Pandemic Student Life

How education has changed one year later


McKenzie Stuaffer

Kendall Meziere, Reporter

Eleven months ago, our lives changed. Last March, spring break was extended for another week. Little did we know how much this extra week would affect our schooling, social and personal lives.

After the extension, schools all across the country decided to shut down for an undetermined amount of time, due to COVID-19. Students were left to wonder for weeks and then months, “When will we go back to school?” Thanks to the global pandemic, the 2019-2020 school year ended before we even had a chance to say goodbye.

So what has changed this year?

In July 2020, high school students were given the hard choice of deciding between virtual and in-person school. The virtual learning switched from simple Google Classroom teaching to a whole different platform that students and administrators alike had to figure out how to work: Schoology.

Virtual learning became a real 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. school day, contrary to the virtual learning environment last spring. Face-to-face students went back to school at the end of August.

Students and faculty now wear masks at all times, sitting areas have been blocked off for health safety reasons, lunch times have changed, and Fridays are remote for all students to give the teachers more planning time and the chance to work with their virtual students. These changes all spiralled from the spread of COVID-19 earlier in 2020, and staff is determined to keep students safe; thus, a brand new learning experience for all began.

The second huge change high schoolers faced, especially the upperclassmen, was the homecoming dance was canceled (just as prom was last spring). Homecoming is a right of passage for Texas students, but COVID-19 took that away from us, too.

On a more personal level, some students have been facing a lack of motivation. Virtual students face a heavier workload than last spring, and it came as a surprise. There is no “easy way out” for online students. Face-to-face students are dealing with going to school four days a week and still having to log on to the virtual platform everyday. There is little to no paperwork or busy work. Most assignments in-person students receive have to be completed online, which can get confusing and exhausting.

Socially, things have definitely changed. It’s no secret that after being quarantined for the better half of 2020, it was quite the experience to go back to school or work and deal with people again. Teenagers all across the world spent a lot of time on social media, specifically TikTok.
Since TikTok became a huge outlet for teenagers, things like certain clothing, games, songs, and even personalities became “popular.”

Although it may seem like the only huge change in our lives this past year was COVID-19, that could not be further from the truth. School being canceled last spring was only the beginning.