The Effects of Lockdown on High School Students and Seniors

The+Effects+of+Lockdown+on+High+School+Students+and+Seniors

Annabelle Stuelpe, Reporter

 

It is no surprise that the lives of teenagers—a pivotal, brief time—have been sidetracked and put on hold with the cancellations resulting from COVID-19. Seniors everywhere have lost important milestones and events they have looked forward to and worked towards. Prom, graduation, and Senior Sunset are just some events that’ll be canceled, postponed, or recreated on Zoom or similar platforms. A common sentiment felt amongst the seniors is the thought of not getting to say goodbye to their peers before heading off to college in the fall. It was unknown on March thirteenth that Friday would be the last day of in-person school, and not just the last day before spring break. As colleges are scheduled to begin this fall, the question still remains whether they will be virtual or not. Universities have been shut down, just like the rest of the world, for months. Yet the time they will reopen (which will vary from school to school) is still largely unknown. It grows increasingly likely that colleges will begin school online, which will impact incoming first-year college students as well; dorm life, a situation most college freshmen experience, may not exist for the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year if shelter in place orders extend, followed by continued safety measures, which could last the year.

Only a month remains of the 2019-2020 school year. Lockdown has been in effect since mid-March, which was the last opportunity students had to see their friends and peers (if they are following lockdown orders). Excluding seniors, they will not be seeing their peers again in fall, regardless of whether schools reopen or continue virtually. While lockdown orders may begin to lift in various areas across the country, it is unknown whether a new surge of COVID cases will rise following gradual lifts. The quarantine orders have seemed to hit high school students especially hard. Lockdown poses unique challenges for the age group previously used to interacting with dozens of people per day on school days, seeing their groups of friends outside of school, and hanging out in public areas. Many highschool students are also accustomed to practicing sports amongst their teammates, coaches, instructors, and potentially a crowd cheering them on. Students who practice the arts, such as dance or musical theater, cannot perform to an audience, let alone practice their choreography or performances. 

This sudden loss of a daily schedule, as packed and stressful as it may have been, has left high school students coping with a new lifestyle they must adjust to. In general, high schoolers feel as if they are losing their brief teen years. As this “new normal” will shift the previous lifestyle of teenagers dramatically. Additionally, all seniors in high school have already done the last of their school sport, or their last school play, and many sports were forced to end mid-season due to COVID-19 lockdowns. 

The combination of seniors losing the experience of closing out their high school career, students inability to socialize as they would typically, many losing beloved sports and activities that serve as an outlet, and the anxiety surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak has led to teens experiencing increased stress. Online school poses challenges for students losing vital instructional time, and the absence of teacher/student face-to-face interaction has proven difficult for both students and their instructors. Lockdown has created unique, new challenges for this current high school generation, but students remain optimistic, already planning for their next hangout, sports practice, or college move out for whenever lockdown is lifted.