During the pandemic, the impact of Covid on schools, students and education has been a constant concern. It’s not only education that’s taken a hit. Covid has affected relationships, mental health and the way students view their learning over the last two years.
The first lockdown came as a bit of a surprise, and schools were unprepared. Teachers quickly put together packs of work to tide students over for a few weeks. I don’t think anyone realised the lockdown would last any longer.
The asynchronous interaction meant students felt distanced from school. Everyone’s situation was different: problems ranged from Wi-Fi connection to computer access and even just a quiet space to study.
For others, the first lockdown was the biggest break they’d ever had from school; offering them an opportunity to do what they liked, enjoy the weather and spend time with their family.
But students weren’t just isolated from school. The rules in place at the time meant socialising was banned or at least limited. For many, this meant staying in touch with friends was challenging, and sometimes impossible.
Later, lessons were live-streamed, and this ensured more students engaged with school. Familiar faces, new material to learn and a sense of connection. For many, lockdown was a frightening, and isolating experience. Yet, there were small joys to be had. Shorter school days and no travelling meant time to learn a new skill, take up a new hobby or catch up on favourite TV programmes.
The lockdowns exacerbated mental health difficulties, causing many to feel alone, trapped, bored, or anxious. For some, the return to physical school also caused problems.
Social pressure, relieved during lessons at home, returned with force as people found themselves having to navigate the chaotic, social environment that is school.
Recommended Reading: The Impact of School Closures on Children
I found a certain comfort being at home during the lockdowns, so returning to school proved very tough. For the most part, I’d been in a bubble during the lockdown in more ways than one. I was lucky enough not to be impacted severely by Covid during the first lockdown, and my normal worries about school had dissipated.
However, my family caught Covid at Christmas time, and I began to read the news and immerse myself in what was really happening out in the rest of the world. I’d been spared a lot, but soon began to experience an overwhelming sadness from reading other people’s stories.
In an ironic way, as my school life started to return to more like normal, Covid became more present in my life and often on my mind. Nearly two years on from the start of the pandemic, I am hopeful that my GCSE exams will go ahead as planned.
I am starting to look ahead, although the repercussions of Covid and the decisions taken during this time look set to continue to dominate the news for a long time to come.