The Lasting Impacts of COVID

Two years ago, COVID-19 began in Wuhan, China; it became a pandemic that would later close down much of the world. As the virus continued to progress, schools and facilities all around the world shut down indefinitely, transitioning to various online services. Schools in particular converted to online school, a system that was eventually put to rest in Aug. 2022. However, while this system has ended, its effects on academics are still seen today.

Foremost among the consequences were diminished standardized test scores. Across all fifty states in the US, ACT scores were an average of 19.8, marking a disturbing trend since the beginning of COVID-19. Since 1991, this is the first time national averages have fallen below 20. Only 22% of students met ACT’s benchmark scores in English, math, reading, and science. The benchmark scores are listed as the minimum scores, “…required for students to have a reasonable chance of success in first-year credit-bearing college…” according to the official ACT website.

Similarly, college admission rates have suffered. Overall undergraduate enrollment fell by 4.2% by the beginning of COVID-19, with an abnormally high 13% drop in first-year enrollment. Compounded with this issue is a universal decline in applications, exemplified especially by low-income, first-generation, and BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color) students, who had an estimated 10% drop in applications in 2022.

General student and teacher experiences also deteriorated. Kirianne Brackett, a teacher at Casa Grande High School, said, “I realized how lonely it was to be teaching from home, even though I had 30 people on a computer screen in front of me. There was the loneliness of not having that true connection with my students or being able to connect with my colleagues as easily.” Similar sentiments have been expressed by other teachers around campus and around the world, with 60% of educators having reported moderate to high levels of stress in their lives during the pandemic.

Despite COVID-19’s effects as a pandemic having largely ceased, its overall impact on society continues to plague the world to this day. Regardless of the reasons, COVID-19’s effects are undoubtedly still apparent, and it’s likely that the virus’ impact will be felt for many future generations to come.