How the pandemic is affecting teenagers

By Meylin Diaz

The coronavirus that is known as COVID-19 is affecting teenagers in different ways, both emotional and physical. Coronavirus is also affecting families and those students that need special classes. Schools perform a lot of functions that go far beyond education. Schools provide a safe haven for students but also a social setting and for families with students with special needs, offering educational support.

Online learning in comparison is not the same as learning in a school.

“Online classes are different from regular school in that you are not physically present with other individuals apart from the class”, explains Mr. Benton, the principal of Patterson High School.

“Patterson is doing all that a school could or should do at this time. We are providing students a continuation of their education and have provided food and technology support to approximately 200 families”.

Patterson staff and students handed out food donations to hundreds of families. (Photo: Patterson High School)

During this quarantine, I feel stressed out and sad because I miss my regular life when I used to help others like my classmates. I miss my friends and being outside breathing fresh air. This pandemic has made me see that in these moments we have to be together as families but also as society and help one another because we can make this pandemic end if we stay at home and take the precautions that have been indicated. This is a great time to take stock of the things that we are doing to separate our families. My life will never be the same after this pandemic because I will take advantage of every moment in my life like that one will be the last one and take every opportunity that comes to my life.

Some other Patterson students also shared their feelings about the quarantine.

Ester Mumbala said, “This situation is making me feel sad, lonely and stressed out. I miss having a lot of fun with my friends like playing around every time. This experience has changed me by staying in one place and being alone. I think next school year will be very different.”

However, not all students are upset about the quarantine. Alexandra Artiga actually enjoys spending more time at home.

“This may be insensitive but I feel great. I finally get to stay home and spend all day with my animals and I always wanted online school classes. Now I don’t have a reason to go outside”.

At the same time, Alexandra is worried for other people who may be at risk. “What makes me upset is the people who still persist to go outside and put my mother’s life in danger when she goes to work and that terrifies me because she can get sick and I can even lose her forever.”

Some students said that they are feeling isolated during this time.

 “During this pandemic I feel isolated because everything is closed so there is nothing to do and I’m not able to go places”, said Shawn Greene. “This pandemic has made me see that this world could come to an end because I never thought this was ever going to happen and this is separating families.”

Ms. Randolph-Seward is a staff member at Patterson High School who helps students with their social and emotional well-being. “I think that social isolation not only affects the mental health of teenagers, but it affects the mental health of all people”, Ms. Randolph explained. “This social isolation is not by choice, but by circumstances and government decisions. This social isolation creates feelings of loss, loneliness, depression, and the inability to control what was once simple/accessible, which allowed us to pick the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and HOW for our lives”.

Mr. Benton has some advice for how students can deal with negative emotions they might be feeling:

“Students can practice the things they’ve been hearing during our Mindful Moment time. Now is the time to use what has been provided- for times like these!”

When asked if he thought that things will ever return to the way it was before, Mr. Benton responded: “Things will never be the same after this pandemic because things aren’t meant to be the same. Change is the only constant, so it should be embraced.”

We are all doing our best to get through this crisis. Let’s stay safe and support one another so we can look forward to seeing each other again when the pandemic is over.

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