The Pandemic is Impacting Students Differently

PHS students have expressed contrasting ways in which they have been academically and emotionally affected by virtual learning.

Some students felt as if the pandemic had helped them, while others felt devastated by it. 

A junior at PHS, Ainoor Ali, expressed her love for online learning.

“I think my grades increased because, for me, online learning is more of a personal thing,” Ainoor said. “I could do it at my pace better.”

However, another student felt completely different. Andrea Pilamunga, a freshman at PHS, revealed how hard it is to learn for her virtually because of a lack of motivation and lack of a school-provided support system.

“Honestly, I don’t think I’m learning anything,” said Andrea. “I don’t know what I’m doing in any of my classes.”

Additionally, Mrs. Dionisio, an English teacher at PHS, indicated that she thinks students are being impacted differently.

“There are students who work better in a virtual world than in person,” Mrs. Dionisio said. “A unique student can work both virtual and in-person really well.”

However, some students who are doing good academically, aren’t doing so well emotionally. According to data from a Youth Truth Survey, 46% of students reported feeling stressed, depressed, or anxious, all clear obstacles to learning. 

“You have to sit in front of a screen for a long time,” Ainoor said. “Eventually, it depresses you that you can’t be outside enjoying the nice weather you see from your window.”

Students also feel that it is harder for them to participate in class through zoom.

“We’re on a screen for 6 hours,” Andrea said. “It’s hard to participate when you are so mentally drained.”

Students who are extremely social, are also not doing so well being quarantined at home.

“Some students have been crippled by the pandemic and the house-arrest, so to speak,” Mrs. Dionisio said. “Those students who need to get out and are really social, it has been crippling for them.”

Many students also feel teachers need to be more understanding in these difficult times. According to a recent Youth Truth Survey, only 30% of students felt like teachers understood what life is like for them outside of school. 

“Teachers don’t understand we have other things going on, other than school,” Andrea said. “It’s hard for us and our social life because we can’t see anybody.” 

Additionally, students are not able to connect with teachers as they were before the pandemic started.

“Even those students who are thriving still need a little bit more support,” Mrs. Dionisio said. “It’s been challenging to connect with students.”

Certainly, the pandemic has been challenging for many people, especially students.

“Everyone is going through something,” said Ainoor. “There’s not one person who has not been affected by it [the pandemic].”