during the pandemic. This means no sports and in-person events as of right now.

Still, many students are distressed and agitated by the lack of interaction and events in a school day. “We haven’t had any spirit days, fashion shows or any other events which makes school a lot less enjoyable this year,” said Josh Roshan, a North High student. 

Source: Newstalk Students have to sit six feet apart and have to wear masks during the school day, causing the lack of connection between students.

On top of lacking social interaction, many students would argue that teachers have been adding additional pressures and stress to their daily lives with homework, projects, and tests. However, many teachers say they have made a conscious effort to improve students’ lives and make the best of what they can during this challenging time. 

Many teachers have also left their comfort zone and have tried different ways to teach students. They have learned to utilize new technology and apps to enhance their students’ learning experience and ease students’ minds during this stressful time.

“I have given thought to every aspect of what I do in class, and try to adapt that to see how that translates into the ‘new style’ of the classroom we have,” said Mr. Marchese, a business teacher. “I have looked at things like how I structured my lessons; the way I present the content in class; modified handouts and visuals; modified assessments; basically reviewing everything I do as a teacher so I can better accommodate students in this new structure we have.”

As long as students have shown that they are willing to put forth their best effort, most teachers have been more than willing to try and help them. Teachers have also been telling students to use coping mechanisms and stress-relieving techniques.

“I try to stay away from any formal testing, to prevent any further anxiety especially during this hard time,” said Ms. Baylis, a science teacher. “Also, I try to utilize the double lab period to go outside and get some fresh air with my students on nicer days.”

Additionally, starting this year, physical education coaches are practicing meditation and conducting breathing exercises with students for the first five to ten minutes of class to release any tension built up throughout the day and to teach students a coping mechanism to use at home. 

In fact, many students have found that stay active by going on walks, runs, and doing yoga in addition to listening to music or video calling with their friends are ways to relieve stress and anxiety.

 “I feel when I have a good balance between my social and academic life, I do better socially and mentally,” Kashi said. “It is a break for my mind.”

Though students may be stressed and uneasy during this time of uncertainty and new beginnings, it is important to keep in mind that there are many resources available to relieve stress and feel more at ease.