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Students Respond to the Coronavirus Before and After Closure

  • Anneka Goel ’23

On March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak as a global pandemic. The coronavirus has created prevalent issues in the Bay Area, causing schools to shut down, including SHP. Sacred Heart made the decision to close school for three weeks, creating mixed emotions among the students. With worry and stress spreading, the unanswered question that keeps coming up is whether or not school is going to be canceled for the rest of the school year.

Before Sacred Heart’s academic program became remote, five students were interviewed about their worries and opinions regarding the coronavirus outbreak. From 9th to 12th graders, all interviewees said that they were glad that the school was taking the necessary measures in the case of a shut down. When asked if they thought the school would ever come to the point of virtual classes, three of them said they didn’t think it would happen anytime soon. One student said, “I would be extremely surprised if school closed. I don’t think we’re even at the point where we need to.” The other two students, however, expressed concerns that it might close soon due to the exponential growth of COVID-19. Some of their concerns included how fast the number of cases in the US rose and the worries of the virus being airborne, meaning that the spread of the virus could rapidly increase. 

Collectively, of the small sample of students interviewed, the majority said they wanted school to become remote. Students said they were excited for school to become remote, saying that “we wouldn’t have to wake up early” due to later start times and the fact that commuting would not be factored into their daily schedules. Indeed, the students’ major concerns were not as to how SHP would handle its online classes, but from the actual health threats of the virus and how it might impact their nearby communities. One student said that “it doesn’t directly affect our generation… [but] I do however understand its dangers towards people underlying health issues.” 

Furthermore, when conducting interviews before the move to digital learning, the HeartBeat asked about the impact COVID-19 has on the students’ lives. All students were asked if they were taking the necessary precautions needed to stay safe from this dangerous virus and unfortunately all except for one said they weren’t. Four of the five students said they weren’t practicing extra precaution when it came to the virus. However, when the HeartBeat followed up with the students following the switch to remote learning, they were quick to say that they had switched to healthier habits and also identified the negative aspects of digital education Some concerns included not being able to see friends, high amounts of workload, lack of direct communication with teachers, and concerns about grades and testing. The unknown has created tension within the student body. However, with practice, the methods are sure to improve since the administration is adapting to this new challenge. It’s important for students to see this as an opportunity rather than an obstacle as we can use this to focus on our goals with the amount of free time we have. 

As the weeks of remote learning progress, more will be available for administrators to work with as they will survey students and seek feedback. Already on March 24th, follow-up changes and limitations were made to the schedule to improve the student experience. As a result, the immediate student responses to the coronavirus should be evaluated over a period of time so that way SHP has a greater idea of the positive and negative changes that were made to the student schedule and educational experience.

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