Corona Has Taken A Toll


Jenna Blum and Madison Sondermeyer

The topic of COVID-19 is all anyone talks about nowadays. Quarantine has made people forget how to have normal conversations with each other that don’t involve COVID, but it is important to recognize that Corona is still a huge problem and a lot of people have suffered from this. People must follow certain guidelines that not everyone is thrilled with following, and there’s no doubt that this year has been tough on all of us in different ways. Corona virus has even gotten to the president. But, as we come closer to the end of the calendar year, we can clearly see changes. Some people are back to school, including the two of us, and we are in phase three of a coronavirus vaccine. West Milford High School students are among the affected population and they had much to say in our anonymous google form survey.

Around 112 people responded to our survey and were very vocal with their thoughts.   When asked how it felt being back to school, many responses were positive while some were a bit negative. Some agreed that being back to school was great and they love school, while others were saying they did not like being back to school and they didn’t like the guidelines. Next we asked if it was as they expected. Many said it was as they expected with some kinks along with it.

People who were leaning on the negative side went as far to say it was exactly like virtual– but worse–citing problems such as waking up early, going to school only to be uncomfortable, and not seeing many friends all day. When asked, “What is the best part of being back in person?” Many people said things like seeing their friends, being able to talk to their teachers, paying more attention, and being able to get up and walk around and not sit around all day long.

Now that school has started again, teachers and students have taken to computers and electronics to teach their lessons. Some students struggle to stay on and stay attentive to their  teachers for so many hours throughout the day. They find it difficult to actually pay attention and learn things. Others like online learning more. A  lot of students like the idea of being warm and in the comfort of their own homes. Students like that they get to go to school, but not actually have to leave their beds and get up early to get ready. Overall, it is a tough decision, because having kids staring at screens for so many hours of the day does put a strain on their eyes. Another problem is students tend to be on Facetime with their friends or occupied by a TV or their phone more at home than in person. Or, they set the computer up and play a video of them in class so it looks like they are there when they are not. 

Researchers have suggested blue light glasses, and kids who have gotten them all have good things to say about the results. It would be a good idea to get a pair if you are having negative effects with the computer giving you headaches or straining your eyes and you find yourself starting to squint at the screen. It is recommended you look into these glasses and maybe try turning your computer brightness down to help as well. 

  While we all hope to return for good in December, the chances are low because of schools all over New Jersey that are shutting down due to positive tests of Corona and going on lockdown for two weeks. Other concerns are for younger kids who are in elementary school. They do not have direct instruction on the days they attend online school. They have two check-ins, once in  the morning and once in the afternoon. After that they are assigned work and some parents have even said that the kids are done by 11am. They aren’t engaged or actively learning every day of school. What are parents supposed to do when their kids are finished with work so early? 

People who are all-virtual said they like it; they don’t like the hassle of having to carry their school books and folders around all day when they are home.  They also like to get that extra hour of sleep in, so instead of waking up at 6am they don’t have to  wake up  until 7am for school. Kids who are all virtual said they like that they do not have to go out in the cold/bad weather to get to school or sit in cold classrooms all day. 

Hopefully with the approach of the fourth stage we will be able to fully return in December. For now, just keep doing what you’re doing and get all of your work done. Stay positive and enjoy the hybrid learning and don’t make it harder on the teachers, other students or parents, than it already is for them.