March 13th, 2020 was our last day on campus until we officially came back on August 12th, 2021. In March 2020, we were advised to stay at home due to the Covid-19 virus outbreak. During this time, we were in the early stages of a national pandemic. Spring break came early with 3 weeks off, and soon we were in a nationwide quarantine. Quarantine affected all of us whether we may believe it or not. Quarantine had lasted for a year; for some, it was the enemy while others believed it was necessary. Covid-19 kept us from traveling, going out, and school.
When we came back to school, it was as if everyone had completely changed their appearance and personality. Everyone was a different person, it was like meeting new people and having to reintroduce ourselves. The first day of school was nerve-racking because you didn't know what to expect. I think we all came back enthusiastic to see everyone since it had been nearly 2 years since we left. Coming into school, you didn't know what to expect because everything was new. The first day of school had me worried since I wasn't sure how social distancing and health precautions would be handled. I personally believe social distancing is difficult to follow because there are so many students on campus everyday. At first, I was scared because Covid-19 cases were already on the rise in the second week of school. This definitely concerned me because I felt unprotected and uncomfortable.
Due to Covid-19 cases spreading rapidly in school, teachers used seating charts to help prevent contact tracing. Contact tracing is what helps us alert the people who may have tested positive or have been in contact with a Covid-19 case. This aspect had settled my worries just a bit. People were sent home daily due the virus and were required to quarantine for at least a week or be tested as a way to potentially come back sooner. Both teachers and students have to adjust to the chaotic environment due to the students leaving. Personally, I feel that it doesn't affect me when a person is sent home to quarantine because teachers have become more lenient. I'm sure teachers are going through a rough time helping students catch up.
Coming back to school in person has been hard for me just a bit. I have a difficult time focusing in class, I can't sit still, and it's hard to remember assignments. Having to keep track of different assignments has been my biggest struggle because I became used to relying on Google Classroom to remind me. Paying attention in class during lectures is part of my problem with trying to remember things. This is because during online classes I could easily be on my phone or do work for a different class. However, you can’t do those kinds of things when you are physically present in school, especially now that you can’t record the class and watch it later as many times as you want. Another difficulty I have is having to sit still in a classroom. I got used to being able to move in the middle of class. Now, you wouldn’t be able to do that due to the new Covid restrictions. Our teachers are no longer allowed to give us permission to move around because they need to be able to track everyone in class.
Of course, there are many other problems students have to face in these new circumstances. For example, they could be going through financial problems and coming back to school is taking a toll on them. Money has become a problem to some people because they can't afford school supplies, household items, and clothing. Because of those struggles students get affected due to the lack of resources. Some may be mourning the loss of a loved one and are having a hard time adjusting to school and their feelings. Others may have problems with remedying their sleep schedules and struggle with time management more than ever. There is an endless list of struggles and challenges we have to deal with on a daily basis and it will take time to get back on track and feel normal again.
In school, it is required to have a mask on all the time, especially during class. Outside on campus, it isn’t necessary to wear one. People have mixed feelings about masks; some think it's hard to speak with, hard to breathe in, and are just tired of them in general. Personally, I don't have a problem with them but I recognize that it can be frustrating. Although it may be frustrating, I do wear my mask all the time and highly recommend you do the same. One of the problems with masks is that hearing people while they have a mask on can be extremely difficult. In a quick interview I did with a Mayfair student by the name of Omar Barboza, he mentioned, “Speaking with a mask isn't really hard, it's just difficult to hear and even pronounce every word so everyone can hear you.” We have all these minor problems with masks, but we have to recognize that this is for our safety. Personally, I would prefer to have those problems rather than be unprotected in such a dangerous time.
Adjusting to this school year will be difficult and will pose many challenges. However, adjusting is a process we all have to go through and it will help us become more open minded to new opportunities. I'm trying to be more involved in this school year because it's my last year and I don't want to miss out on any fun activities. I will be trying new things and trying to get back on track with school. I encourage everyone to keep pushing and allow yourself to make mistakes along the way, but learn from them.