How missing time due to COVID-19 is affecting students

Missing school because of COVID-19 takes it’s toll on students’ education and mental health.

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Alexander Carlin, Reporter

It’s no secret that COVID is playing a huge role in our school life this year. Even though students are back to in person learning, many have had to miss time because of positive COVID tests or close-contact tracing. In the past 4 weeks since school started, over 925,000 cases of COVID within student-aged kids have been reported in the United States, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Clearly this is a big issue within schools that warrants some discussion.

One of the reasons that students are so affected by missing time due to COVID are the policies in place for students who get covid or have related symptoms. Students are required to miss a full 10 days unless they show proof of a negative test, but getting tests taken and getting the results back fast can be a major inconvenience and also cost some money. 

“The policies are incredibly unfair” said Jason Woods, a junior here at Enochs who has missed 15 days due to contact tracing and symptoms. “I believe 10 days quarantine for having 1 symptom is insane. Granted you can come back with a negative covid test, but you get your results back in the time it takes for the entire quarantine unless you front $300” he said. 

This many days being missed for any reason can make one’s success in education very difficult, and has proven to be difficult for students who have experienced this.

Jason Woods also talked about how missing so many days has affected other aspects of his health, like his mental health. “Missing this many days has definitely screwed up my daily routine and mental health as a whole. Without a set schedule everyday, it’s hard for me to get into a good working groove”, he said. 

And since missing days requires one to make up work, the mental health aspect of it could end up being a huge barrier to successfully being able to catch back up. So not only do the 10 days generate a lot of makeup work, but they also are detrimental to the mental health of students and this can make the idea of making up all the work seem too daunting to some.

 Mental health isn’t the only barrier in catching up. Without being in a classroom where the teacher is teaching the material, learning the concepts needed to do the work can prove to be very challenging. “In several of my classes, I have been missing the in-class lectures that are more beneficial than the online powerpoints”, said Jason. 

With all of these obstacles in the way, it’s becoming more clear that missing out on important curriculum and lectures is one of the main side effects of trying to contain COVID, and that the policies are becoming a hindrance to students’ learning abilities.

The solution to this isn’t clear or obvious, nor is it an easy one to find. Finding a balance between having good enough policies to prevent the spread of COVID, and making them so that they don’t mess up student’s learning is very difficult. 

On the student side of things, the typical belief is that these policies are hindering their ability to learn because of how much time they are missing. “They either need to get students free rapid tests or lessen the quarantine” Jason said when asked about how policies can be made more fair. 

Teachers are also affected by this, and even have some ideas for solutions on how to make it more fair for students. “If 10 days is necessary, then I think that to stay safe this policy must be enforced. However, us teachers have to realize that this is tough on students, and we have to be fair and make sure that we provide them with the necessary time and materials to get the missing stuff in. That’s the most fair way to go about this” said Mr. Carlin, the AP US History teacher here at Enochs.

There’s no telling which direction this will go nor how long this will last, which means that students will continue to be affected by these policies for the foreseeable future. This subsequently means that how these policies continue to grow and change will be a topic to keep an eye on as this crazy year progresses.