Students, Staff Deal with Sudden School Closure

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Junior Mia Ham tries to find safe ways to relieve stress and stay on a schedule during this hectic time like keeping up with sports practices through Zoom, but finds it difficult. Before the sudden closure of school and the halt to after school activities, students had an outlet for stress and a way to socialize even if that meant mask-mandatory practices.

Vivian Richey, Writing Wizard

The announcement on March 3 that Parkway North would switch all students to remote learning for the remainder of the month has caused in-person students new levels of stress and confusion.

The day before North High’s temporary closure, 161 students were absent from school due to a positive test result, quarantine, symptoms of illness or concerns about health and safety. Students were instructed to follow the same in-person schedule through Zoom calls.

Having all students online with the entirety of after school activities cancelled as well, the question arises of what students are recommended to do to deal with stress and mental health issues due to the new lockdown.

“Since last March, it has been difficult to look forward to anything without the fear of the event getting cancelled hovering over it. I think students should be able to take mental health days, preferably during the beginning of a unit or towards the middle to reduce loss of material,” said junior Mia Ham.

How students should take care of themselves mentallyhas been in question, due to the fact that there is a limited number of proper excuses for being absent from a Zoom call. In-person students have been especially affected by this because of the constant schedule changes.

“I think we are all a bit discombobulated with this constant changing. We all have different temperaments and tolerance for change. Some students are ‘going with the flow’, other students are really affected in a negative manner. I think we will all be happy when a set schedule is back,” said AP Psychology teacher Melody Barger.

The majority of students struggle with feeling motivated to complete work without having a teacher physically with them to help or being in a social environment. Another problem that most students face is procrastinating and letting assignments pile up.

“Dealing with motivation and procrastination have been the worst. I have struggled with getting assignments done, and I struggle with studying as well. I don’t really have a set way of dealing with stress. I usually take a small break to breathe and try to get through whatever assignments are stressing me out,” said sophomore Amelie Vogt.

Besides the different school schedule, after school schedules have also been disrupted by the sudden closure as well. With the start of Spring sports, the end of Fall sports, and the resumption of other after school activities including some clubs and theater, students were looking forward to having an outlet for stress relief and socialization. However, the closure has interrupted those plans as well.

“I try to play sports and interact with people but it’s gotten hard being online and having soccer practices being on Zoom,” said Ham.

Students who struggle with time management, stress relief and mental health issues are urged to figure out what works individually for each person dealing with these problems and how to maintain a steady academic plan.

“Students should keep a solid schedule – going to sleep and getting up at the same time; they should eat a healthy diet; they need to find time to do some kind of exercise; planning and breaking down your work into manageable bites is of utmost importance; and on our days off they need to be sure to try to do something fun; do not use drugs and alcohol to release stress – you are only masking it and causing yourself potential problems; having at least one individual you can talk to helps also,” said Barger.