Students Return to a COVID Constrained School

Now back on school campuses, many students grieve the lost 18 months. Freshmen returned as high school juniors, confronting adulthood. Seventh graders returned as high school freshmen, skipping their tweens. College sophomores returned to confront graduating into life. 

The “new normal,” for students is wearing masks all day, teachers simultaneously managing social distancing requirements and curriculum, and daily “wellness” checks to walk through the school gates can lead to added stress.

Teachers often are still cobbling together their own classroom management, some recording lessons to be posted for those quarantined, while others simply direct absent students to their online classroom tools, leaving the students to self-study the lessons or get tutors. Other teachers worry about spreading COVID while waiting 3-5 days for a rapid test to be processed, but continue instructing in person. 

Students must navigate even more complexities in learning, as their glasses fog over during calculus tests while wearing masks. Then, fearing not finishing the test, thus lowering their grades, if they wipe their lenses clean, they continue but distracted, adding complexity to an already complex subject and learning process. 

In the COVID-colored high school, Homecoming dances are being cancelled or moved outdoors, while organizers worry about being rained out. Students, dismayed by cancellations, swallow their frustrations, bargaining, “It’s okay, as long as prom isn’t cancelled too…” yet harboring doubts prom will actually happen.

Some students are frustrated about contradictory masking policies, where during lunch, in the cafeteria, hundreds of students eat mask free, but others are disciplined for a slipped mask when in class. Teachers in other school districts have no enforcement authority of mask policy, only able to offer unmasked students a mask from the pile near the door. 

Lastly, at many schools across the country, students who have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID (if the family notifies the school) generally can decide to quarantine or not. Some students share that they do not need to show proof of a negative COVID test to return to school. And, many students choose not to quarantine for fear of missing too much school and having to play catch up. 

Amidst the on-going, historic health crisis, many students are putting forth additional effort to maintain their grades, as well as comprehend new ideas and possibly remediate their understanding after remote learning in the 2020-21 school year, while coping with the disruption to everyday life. Not a simple task.

For more information about how Creative Marbles Consultancy can help students and parents during the transition to new educational modes of learning, contact us at Creative Marbles Consultancy

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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