Below are three interviews of and by East Side Community School seventh graders. This month marked the one year anniversary of our lives changing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and these students reflect on what that change has meant to them.
A New Normal
by Carmen Jansons
It has been one year since quarantine started and 7th grader Laylah Holder has been craving normalcy. Laylah and many other students are feeling the effects of COVID-19 such as not being able to see their friends outside of school and hanging out with them.
In the beginning of the quarantine Laylah had felt alone. Laylah said, “I thought this was going to be a long weekend type of situation and then after a month I knew that this was going to be my new normal.” It was difficult not being in school and seeing friends. “I was not normally sleepy a lot, but now I sleep until 11 am, and my mental health was really bad.” This has been difficult for all kids when you don’t have that daily routine anymore.
Although it has been difficult, Laylah thinks with a new government and schools re-opening that there is an end to the long tunnel that everyone has been in!
Safety in Schools
by Laylah Holder
As we are trying to bring normalcy back into our lives, Carmen Jansons has been feeling a certain way about the safety of students in school. It has been one year since schools first shut down and we have been going into physical school on and off.
While on the topic of school, let’s talk about school COVID restrictions. Carmen stated, “I think that most kids have been following it except for during recesses because they're holding hands and hugging and they act like COVID doesn’t exist.” That’s what Carmen said to me when I asked her what she thought about the school's take on the COVID restrictions.
Carmen also said, “I think that the staff has been doing great but it's awkward when certain students in class keep taking off their masks and only you and your friends are wearing a mask.” Carmen thinks that we should be able to stand within four feet of each other, “Because we are still kids.”
Carmen had some struggles in the beginning of quarantine that included “going outside and focusing.” Carmen was telling me how she felt when our school went online for the very first time. She said, “I think that it wasn’t the best idea that they put all of the 6th graders into one class and I think that wasn’t good. I was also really stressed because I thought that I was going to get called on and I got these terrible headaches and I think it was because of all of the stress.” Even though Carmen had a bad time in the beginning of quarantine, she is doing much better and is more organized now.
Quarantine is Still Affecting Students
by Veronica Paez
This pandemic has had a big impact on the 7th grader Magdalynn Haralampopoulos, it has taken a toll on her mental health. It has been one year since the middle schools first closed, and even though schools are starting to reopen, quarantine is still affecting student’s lives.
Magdalynn said, “It's just been really tiring, I don't have a lot of motivation to do stuff and it's hard to keep up on school.” Students have found different ways to cope with what has been going on this past year. “It's been pretty stressful since it also has taken up on my mental health but I'm trying to stay calm and go outside more,” Magdalynn stated.
Even though schools are reopening it still isn’t the same. Some people think that schools shouldn’t reopen because it still isn’t safe. Magdalynn said, “I think they should be careful opening it since I'm going to start blended learning next week but I think it'll be fine if everyone's careful and safe about it.”
It’s been a tough year but things are looking better, schools are starting to open again, and Magdalynn said she is returning to school next week. Slowly we are returning to what our lives used to be.