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COVID-19 Resources and Recomendations Shared by Educators from our Global Community

I am delighted to share more reflections submitted by my students as part of Global Student Project My Return to School During Covid19. Thank you!

Returning to School: Aidan, 15, Bellarmine College Preparatory, USA

I remember that when we were informed that we were going to begin remote learning, I was excited and messaged all my friends about it thinking it would be cool to have no school for 2-3 weeks. It then extended longer, and then even longer over time, eventually stretching to this semester. At first, I was fine with it because I had more time to watch anime and play videogames. As time went on, I felt it was hard to have a large motivation for many things, such as exercise and grades. My biggest problem is that it is hard to be motivated to exercise and workout at home. One of the things I have done during quarantine besides play video games was to get back into piano. I used to play piano weekly since I was 5 but stopped when I became a freshman at Bell because I didn’t have the time to practice anymore. Most of my days today consist of playing videogames with my friends, watching anime, and doing homework.

I think it is necessary for us to all wear masks in public areas and we should social distance in order to minimize infection and maintain safety of others. We should not return to school with larger gatherings for assemblies and mass, but we can socially distance during sports. For assemblies and mass, that can be done safely/remotely. I think that restaurants should not be allowed to have indoor seating for its customers, because they can just make their food to go, minimizing chance of infection. I think that it is everyone’s responsibility to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. It is everyone’s responsibility to wear a mask and social distance, which is why those who do not wear a mask are being irresponsible.

Returning to School: Aidan C, 15, Bellarmine College Preparatory, USA

In my “return” to school I have learned that changes of any magnitude can be done if everyone works together. In this pandemic these changes regarding school have both a positive effect and negative effect on me, my family, and my friends. Changes such as learning from the safety of my home and learning in a more familiar environment has made my family and me very happy and safe, my mom especially because she works as a doctor on the front lines risking her life with occasional rest to help keep us and others safe. However, to my friends, this change has had a negative effect on them and perhaps their parents as well as they have grown tired of their houses and just want to get outside and back to school and interact with their friends. Another change is that instead of having to get up early and ride the train to school, I can just roll out of bed, get dressed, eat breakfast, and begin my school day, and at the end of the day I can immediately just take a break or begin studying. This has had a positive effect for everybody because my parents can just worry about getting to work and coming home on time instead of having to worry about shuttling me to and from the train station. My friends have noted this to be a nice change as well as this allows them more time to rest, study, and prepare for their classes. These changes have been similar to what I was hoping for because although my outside social skills have probably been shot, I have been a lot less stressed and more productive compared to before the pandemic started. Of course I would rather be able to go outside without a mask and mingle with people less than six feet away, but the situation for everybody has been really tough, and you just have to learn to make the most of it.

Because I believe and quite frankly, know, that everybody in the world has the responsibility to prevent COVID-19 from spreading, I fully endorse wearing a mask in public places and social distancing. To many people in the United States following these new rules and regulations has been quite tedious, and unfortunately people refuse to adhere to them citing their unalienable rights and freedoms inherited from birth. These rules and regulations are meant to protect people and their loved ones, especially those with advanced age, but a lot of Americans simply just don’t care about the health and safety of others and only care about themselves and their freedom. I know that in other countries refusing to abide by the new rules and regulations classifies as murder and therefore warrants capital punishment. Some people are even shot on the spot! Obviously, no punishment of any kind is enforced on those who break the rules and regulations, providing a further incentive to just live life the way they want to. This is the reason the United States, despite being a first world country boasting the best medical care in the world, is unable to hold itself together and is actually one of the worst countries regarding containing the spread.

Concerning larger gatherings for assemblies, Masses, and sports, I wholeheartedly have to shake my head to that. Even in a small church contracting the virus is relatively high because of the enclosed space everyone is forced into. How much more for assemblies such as concerts or conventions or sports stadiums which usually have the capacity to fit at least 20,000? Some NFL stadiums are allowing their home games to be filled to about quarter capacity, socially distant, but I still have my doubts that every single person will walk out without contracting the virus. As for restaurants and indoor seating, I do not have as strong of an opinion. It really depends on how big the restaurant it is, how many people are let inside to dine, and how strongly masking and social distancing is enforced. For about half a year my family and I never ate at a restaurant, we either cooked or got take-out. Then one day we ate take-out from a restaurant in our car which was parked about 150 feet away from the restaurant. Then we graduated to dining in at a restaurant outdoors with masks on up until our food arrives. The tables were all at least six feet away from each other and customers were relatively few and wore their masks diligently. I think that if the same thing happens when dining indoors, then I do believe that indoor seating at restaurants is a possibility.

Returning to School: Alec, 15, Bellarmine College Preparatory, USA 

In the past about 6 months a lot has changed for me, physically, mentally, and socially. At the start of quarantine there was a lot of hype for being out of school for a while and then the lacrosse team had agreed to continue practicing on our own ad a team for the time being. However, I wasn’t able to attend the first and only get together as a team. Rules soon got stricter, parents got stricter, as the virus just kept spreading. With lacrosse gone I motivated myself to keep my cross-country training going and I had felt the best as I ever had physically when training every day without a set schedule. I just had more time to focus on myself so that was nice. Something that hit me hard both mentally/socially was the fact that quarantine is somewhat of a simulation of leaving high school and going off to college. You start to learn who your “friends” and “school friends” are. This is based off still keeping in touch with certain people after not being around each other for a while. So, I took this time to just continue strengthening my bond with my closest friends. I got closer with one of my childhood friends too and it was nice because we lived down the street from each other, so I got to spend more time with him since we were both free all of the time.

I have been going to campus for cross country training and its very, weird. The biggest thing is just how strict the administration there is, but I guess it’s understandable. However, the biggest thing for the return to school for me is the social aspect. It is a blessing to be able to catch up and get back to working out with my friends from last year. I am also lucky there’s a handful of kids I knew in my pod. Being back with friends and just being on campus has had an impact on my overall happiness and energy. Especially the training part, having that sense of friendly competition allows me to push myself more and get more work done. I was not hoping for anything negative or positive because I didn’t want to get my hopes up for something that might not even happen, so it is what it is, and I am grateful for that.

I believe that we should all wear mask and social distance as well in public spaces. Masks are proven to be somewhat effective and social distancing is just another form of precaution that doesn’t really harm anyone, so why not. I do think that we should be able to go back to school, as long as good protocols are in place and enforced, to prevent the spread. Students should be able to play sports and the audience should be socially distanced but then again, I don’t see a point in that because everyone is going to be screaming anyways so if anyone does have the virus it will most likely spread. Mass should also be allowed, I don’t see how it can harm anyone, if social distanced and masked, maybe except the choir if there is one. My take is that if people can go and protest because they believe in whatever they are protesting for people can go to worship because they believe in whatever religion. Maybe limit the capacity inside the religious building or hold the service outside. Lastly, I think limiting the customers inside the building is a smart idea but once again there is no harm in having indoor dining if there is good air ventilation.

Returning to School: Alec H, 15, Bellarmine College Preparatory, USA

Covid-19 has shaken up everything about life, and when trapped at home, keeping yourself motivated is essential – jumpstarting from rock bottom is difficult on its own for some people, but regaining momentum and motivation while never leaving your house? Yeesh. And with the return of school, everything is so different and changed that I just feel… Unmotivated. School during the quarantine has seen the adaptation of a 9 AM wake-up time, and with a block schedule, mandated free period, and hour-long lunch break, the school schedule seems really tailored to the student, and workloads in school are about equivalent to what they would be in regular school, if not lighter. However, I feel like online school is so much worse than regular school despite this. The 9:00 start time feels like it should be 8:35 or something (the extra 25 minutes feel unnecessary and useless), but more importantly, there is no transition between school and home. Because of that single thing, I feel like online school is ineffective in teaching, if not even worse than just being on summer vacation when it comes to mental health – unless I can figure out a transition from online school to just regular home time, school feels self-destructive compared to in- person classes; in fact, I know someone who is in therapy because they can’t handle the lack of transition emotionally, either. That lack of transition just completely ruins online learning for me.

People are trying to go back to their daily lives from before the coronavirus and there is a lot of debate going on about what measures should be taken to protect from the coronavirus in public. While wearing a mask and social distancing in public is already an obvious measure, people don’t know whether students should go to school or not, and things like that. I think that students need to go to physical school, because the transitory state (driving home) is present, and it’s so much less stressful to do school outside of home. Assemblies, masses, and sports are perfectly fine to do, as long as everyone present is socially distanced and masked, and maybe if there are a lot of exits in the building where the event occurs so that people don’t end up breathing into the same doorframe. Fans and air conditioning vents would be something people stay away from as well because the circulating air can blow one person’s infected breath across the building. It would also bring students’ spirits up. Restaurants are the same way: so long as people responsibly social distance and wear masks, fans don’t blow miasma around, and there is plexiglass between every stall and table, then yes, restaurants should be able to open with indoor seating. I think indoor seating is important for a few important reasons: first, you are protected from the elements. If it is pouring rain, you want to eat inside, not outside; your food would be soaked. Second, it can accommodate a lot more people when a restaurant’s surrounding property is limited, especially considering that the outside is not part of the building and is therefore defined by the property lines. Finally, when restaurants have outdoor seating out front, the seating can often extend to the sidewalks, blocking commuters who don’t want to get sick. Because of all this, seating should be indoors. I think that everyone, however, is responsible for stopping the spread of Covid-19. Because of this, people should be extra cautious on top of all the measures to stop coronavirus spread anyways.

Returning to School: Amteg, 14, Bellarmine College Preparatory, USA

Hello, my name is Amteg and I am currently 14 years old. Ever since we have been quarantined, life just hasn’t been the same. We are learning virtually, talking and seeing our friends virtually, and just living our life virtually. This is not how I imagined 2020 looking like and am certainly not happy with this situation. Being stuck at home and learning from home obviously brought about some changes in our life which are really significant. For example, as I stated above not being able to see our friends face to face has been a struggle because it doesn’t feel the same. There is no connection between us and our friends which makes it hard to enjoy school. In addition to not seeing our friends face to face, it doesn’t make it easier that our teachers are also teaching from miles away. Teaching is not an easy career and now that we have gone virtual, the jobs for being a teacher just became tougher. Also, staying at home is really distracting because while I am home, I have the temptation to play games while I am in school. Another change which I was not happy about, but knew we had to adjust to, was the sports conditioning and training. When I went to school on Tuesday for basketball training, I noticed everything was outside and limited. Basketball is a team sport and in order to properly play it, we have to be close together which was obviously not allowed. These changes which I stated above were not ideal especially considering that these years in high school are crucial for me to get into a good college. I was not expecting any of these changes and was hoping for the total opposite which included a great start to my sophomore year with my friends because I was already sick of being quarantined during the end of my freshman year. I was also hoping for a strong start for Speech and Debate because I was already behind all of my peers because I was not able to participate in it during freshman year. However, practicing and learning Speech and Debate from home is really tough and is hard to learn because arguing and cross examining someone through zoom call is not ideal.

As we shifted into quarantine the rules for our state and country changed which created issues. One of the major rules were that we all had to wear masks if we went outside. This rule was not ideal because the world was not used to wearing mask. Especially for me, wearing masks was a struggle because after a prolonged amount of time, it becomes to feel uncomfortable and hard to breath in. Secondly, we all had to social distance which in my opinion was harder than wearing masks. Social distancing required us to maintain a 6 feet distance from another person. This was hard to practice because whenever you converse with your friends, you tend to get close out of instinct. Additionally, this meant no parties because parties obviously violate social distancing protocols. Although, these rules seem like they are bad, they were put in place for a reason and I believe that they were effective. The lives of human beings are more important than someone’s entertainment and comfort. This means that we should not return to school in large gatherings because we would rather see our peers healthy and alive through a screen, than see them unhealthy or dead in person. In addition, restaurants should not host indoor seating because sitting indoors creates a congested environment which is unhealthy regarding the social distancing requirements. Without these restrictions the United States would be in a worse condition than it’s in right now. It is the United States job to create these rules and guidelines for the people to follow which is why they created these important rules. However, when these rules and guidelines are established throughout the nation, it is our responsibility to follow them in order for us to remain healthy. The United States government does not want to harm us and has the best intentions for all of us which is why we should keep following those rules. The problem is that society wants to rebel against the higher authority, it is just the way humanity is built. However, we should not let humanity’s nature define our every move. Therefore, I believe that we should keep following all the rules until we know for sure that we are safe ENOUGH to go on about with our daily lives.

Returning to School: Diego, 15, Bellarmine College Preparatory, USA

Hi, I’m Diego. The recent Return to School situation has been tough. Initially I thought it would be great. I would get more time to be with family and less time spent getting from home to school to home again. But as time continued, I realized how unproductive i became at points. For example, at the beginning of the school year I was always on top of tasks and now I find myself doing this assignment hours before it is due. Another thing that has happened is my sudden wanting to leave and change live styles. I am getting pretty fed up with my daily routine and wish to find a change. It makes me feel as if my high school experience won’t be the same as current seniors who have done these trips and have so many memories to share.

When it comes to the changes my school has implemented, they have been pretty fun and great. I feel like bellarmine is doing an amazing job with the situation at hand and they really focus on trying to make sure we return to school early. Some changes include having camera on, dividers and other implementation in order to make sure school is going well. The changes for the most part have been fine, nothing I haven’t expected. But the one rule that hurts the most is the not being able to be in bed rule. I personally find it really nice to be able to distress by hopping in my bed while we do independent reading or other activities.

Our nation is currently divided into how to deal with the Pandemic. Some people are anti-masks and believe this pandemic is a joke. The other group Is trying to protect their loved ones and themselves. I personally believe that we should wear a mask and make that the people around us are secure. The last thing I want is for a life in where being lazy and not listening to the rules causes long term grief for my family. I also feel that social distancing is key for having safety. Another thing I notice is people self-pride, I notice people at target who wear their mask at the entrance but take it of towards the end. The last thing I have to say is restaurants and companies, I constantly get adds from super cuts and such and it’s just sad seeing people have a selfish preference of looks over safety.

Returning to School: Eric, 15, Bellarmine College Preparatory, USA

When I woke up on the morning of March 13, 2020, I did not expect a life changing event to happen that very same day. As a national emergency was announced, and we were forced to shelter in place, I still did not believe it. The previous day, me and my class were taught how to navigate and use the online school software, Microsoft teams, and I already knew that we were going to use it. I was very prepared for what was to come. Or was I?

When I woke up on the morning of September 27, 2020, I was ready for a new day to begin, a different day, that had felt like the same day for 6 months. Even though it was Saturday, I was still limited to the constraints of my own house. All I could do was talk to my friends through video calls and games and think about how much better life would be if we all just stayed inside for a few more weeks. Unfortunately, our country is not nearly smart enough to do that. After we had been locked down, the administration sent out an email explaining how to navigate to our classes, and how to access them. I went to class, and all my teachers had no idea what was going on. As more and more people became familiar with the environment and the software, it felt more and more natural for all of us to learn and feel connected through our online classes. As people approach the mark of almost being able to return to school, this whole experience almost feels like a dream. I have experienced many changes, such as being able to leave my house for simple things, such as picking up supplies, or going to my rowing practice. In my mind, I was hoping for a return where we could all just pick up where we left off, but that will not happen. We will have to ease into it, very slowly, and as the amount of cases dies down, we will be more and more free from this “COVID cage.”

As this virus has spread, there have been more and more rules enforced to keep people safe, such as wearing masks. I think that we should wear masks in public, as it reduces the risk of transmission, which lowers the amount of cases in the world. Another precaution taken would be social distancing, which I try to do in my life. In the future, we should not take part in big assemblies or mass groups of people, because if one person has it, more people will get it. It is almost impossible to tell if someone has it, which makes it a lot harder to contain. Also, I do not think that restaurants should have indoor seating, as it increases the risk of infection. My point is that, if it increases risks, then we should not do it if it’s not essential. Out of all the people in the world that we cannot control, at least we can control our own. We can control our own bodies, which is only 1 out of 7.7 billion. But if everyone in the world contributes, we can kill this virus.

 
Returning to School: Hassan, 15, Bellarmine College Preparatory, USA

The Covid-19 Pandemic has created a sense of disarray across the world, causing many people to be stuck in situations that they do not want to be in. Whether it’s losing your job or not being able to see family and friends, I believe that everyone has had something negative happen in their life around the virus and quarantine. For me personally, I have had a few negatives come out of quarantine, but I have also had some positives. Unfortunately, with online school, I have been finding it hard to put my full effort into my work. I frequently find myself procrastinating and not putting forth my best work. I have also been struggling with sleep, most likely caused by my increased use of technology and screens.

Thankfully, I have also been able to find good in quarantine, as I have been able to learn new skills and improve old ones. First, I decided to start skating, and have already learned many tricks such as ollies, shuvs, kickflips, and many more. An old skill I was able to improve was volleyball. Over quarantine I have been practicing a lot and have been able to improve quite a bit from the previous school and club seasons. My “return” to school, as stated earlier, has not been great, and personally I do not care for online school. During online school, I tend to feel much less motivated and bored all around, as I feel less immersed in my learning. If we were in class how we would normally be, I feel that I would be understanding the material much better and be much more into my schoolwork.

When considering the rules for Covid-19, I feel that there are some that aren’t followed as much as they should be. For one, I know many people go to meet with others without wearing masks and seem to have no worries. However, I feel that meeting with others is fine as long as everyone is wearing a mask and has been tested somewhat recently. Meeting in large groups should be allowed but not frequently, and the organizers have to make sure that people can sit or stand far away from each other to prevent spreading of disease.

For school, I feel that we should fully return. I think as long as everyone is wearing a mask, and desks are spaced out enough, return to school should be fine. The only time during school where there needs to be stricter rules, is lunch and right after and before school, as a lot of people tend to be getting snacks and meals at those times, so hypothetically, the students masks would be off. Finally, I believe that everyone has a part to play in flattening the curve. Everyone has to do their best to follow the rules and to protect themselves and others, because the faster we get rid of Covid-19, the faster life can return to normal.