COVID-19 Student Reflections

James Layman
Apr 14, 2020
Student Voice blog

Throughout these challenging times the voice of the students should be at the core. 
 
The AWSL Student Voice and Advisory Council took time to share their thoughts, questions and perspectives on how COVID-19 is affecting their academic, social, and personal livelihoods.

What are you most concerned about right now as a student in regards COVID-19, and your academics?

Graduation ceremonies.
How will this impact my financial aid scholarships for universities I've already been accepted into?
Making up tests, getting help on assignments. I go to the biggest school in Washington with teachers who have 100’s of other student this trimester and taking challenging courses like physics and anatomy, it is hard to learn at home. Also being a senior plays an impact on my motivation as many seniors don’t know how work is being graded and if the assignments are even worth doing or are we done for the school year.
My biggest concern is finding motivation to complete my assignments. Since the beginning of the year my AP exams are the things that have kept me going and motivated me to work hard but being out of school I’ve realized it was much more than those exams that motivated me. It was being able to interact with your peers every day and having teachers in presence to help you with any questions you may have. I guess I speak for myself and many other seniors world-wide when I say we’re all slowly losing our motivation.
I'm most concerned with dealing with college in the classroom courses now moved online. These were difficult classes while in school, and now when moved online, I fear I wont be able to keep up, resulting in loss of a credit of damage to my transcript. Colleges are still moving along and don't follow the timelines and structure that my high school has set so it makes it extremely hard to balance.
The one thing I am concered is being able to maintain my grades and be able to take care of younger siblings. This can be difficult because I feell like I become a ¨teen mom" as soon my parents leave for work.
SAT/ACT and how it will affect scholarships/college applications. Different levels of teachers stepping up (or not) to teach during online learning—what work is required, how will we be graded, how does everything factor into graduation requirements? Kind of stressed since I can't even connect with my counselor anymore.
I am worried about the quality of my education because of it being online. I am a visual learner mostly so being in class with a teacher present is helpful. It’s been hard not having a teacher present.
Graduation Ceremony, College Commencement.
As a student, I am concerned with ending my senior year the best way possible. It is difficult to acknowledge the fact that I am ending a chapter in my life with little to no goodbye to my high school experience. In terms of academics, I am concerned with the fact on what and how I am going to learn for these last eight weeks. I know that schools are communicating with their students as best they can, I just wish that it was more accessible for all students.
I’m concerned about students who don’t work well in environment ms that aren’t already determined as “working” environments. Online Learning is very difficult for certain personality types and I worry about that. Not only this, but students who don’t have a SAFE, consistent, and/or secure home environment. They’re held at the same standard and that worries me as well.
One thing I am worried about is equitable grading policies. As there are many issues regarding a fair grading system in this difficult situation, it is so important that everyone is included in a fair grading policy to reduce stress and encourage healthy participation. I am also worried about student mental health. As this is a tough and confusing time for all of us, it is vital that adults in the education world continue their support for student mental health into this long isolation.
I am mainly concerned about the school's curriculum and the ability to teach all students the needed material. I am worried that students will fall behind and will have to deal with the consequences caused by the pandemic. This meaning, having to re-take a class, failing a class, making up the whole year again, not having enough credits or even getting enough community service hours needed to graduate on time.

What is something that education stakeholders might not understand in regards to the realities you, and other students are facing?

As a senior and someone who has been extremely involved as a student leader and event planner for the school I think it’s really hard for us to transition into this period of unknown and we don’t know how to help other students or how to make them comfortable with what we are going through. Being able to reach out and help continue to build the culture/ family atmosphere that we have all worked so hard for has been hard on us at least me.
All of the milestones that the class of 2020 has been waiting twelve years for are gone now and we are heartbroken. We need a way to be recognized, to have closure, a sense of triumph, and a way to say goodbye.
The loss of motivation online schooling has. As a senior who has trouble focusing and has to study in environments like coffee shops, study halls, and classrooms I’m having difficulty studying in my home with my entirety family trying to go about their day. Schools may not understand this but as a senior I know the way I learn and I learn by interactive classrooms, studying in quiet areas with people around to motivate me to stay on task, and by working through problems/ examples and at home I am not getting any of these things and I’m struggling to learn the content as well as I could if school was in session.
That Senior year was much more than the academics, a graduation ceremony and prom. The biggest thing for us is that the school year ended so suddenly there were no chances to say goodbye. Also, I don’t think the new AP exams have been explained very well, we’re going to need a lot more transparency than “it’s a condensed version” but I understand we may get that with time. It’s been a learning experience for everyone, parents, students and all school staff members.
I think a lot of them feel that the transition to online school shouldn't be as difficult as it has been, and are disappointed with lack of attendance or decrease in quality When you are used to being in a classroom for 8 hrs a day and having physical guidance, its very difficult to keep yourself grounded and focused in on school at home, especially with the uncertainty of the worlds current situation. Most students were not expecting this, and were not prepared for the self discipline online learning takes.
Is knowing that being apart from where our education takes place (Schools) can cause a distraction because you are going to be home and some students might think that they could put off their work for later.
Yes, academics is a big worry right now. But there are also so many other things students get from school: our clubs, our teams, our "school moms" and "school dads" -- these connections feel like they're slipping away. We lack a sense of closure with all these other parts of school, especially for seniors. How are we still giving our thank yous to teachers and close friends? How are we still celebrating milestones like prom and graduation? How are we transitioning events our clubs and activities have planned for the whole year to something online?
Basically same as above, it’s hard to learn new material when there is not a teacher there to y’all on the spot. Also, internet access, lots of students don’t have the same internet access as others so it can be hard to get online work done.
The difficulty of homeschooling.
Advocating for my peers around me, there has been situations in which I know of in where there are students who despise their home life and relied on school to give them a safe and friendly environment. With schools being closed indefinitely, these students are having difficulty with the nurture of their mental and emotional health as their homes are not safe places to be in. These students should receive more leniency in regards to anything academic, as educators need to see them beyond their student ID number and late work.
That we all work in different way. Our brains adapt to different settings and we learn in different ways. People making these big decisions are probably going to be a certain type of person (one who knows exactly what to do to better themselves and maximize the proficiency of their work) and that’s annoying.
While the issue regarding equity to access of distance learning materials has been talked about thoroughly and is being addressed, there is also an equity issue that many have not considered. This being the inequities in motivation for students. Many, if not the majority, of students rely on school to provide a learning atmosphere that can encourage them to get excited about their learning. The reality of this situation, is that not all students are sheltering in households that can encourage them with their learning endeavors. This creates a huge inequity between those who are motivated by their setting, versus those who are left alone during this time. I believe this is something important for districts to consider as grading and credit policies are created.
Taking online courses will be a way to continue teaching students, but students learn in many different ways. Providing online courses does not promise student understanding. The courses can be instructed unclearly and result in lower grades. Which creates issues in the overall learning of students.

What is a question or questions that still exists regarding academics and COVID-19 that have not been answered for you yet? This could be in regards you credit, grading, expectations, etc.

How will we continue to do online classes. For ex. I am a senior who is taking a PE credit online through BYU IS that I need for graduation but how will I be able to take the final if my councilors are unable to proctor the test since we are out of school?
I don't understand if the learning is still optional now or not, because my district originally presented it as optional learning engagement opportunities and they lost contact with a LOT of students because of that.
If we continue to do the assignments and keep up to date on them but aren’t doing good on the content are we going to get bad grades or not graduate? As I’m having trouble learning at home and taking a class like physics that I have never took before, I’m having trouble getting through assignments.
4th quarter expectations and grading.
I don't really have any that apply to more people/students than myself.
How will state testing work because I know I have to take tests for college that I did not end up taking this school year.
^^ see above, grading and expectations are huge, both for students and teachers. As a student, I want to know what expectations my teachers are receiving because at the moment it seems like there are no expectations.
How will teachers who don’t normally do online anything, do online class. Especially for classes like shop, TA, and other electives?
Will we be able to postpone or make up events later?
How are schools working to prioritize students mental and emotional health? Many students understand that they need to continue doing their school work and many are doing this, but is it possible for schools to limit the amount of final examinations given to students due to the added strain on students mental health over this closure?
Are seniors responsible for applying to waivers? Or are counselors in charge of that? And how are seniors supposed to know if they need the waiver and/or qualify for it ?
Will state-wide guidelines/suggestions for districts be released by OSPI in regards to grading and credit?
What steps will schools or districts make if the overall grade turnout this year isn't above a passing grade? What will schools or districts do about certain graduation requirements that cannot be met due to the pandemic's regulations?

  • Student Leadership (AWSL)

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