Our first Student Voice column offers four student perspectives on returning to campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Good news! All of the students agree that in-person schooling has benefits they cannot experience at home.

Pandemic by Lauren R, Green Tie ’25

My first day of returning to school after Covid- 19 was uneasy. I say going back was uneasy because I got used to doing work at home and only showing my face on screen. The first day of school at St. Mary’s Academy was odd, especially because we had to wear masks. I do not like wearing masks every day and every minute because it is uncomfortable. But over the months I have been in school I have been getting used to wearing my masks every day. It was a fast adjustment for me. During covid online learning changed. We had to use more technology than we usually used before covid. Instead of turning in our assignments in the classroom we submit to Google classroom. Now that we have come back to in person school we still use more technology and we still submit assignments on google classroom. When the pandemic is over I am looking forward to not wearing a mask every day, going to see my family without worrying where they went and if they have Covid, going to restaurants, and spending time with my family. When covid started in 2020 I was scared because I did not want to get covid. During 2020 I barely went to go see my family. In the beginning of 2021 my auntie had gotten pregnant, and every day she would come over and eat dinner with us. Then when she had her baby named Kane we went to go see them every day. To help her out because that is her first baby. Now my mom and sister and I would go to their house maybe once or twice a week. And now I would go visit them on the weekends. Transitioning in person was hard because I could get my work done on time, but now it is hard because I have soccer and other classes to worry about. For online school I would get good grades, like all A’s. But now I have three c’s,one b,one d and an a-. For online school I did not have a lot of things to worry about but now I do:. dealing with grades, sports, classes, and earning ourare green ties. When covid passes I hope I will graduate with a great senior year. Because right now for freshman year I am not feeling joy. The reason why I am not feeling joy is because I feel overwhelmed with having soccer every day, and having to do my homework after, and having to study for tests all the time. I can’t wait to go to movie theaters, go to malls, and go shopping when covid is over.  

 School After Covid-19 by Kaylee V, Green Tie ’25

Covid-19 has affected everyone, whether it is a small insignificant change in their everyday lives or a major crashing change. The sad part is that no one asked for this change, no one asked for so many people to die, no one asked for a global pandemic. Even though no one wished for this, it still affected families and businesses. Many adults lost their jobs or their only source of income, while for others, Covid took away many resources that certain companies needed to succeed. Many schools also shut down, whether it was the lack of resources or lack of students. 

Students were also greatly impacted by Covid-19. From being able to raise their hand and ask a question, to being afraid of speaking to the teacher through a computer. From seeing friends who felt like family every day, to texting them once a week. From academically understanding lessons, to looking for videos and lessons online to help them understand. Some students were told that it would just be three weeks; we all said goodbye to our friends…and saw them again one year later. Graduation was through a computer and a new school started through a computer. Sadness and disappointment of having to graduate online…dressing up to wave goodbye through a computer…the awkwardness and nerves they must have felt of having to meet new teachers and friends through a screen. 

It has been two years with Covid-19, we have learned to adapt to new guidelines to keep ourselves and others safe. Even at school, students have many guidelines they need to follow in order to not increase the spread of Covid. Covid-19 has also prevented students from opportunities and experiences. My freshman retreat was originally a sleepover in the school gym. To us, it would have been an amazingly great experience. A difficulty I faced was looking for hospitals that are accepting volunteers, it is especially difficult because of the spread of Covid-19. 

School definitely isn’t the same as how it was before. We can’t hug our friends or stop wearing facemasks. Although many of us are vaccinated, we still shouldn’t risk the spread of Covid-19. It will take time and effort but I am beyond excited to see the pandemic pass. 

School After Covid by Brejhan W, Green Tie ’25

When I was in 8th Grade, I wasn’t at a particularly new school, or a nice one. I thought all my friends had left and that everyone was going to bully me and be mean. Therefore, I had so much anxiety that I almost passed out. I was fidgeting and my palms were sweaty and I felt like I couldn’t breathe at all. I imagine you wouldn’t know how it feels, but if you do I’m sure you could assume that I was blue in the face and that I thought I was going to die. When Covid busted the door down and the School District shut down, my mother immediately pulled me out of school. I felt like I was watching through a window while fire raged through the city and the ground rumbled until houses fell and people were running for their lives while I just sat there…  watching. 

I went to Minnesota early that summer. I went to see my Dad and my brothers and sisters. It was weird but it felt good. I wasn’t depressed or anything, I was reveling in my alone time. When Trump became president things went wrong, more wrong than they already were. We were locked in our homes, we had to wear masks everywhere, a curfew was put in place, all because of a worldwide pandemic which affected everyone in so many ways. Then there were wildfires which burned through forests and caused ice caps to melt, global warming became distressing (not that it wasn’t before). Then there were the deaths of colored people by police, riots and peaceful protests that turned into warzones.   Everything became worse. SO MUCH WORSE. There was more disappointment and weird people that believed in weird things and chaos. It was upsetting and I felt like I wasn’t doing anything. I was disappointed.

Then I was in California again, but this time a different school. It was nicer and the teachers, despite intimidating (I find everyone intimidating), were pleasant and wanted to help. It was easy to ease into and they weren’t as demanding as my other teachers. Even if it was online and I kept going to the wrong classes and stressing over everything and having to be precise with my time. It wasn’t as chaotic as some of my family pictured it to be. I always wanted to be homeschooled and my wish had been granted.

When I went into high school I felt I wasn’t prepared, but I didn’t have any anxiety. Two years and I think the pandemic helped. Don’t get me wrong. It was stressful and mind-racking and suicide rates had gone up, but at the same time I feel like I’m in a park with birds and flowers and rainbows,  the wind is running through my hair, and thanking me for my patience. I don’t get anxious when I know tests are coming up and even if I still do fidget there’s a type of tranquility with it. I feel like I’ve been subdued, like a rock that’s been eroded over the years. It’s been nice.

School After Covid-19 by Citlaly P, Green Tie ’25

Covid was hard. It was a tough time for everyone in the world. Personally, I’ve had some losses because of Covid. I lost one of the most important people in my life, someone I knew for years growing up. He was kind of like my father but he passed away about a week or two after my birthday In March. I still remember the day like it was yesterday, I couldn’t move. I cried all day and I had class, so I still attended my classes online  but I was crying during all my classes. It hurt so much to lose him but he’s in a better place now. I go visit his restaurant every Sunday and I remember him and his kindness that he showed me. He was there for me when no one else was. Soon after, a lot of my mom’s side of the family also had covid and passed away, or they had it but it was hard on them. My family and I also had Covid earlier in the year in February. It was hard for us but eventually we all came back negative. However, now I get out of breath faster than others, and it’s hard for me to breathe, especially with a mask. 

After Covid happened and we went back to school it was hard to adjust to the new setting. We had to always wear masks and have shields on our desks, we had to be three or six feet apart. The doors and AC were open and on. Every morning we had to get our temperature checked and during lunch, sanitizing during our classes and breaks. It was hard at first but I got used to it after a while. After that it just became instinct and I don’t mind all the excess cleaning and the rest. Soon after I guess I was happy to finally be out of the house besides school. Being at home started to feel like a prison and it felt like there was nothing to do and I felt annoyed, always angry and irritated easily. But eventually summer came and I guess my parents finally decided to let me have fun and go out once in a while, but I had to stay safe not only for myself but for my younger siblings. 

Soon after we started high school. It was different than I imagined but it’s okay from what I can tell. It’s fun and, personally, I would’ve never thought this is how I’d spend my freshman year. I don’t think the pandemic will ever just pass through and everything will go back to normal. It’s a part of us now, we all still have that in our head to be extra careful around people and places. The world is never going to be the same again, especially after losing many loved ones and after everything we had to endure – the raids in stores for food, the cases, the amount of times we had to be careful to even step outside the house. It’s always going to be with us but I think the world after a while could go back to normal a little bit.