Writing about COVID-19 in a college admission essay

by: Venkates Swaminathan | Updated: September 14, 2020

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Writing about COVID-19 in your college admission essay

For students applying to college using the CommonApp, there are several different places where students and counselors can address the pandemic’s impact. The different sections have differing goals. You must understand how to use each section for its appropriate use.

The CommonApp COVID-19 question

First, the CommonApp this year has an additional question specifically about COVID-19 :

Community disruptions such as COVID-19 and natural disasters can have deep and long-lasting impacts. If you need it, this space is yours to describe those impacts. Colleges care about the effects on your health and well-being, safety, family circumstances, future plans, and education, including access to reliable technology and quiet study spaces. Please use this space to describe how these events have impacted you.

This question seeks to understand the adversity that students may have had to face due to the pandemic, the move to online education, or the shelter-in-place rules. You don’t have to answer this question if the impact on you wasn’t particularly severe. Some examples of things students should discuss include:

  • The student or a family member had COVID-19 or suffered other illnesses due to confinement during the pandemic.
  • The candidate had to deal with personal or family issues, such as abusive living situations or other safety concerns
  • The student suffered from a lack of internet access and other online learning challenges.
  • Students who dealt with problems registering for or taking standardized tests and AP exams.

Jeff Schiffman of the Tulane University admissions office has a blog about this section. He recommends students ask themselves several questions as they go about answering this section:

  • Are my experiences different from others’?
  • Are there noticeable changes on my transcript?
  • Am I aware of my privilege?
  • Am I specific? Am I explaining rather than complaining?
  • Is this information being included elsewhere on my application?

If you do answer this section, be brief and to-the-point.

Counselor recommendations and school profiles

Second, counselors will, in their counselor forms and school profiles on the CommonApp, address how the school handled the pandemic and how it might have affected students, specifically as it relates to:

  • Grading scales and policies
  • Graduation requirements
  • Instructional methods
  • Schedules and course offerings
  • Testing requirements
  • Your academic calendar
  • Other extenuating circumstances

Students don’t have to mention these matters in their application unless something unusual happened.

Writing about COVID-19 in your main essay

Write about your experiences during the pandemic in your main college essay if your experience is personal, relevant, and the most important thing to discuss in your college admission essay. That you had to stay home and study online isn’t sufficient, as millions of other students faced the same situation. But sometimes, it can be appropriate and helpful to write about something related to the pandemic in your essay. For example:

  • One student developed a website for a local comic book store. The store might not have survived without the ability for people to order comic books online. The student had a long-standing relationship with the store, and it was an institution that created a community for students who otherwise felt left out.
  • One student started a YouTube channel to help other students with academic subjects he was very familiar with and began tutoring others.
  • Some students used their extra time that was the result of the stay-at-home orders to take online courses pursuing topics they are genuinely interested in or developing new interests, like a foreign language or music.

Experiences like this can be good topics for the CommonApp essay as long as they reflect something genuinely important about the student. For many students whose lives have been shaped by this pandemic, it can be a critical part of their college application.

Want more? Read 6 ways to improve a college essay , What the &%$! should I write about in my college essay , and Just how important is a college admissions essay? .

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What Life Was Like for Students in the Pandemic Year

i missed my school during covid pandemic essay in english

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In this video, Navajo student Miles Johnson shares how he experienced the stress and anxiety of schools shutting down last year. Miles’ teacher shared his experience and those of her other students in a recent piece for Education Week. In these short essays below, teacher Claire Marie Grogan’s 11th grade students at Oceanside High School on Long Island, N.Y., describe their pandemic experiences. Their writings have been slightly edited for clarity. Read Grogan’s essay .

“Hours Staring at Tiny Boxes on the Screen”

By Kimberly Polacco, 16

I stare at my blank computer screen, trying to find the motivation to turn it on, but my finger flinches every time it hovers near the button. I instead open my curtains. It is raining outside, but it does not matter, I will not be going out there for the rest of the day. The sound of pounding raindrops contributes to my headache enough to make me turn on my computer in hopes that it will give me something to drown out the noise. But as soon as I open it up, I feel the weight of the world crash upon my shoulders.

Each 42-minute period drags on by. I spend hours upon hours staring at tiny boxes on a screen, one of which my exhausted face occupies, and attempt to retain concepts that have been presented to me through this device. By the time I have the freedom of pressing the “leave” button on my last Google Meet of the day, my eyes are heavy and my legs feel like mush from having not left my bed since I woke up.

Tomorrow arrives, except this time here I am inside of a school building, interacting with my first period teacher face to face. We talk about our favorite movies and TV shows to stream as other kids pile into the classroom. With each passing period I accumulate more and more of these tiny meaningless conversations everywhere I go with both teachers and students. They may not seem like much, but to me they are everything because I know that the next time I am expected to report to school, I will be trapped in the bubble of my room counting down the hours until I can sit down in my freshly sanitized wooden desk again.

“My Only Parent Essentially on Her Death Bed”

By Nick Ingargiola, 16

My mom had COVID-19 for ten weeks. She got sick during the first month school buildings were shut. The difficulty of navigating an online classroom was already overwhelming, and when mixed with my only parent essentially on her death bed, it made it unbearable. Focusing on schoolwork was impossible, and watching my mother struggle to lift up her arm broke my heart.

My mom has been through her fair share of diseases from pancreatic cancer to seizures and even as far as a stroke that paralyzed her entire left side. It is safe to say she has been through a lot. The craziest part is you would never know it. She is the strongest and most positive person I’ve ever met. COVID hit her hard. Although I have watched her go through life and death multiple times, I have never seen her so physically and mentally drained.

I initially was overjoyed to complete my school year in the comfort of my own home, but once my mom got sick, I couldn’t handle it. No one knows what it’s like to pretend like everything is OK until they are forced to. I would wake up at 8 after staying up until 5 in the morning pondering the possibility of losing my mother. She was all I had. I was forced to turn my camera on and float in the fake reality of being fine although I wasn’t. The teachers tried to keep the class engaged by obligating the students to participate. This was dreadful. I didn’t want to talk. I had to hide the distress in my voice. If only the teachers understood what I was going through. I was hesitant because I didn’t want everyone to know that the virus that was infecting and killing millions was knocking on my front door.

After my online classes, I was required to finish an immense amount of homework while simultaneously hiding my sadness so that my mom wouldn’t worry about me. She was already going through a lot. There was no reason to add me to her list of worries. I wasn’t even able to give her a hug. All I could do was watch.

“The Way of Staying Sane”

By Lynda Feustel, 16

Entering year two of the pandemic is strange. It barely seems a day since last March, but it also seems like a lifetime. As an only child and introvert, shutting down my world was initially simple and relatively easy. My friends and I had been super busy with the school play, and while I was sad about it being canceled, I was struggling a lot during that show and desperately needed some time off.

As March turned to April, virtual school began, and being alone really set in. I missed my friends and us being together. The isolation felt real with just my parents and me, even as we spent time together. My friends and I began meeting on Facetime every night to watch TV and just be together in some way. We laughed at insane jokes we made and had homework and therapy sessions over Facetime and grew closer through digital and literal walls.

The summer passed with in-person events together, and the virus faded into the background for a little while. We went to the track and the beach and hung out in people’s backyards.

Then school came for us in a more nasty way than usual. In hybrid school we were separated. People had jobs, sports, activities, and quarantines. Teachers piled on work, and the virus grew more present again. The group text put out hundreds of messages a day while the Facetimes came to a grinding halt, and meeting in person as a group became more of a rarity. Being together on video and in person was the way of staying sane.

In a way I am in a similar place to last year, working and looking for some change as we enter the second year of this mess.

“In History Class, Reports of Heightening Cases”

By Vivian Rose, 16

I remember the moment my freshman year English teacher told me about the young writers’ conference at Bread Loaf during my sophomore year. At first, I didn’t want to apply, the deadline had passed, but for some strange reason, the directors of the program extended it another week. It felt like it was meant to be. It was in Vermont in the last week of May when the flowers have awakened and the sun is warm.

I submitted my work, and two weeks later I got an email of my acceptance. I screamed at the top of my lungs in the empty house; everyone was out, so I was left alone to celebrate my small victory. It was rare for them to admit sophomores. Usually they accept submissions only from juniors and seniors.

That was the first week of February 2020. All of a sudden, there was some talk about this strange virus coming from China. We thought nothing of it. Every night, I would fall asleep smiling, knowing that I would be able to go to the exact conference that Robert Frost attended for 42 years.

Then, as if overnight, it seemed the virus had swung its hand and had gripped parts of the country. Every newscast was about the disease. Every day in history, we would look at the reports of heightening cases and joke around that this could never become a threat as big as Dr. Fauci was proposing. Then, March 13th came around--it was the last day before the world seemed to shut down. Just like that, Bread Loaf would vanish from my grasp.

“One Day Every Day Won’t Be As Terrible”

By Nick Wollweber, 17

COVID created personal problems for everyone, some more serious than others, but everyone had a struggle.

As the COVID lock-down took hold, the main thing weighing on my mind was my oldest brother, Joe, who passed away in January 2019 unexpectedly in his sleep. Losing my brother was a complete gut punch and reality check for me at 14 and 15 years old. 2019 was a year of struggle, darkness, sadness, frustration. I didn’t want to learn after my brother had passed, but I had to in order to move forward and find my new normal.

Routine and always having things to do and places to go is what let me cope in the year after Joe died. Then COVID came and gave me the option to let up and let down my guard. I struggled with not wanting to take care of personal hygiene. That was the beginning of an underlying mental problem where I wouldn’t do things that were necessary for everyday life.

My “coping routine” that got me through every day and week the year before was gone. COVID wasn’t beneficial to me, but it did bring out the true nature of my mental struggles and put a name to it. Since COVID, I have been diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. I began taking antidepressants and going to therapy a lot more.

COVID made me realize that I’m not happy with who I am and that I needed to change. I’m still not happy with who I am. I struggle every day, but I am working towards a goal that one day every day won’t be as terrible.

Coverage of social and emotional learning is supported in part by a grant from the NoVo Foundation, at www.novofoundation.org . Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage. A version of this article appeared in the March 31, 2021 edition of Education Week as What Life Was Like for Students in the Pandemic Year

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“I miss my school!”: Examining primary and secondary school students’ social distancing and emotional experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic

Verena letzel-alt.

1 Section for Teacher Education and Research, University of Trier, Universitätsring 15, 54296 Trier, Germany

Marcela Pozas

2 Professional School of Education, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin, Germany

3 School of Psychology, University of Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico

Christoph Schneider

With the rapid spread of Covid-19, countries around the world implemented strict protocols ordering schools to close. As a result, educational institutions were forced to establish a new form of schooling by implementing emergency remote education. Learning from home during the Covid-19 pandemic brought numerous changes, challenges, and stressors to students’ daily lives. In this context, major concerns have been raised based on the reports of students’ negative experiences resulting from social distancing and isolation. Given the impact of Covid-19 on many aspects of students’ lives, in particular their social and school experiences, research that provides insights into the consequences of this health crisis for students’ well-being has become important. This study aims to explore students’ experiences of social distancing and its relation to their negative emotional experiences during Germany’s first Covid-19–related school closure. Findings indicate that both primary and secondary students missed their friends and classmates and that primary school students perceived higher levels of social distancing. However, a linear regression analysis indicated that the older the students were, the more negatively affected they were by social distancing. The implications of the study’s results and further lines of research are discussed.

With the rapid spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19), governments around the world imposed restrictions in order to reduce the risk of infection (UNESCO, 2020 ). Among these restrictions, social distancing became the most recommended measure, fundamentally affecting people’s lives (Greenhow & Chapman, 2020 ). Across media, social distancing was labeled as the new normal, while scientific literature defined it as the subjective perceived distance to a person or to members of a group (Beck, 2020 ). In the face of such a public health crisis, in which social distancing was compulsory, nearly all countries worldwide had to abruptly close their schools in March 2020. These immediate measures severely affected the education sector (Education International, 2020 ; Wyse et al., 2020 ), forcing educational institutions to establish a new form of schooling by implementing emergency remote education (ERE) (Bozkurt & Sharma, 2020 ). Students had to learn from home and utilize digital media to learn and study, while school administrators and teachers had to transition to an online environment within a very short amount of time (Wolff et al., 2020 ). Homeschooling, in the form of ERE during the Covid-19 pandemic can be defined as a form of distance learning organized by schools, supported by teachers, and accompanied by parents (Meyer, 2020 ). For a limited amount of time, an individual home-learning situation takes the place of learning in classrooms or learning groups. It is important to note that homeschooling as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic should not be confused with the concept of homeschooling widely known in the US, where parents voluntarily plan and organize their own children’s learning (Ladenthin, 2018 ).

Learning from home during the Covid-19 pandemic brought numerous changes, challenges, and stressors to students’ daily lives (Styck et al., 2021 ). The traditional school-based structure of learning, in which teachers are present to guide and support students, disappeared, and students’ daily routines were altered. Students were forced to organize their learning process themselves, which demanded self-regulated learning competences (Fischer et al., 2020 ). In addition, learning from home limited students’ interactions with their teachers, classmates, and friends to exchanges via online platforms (Wyse et al., 2020 ).

The term social distancing has been used frequently in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, its theoretical construct and operationalization are still being discussed and developed. Conventionally, social distancing can be understood as maintaining physical distance from other people (Abel & McQueen, 2020 ; Aminnejad & Alikhani, 2020 ). For the purpose of the present study, however, social distancing is defined as the subjective, perceived distance to another person or to members of a group (Beck, 2020 ). Current research conducted during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns reports that social distancing can have a negative impact on mental health in the form of conditions such as depression, anxiety, and loneliness (Abel & McQueen, 2020 ; Armbruster & Klotzbücher, 2020; Xie et al., 2020 ). Despite social distancing, however, people can remain in contact using digital devices for chatting, telephoning, and video calling. Moreover, a stronger contact with one’s own family may counterbalance the missing physical closeness to others (Pozas et al., 2021 ; Adami et al., 2020 ; Saad & Gupta, 2020 ). Flack et al. ( 2020 ) highlighted that teachers consider their students to be socially isolated as a result of ERE during the pandemic. Additionally, the authors reported that perceptions among primary school teachers in particular are that the emotional experience of social distancing affects students' academic performance. (López et al., 2017 ). According to Schreiber and Jenny ( 2020 ), emotional experiences can be defined as positive and negative affective activations. A high level of activation is crucial for an affective activation to be considered either positive or negative. Being highly motivated, for example, can be considered a high activation state with a positive affect, whereas being nervous or worried are examples of a high activation state with a negative affect (Schreiber & Jenny, 2020 ). According to Huber and Helm ( 2020b ), a majority of students indicated that they experienced stress due to distance learning; however, most students did not name specific challenges. It is important to mention that Huber and Helm ( 2020b ) took into account only learning challenges and not those with regard to social distancing.

Recent research on both parents’ and students’ experiences during the Covid-19 crisis has shown that social distancing has provided families with both positive and negative experiences. On the one hand, because parents had to work from home, parents and children felt that time spent together as a family was a positive aspect of the shutdown (Pozas et al., 2021 ). Furthermore, studies focusing solely on students’ experiences during the Covid-19 school closures have shown that students found that working on their own and planning their learning according to their own educational needs was beneficial (Holtgrewe et al., 2020 ). On the other hand, major concerns have been raised based on reports of students’ negative experiences (Flack et al., 2020 ). A recent study by Styck et al. ( 2021 ) indicated that not meeting friends in person was the greatest stressor among elementary, middle, and high school students in the United States. This result is in accord with scientific literature pointing out that remote education may evoke feelings of disconnection (Smith & Taveras, 2005 ). Moreover, studies by Xie et al. ( 2020 ) and Zhou et al. ( 2020 ) suggest that students are experiencing significant levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms due to social isolation during the lockdown. A detailed study by Demaray et al. ( 2021 ) indicated that there were gender differences regarding anxiety and depression symptoms associated with stressors due to Covid-19, with an alarmingly high level of depressive symptoms for high school female students. Similarly, Karasmanaki and Tsantopoulos ( 2021 ) and Styck et al. ( 2021 ) reported that female participants experienced more stress in comparison to their male counterparts, especially when it came to fears of social distancing (Fedorenko et al., 2020 ). In sum, it can be assumed that student experiences during social distancing (or isolation) from school are particularly relevant in the current homeschooling context (Brooks et al., 2020 ; Demaray et al., 2021 ; Flack et al., 2020 ; Kira et al., 2020 ; Styck et al., 2021 ; Taylor et al., 2020 ).

Given the far-reaching impact of Covid-19 on many aspects of students’ lives, in particular their social and school experiences, research is of the utmost importance for providing insights into the impact of this health crisis on students’ emotional well-being (Huber & Helm, 2020a ) and for supporting the development of intervention measures (Styck et al., 2021 ). More research should provide a better understanding of the specific characteristics of individuals and contexts that can have potentially negative outcomes on students (Demaray et al., 2021 ). A fair amount of recent research has reported on challenges and stressors, such as lack of resources, family conflict, social distancing, and fear of illness. However, given the importance of a child’s microsystem, such as the school context (Demaray et al., 2021 ), the concrete experiences of children while physically distanced from their school should also be the subject of research. Moreover, research specifically focused on disasters and health crises has shown that it is important to consider gender and age (and educational stage) differences with regard to impacts (Brock et al., 2016 ; Spagnolo et al., 2020 ). Hence, the present study aims to determine if there were significant differences in students’ experiences of social distancing according to gender and educational stage (primary and secondary school) as well as variations in the impact of social distancing on students’ emotional experiences. The following research questions led the data analyses:

  • How do students experience social distancing with regard to their school life?
  • Are there differences across gender and educational stage with regard to the experiences of social distancing?
  • How are students’ experiences of social distancing related to their emotional experiences?


The data for this study were collected in Germany in a project known as Student-Parents-Teachers in Homeschooling (SCHELLE, following the German term Schüler/-innen-Eltern-Lehrkräfte) (see Letzel et al., 2020 ). The data were collected from an online survey taken from April to June 2020, coinciding with the first lockdown of the Covid 19 pandemic. Students had to provide their parents’ or tutors’ consent before accessing the online survey. The sample consisted of 150 students (62% female) with a mean age of 15.27 years. Grouped according to educational stage, 6.7% of the students were from primary school (grades one to four) and 93.3% from secondary school (grades five to thirteen). To the best of our knowledge, there was currently no existing, evaluated, and validated scale that fit the research questions in this study. Therefore, the authors decided to develop a scale based on previous literature. The student experiences of social distancing scale see (see Table ​ Table1 1 for the German -language version and English translation) was developed based on the work of Beck ( 2020 ) and Bronfenbrenner’s Process-Person-Context-Time model (Tudge et al., 2009 ), from which important components were identified. These include:

  • Proximal processes (reciprocal interactions between a developing human being and one or more of the persons, objects, and elements in his or her immediate environment)
  • The microsystem (the immediate setting in which the developing human can engage in proximal processes, in this case, the school)
  • The macrotime (events in the larger society within and across generations that affect or are affected by processes and outcomes of human development over the life course, in this case the Covid-19 pandemic crisis).

Means, standard deviations, t-statistics, and effect size

After intensive literature study and in cooperation with representatives from science, schools, and educational planning, four items were constructed. It was decided to use a 4-point Likert scale (1= I do not agree at all to 4 = I fully agree) to avoid the potential of a tendency to the middle (Jonkisz et al., 2012 ). The scale was introduced with a short instruction asking students to indicate how they evaluate and perceive their current situation at school given the Covid-19 school closure (“Think about your experiences during the Covid-19 homeschooling situation. Please check the response that most represents your experience”.). The items were developed in German and translated into English for this publication.

Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) was carried out for the four items using principal components analyses with varimax rotation. The Kaiser-Guttman criterion (retain all factors with eigenvalues greater than 1.0) was used to identify the number of factors (Osborne & Costello, 2009 ). The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin value was .65, exceeding the recommended value of .06 (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2007 ), and Bartlett’s test of sphericity reached statistical significance (χ 2 (6) = 180.15, p < .001), indicating that there was sufficient communality in the manifest variables and that the data are suitable for the factor analysis (Field, 2013 ; Pallant, 2010 ). The EFA with the 4 items yielded one single factor accounting for 58.04% of the variance. Table ​ Table1 1 shows the factor loading of the four items on the single factor named as ‘Student Experiences of Social Distancing’. The reliability of the four-item scale was α = .75. The inter-item correlation ranged from .47 to .64. Although the inter-item correlations for two items are relatively moderate, the reliability of the scale did not improve by removing them. Hence, all four items were kept in the scale.

To assess students’ positive and negative activation, the short-form scale for positive activation, negative activation, and valence (PANAVA) scale was used (Schallberger, 2005 ). The PANAVA scale measures students’ positive and negative activation by asking the participants to indicate their emotional state on a 7-point scale consisting of eight items of opposite adjective pairs, with four items representing the positive activations and four the negative activations (Schreiber & Jenny, 2020 ). Positive activation is represented by the adjective pairs “no energy–full of energy”, “tired–wide awake”, “listless–highly motivated”, and “bored–enthusiastic”, with the first adjective expressing a state of low positive activation and the second a state of high positive activation. The items illustrating negative activation are: “relaxed–stressed”, “peaceful–angry”, “calm–nervous”, and “free of worry–worried”. In each case, the first adjective indicates an emotional state of low negative activation and the second an emotional state of high negative activation (Schallberger, 2005 ). Previous research gives evidence that the PANAVA scales possess acceptable internal consistencies. (For the positive activation scale, the value of Cronbach’s alpha is α = .86, and for the negative activation scale, α = .86). For the sample of this study, Cronbach’s alpha for the positive activation was α = .81, and for the negative activation scale α = .78. The students’ reports on their positive and negative activation before distance learning occurred in retrospectively, since the data collection took place during distance learning.

Data analysis

The analyses within this study were conducted using SPSS 27. In order to get detailed insights into research question 1 (the students’ experiences of social distancing) one-sample t-tests were calculated separately for the social distancing scale’s four items. Concerning research question 2, gender differences were analyzed using an independent sample t-test in which, given the imbalance in sample size between primary and secondary students, education -stage differences were explored through a Mann-Whitney nonparametric test (Field, 2013 ). Finally, in order to examine research question 3, two multiple linear regression analyses were performed and students’ emotional experiences of positive and negative activation were calculated.

One sample t test on each item (based on a scale of 1 to 4 where the theoretical mean is 2.5) was calculated. From Table ​ Table1 1 it can be seen that items 1 and 2 were rated higher by the sample, whereas items 3 and 4 were not statistically significant. The effect size of item 1 is large, while that of item 2 is medium, according to Cohen’s d results, where an effect size of 0.20 is small, 0.50 is medium, and 0.8 or above is large (Cohen, 1988 ). Item 2, “I miss my classmates”, had the highest effect size (d = .90), followed by item 1, “I miss my friends” (d = .73).

Means, standard deviations, and correlations of all variables under study can be found in Table ​ Table2. 2 . A one -sample t test was conducted to explore at a scale-level students’ general social distancing experience. Given that the empirical answer score is above the theoretical mean value of the scale (M = 2.5) (t(146) = 8.82, p < .001), the findings indicate that students perceive a high level of distance and separation from their peers, teachers, school, and friends. The results of an independent t-test show that female and male students have a similar perception of social distance (t(144) = − .38, n.s.). Given that more than 90% of the respondents were in secondary school, it was decided to explore potential differences between primary and secondary school students using the Mann-Whitney nonparametric test (Field, 2013 ). The results show that primary school students perceive a higher degree of social distance (Mdn = 3.00) than secondary school students (Mdn = 2.00), U = 231, z = − 2.95, r = − .25.

Factor loadings and inter-item correlation of the items on the students’ experiences of social distancing scale (N = 150 )

The first multiple regression model was conducted to see if age, gender, educational stage, and social distancing level predicted students’ positive activation during the Covid-19 related homeschooling. As seen from Table ​ Table3, 3 , the analyses revealed that both students’ age and social distancing negatively predict their positive activation. It appears that the younger the students are and the less social distancing they experience, the higher their positive activation.

Means, standard deviations, and correlations of all variables

*p < .05; **p < .01

The second multiple regression model was calculated to explore whether age, gender, educational stage, and social distancing level predicted students’ negative activation during the Covid-19 related homeschooling. The results show again that students’ age and the experienced social distancing predicted their negative activation. However, as seen from Table ​ Table3, 3 , this is opposite to the previous model, meaning that the older the students are and the higher the levels of social distancing they experience, the more negative activation occurred.

The results of this study give a first impression of how students experienced social distancing from their school, teachers, and classmates as well as the impact it had on their emotional experiences. With regard to the item-level analyses, students rated significantly higher those items related to missing their friends and classmates. This result goes in line with findings from Styck et al. ( 2021 ) in the United States and Heidrich et al. ( 2022 ) in Austria, where students also reported not seeing their friends and classmates as the highest stressor during the Covid-19 school shutdown. However, it is important to highlight that in the present study the item ‘I miss my classmates’ had the largest effect size. Thus, these results strengthen the argument that the school context is a crucial microsystem for children and youth, particularly during the current Covid-19 crisis (Demaray et al., 2021 ).

Furthermore, the findings from this study reported no significant differences across students’ gender. Hence, both female and male participants missed school and their peers in a similar way. This result is similar to the findings of Heidrich et al. ( 2022 ) with an Austrian student sample but contradicts findings from studies such as the one from Fedorenko et al. ( 2020 ) that clearly indicated gender differences. For instance, Fedorenko et al. ( 2020 ) found that female participants reported higher levels of fear of social distancing. However, the discrepancy between the studies may stem from the country and surveyed sample context (United States vs. Germany) and the different research focus. Further research is needed to explore in detail these contrasting results in order to determine whether country -specific or other variables come into play (Table ​ (Table4 4 ).

Multiple regression models

+ p <.10; * p < .05; ** p < .01

Consistent with the findings of Heidrich et al. ( 2022 ), the data analyses indicated that younger students (those in primary school) experienced high levels of social distancing. Previous research has also raised concerns about the potential negative impact of social distancing on the well-being of primary school students (Flack et al., 2020 ). The present study seems consistent with such conclusions, since primary school students clearly rated a higher level of distance, loneliness, and disconnection from their peers, teachers, and school context.

Finally, with regard to the results obtained from the multiple linear regression, it can be concluded that social distancing has a critical impact on students’ emotional experiences. A manifold of research has widely discussed the negative impact of social distancing on children and adolescents. For instance, Ellis et al. ( 2020 ) found that students’ stress over social distancing during the Covid-19–related closures was strongly associated with increased feelings of loneliness and depression. However, as seen from the correlation analyses and both multiple linear regression models, older students appear to be more negatively affected by social distancing. That is, the older the students are, the lower their positive activation and the higher their negative activation as a result of social distancing. Similar findings reported by Wang et al. ( 2021 ) have revealed that social distancing predicted an increase in adolescents’ stress and decreases in their positive activation.

Limitations and considerations for further research

Underlying this study are several limitations that must be considered. First, given the sample size (N=150), it was not possible to establish two samples in order to carry out confirmatory factor analyses as well as validation procedures (i.e., criterion, construct, and content validity) (Svensson, 2011 ). However, because of the unprecedented situation presented by the pandemic, there were no available, well-established instruments that could be implemented. Second, the number of primary school students is relatively low compared to the number of secondary students. Therefore, the results of this study must be considered with caution. Nonetheless, the decision to compare educational stages was derived from available international research that has pointed out differences between primary and secondary school with regard to the effects of social isolation (Demaray et al., 2021 ; Flack et al., 2020 ; Styk et al., 2020). Third, the study used data collected in Germany; thus, generalizing the results to other countries is problematic as differences across countries can be identified only when research follows a cross-country approach and uses the same instruments. Given the features of the scale we used (it is short, reliable, and easy-to-administer), it has the potential to be used internationally, as well, following other countries’ respective back translations and validation studies. This would provide insights that help us better understand potential contextual differences, as in Fedorenko et al. ( 2020 ). Finally, the data stem from a cross-sectional study; it would be desirable to use the scale in a longitudinal study that would also provide insights into the development of students’ social distancing experiences, as the pandemic is a phenomenon that students around the world may encounter in the future.


Despite its limitations, the present study highlights the severe impact of social distancing on students’ emotional experiences and well-being. Students’ experience a drastic reduction in their social interactions during Covid-19 school-related closures. This reduction appears to challenge their need for relatedness in ways that have contributed to higher levels of negative affect and reduced positive activation. Given that the Covid-19 pandemic is still and will most likely continue to be quite an unpredictable situation, it is of upmost importance for schools and teachers to support students’ social interaction. Lastly, the study’s results only strengthen what Bozkurt and Sharma ( 2020 , p. 106) conclude: “Perhaps, one of the lessons we must draw from this experience is that no amount of technology is able to replace face-to-face interaction or the care and emotion present in a classroom”.


is a Postdoc at the University of Trier, Department for Teacher Education and Research. Her research interests are inclusion, inclusive practices, diversity, differentiation, differentiated instruction, digitalization in education, virtual reality in education and educational quality. Before changing her profession to research, she worked as a teacher in different school tracks in Germany.

holds a professorship with focus on inclusion and participation within the school context in the Professional School of Education, Humboldt University. Her main research interests are inclusion, differentiated instruction, motivation and interest, as well as digital learning.

is professor of Educational Sciences at the University of Trier, where he is responsible for assessment education in teacher education. His research includes the development of student teachers’ assessment competence, differentiated instruction in secondary education, and factors influencing the academic self-concept in diverse classrooms.

Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.

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Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Contributor Information

Verena Letzel-Alt, Email: ed.reirt-inu@leztel .

Marcela Pozas, Email: [email protected] .

Christoph Schneider, Email: ed.reirt-inu@credienhcs .

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Op-Ed: Here’s everything I missed as a COVID-era student. Will any of it ever come back?

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I don’t know what most of the kids in my grade look like. I’ve never gone to a high school dance. My last “regular” school year began in the fall of 2018; that was seventh grade. This week, I start 10th grade.

I have watched many movies about high school. Not one was about a kid eating by themselves at a desk while another student six feet away also eats alone. And I’ve yet to see a movie about students who are only allowed into school every other day.

On a Friday in March 2020, my French teacher looked up from her computer and said we wouldn’t be coming to school on Monday. My first thought was, I hope this lasts for two weeks instead of just one. I could use a vacation.

Adults told me school would be back in a week, maybe two. Now, 18 months and two unusual school years later, I am looking for the stash of masks I wasn’t supposed to need for sophomore year.

This past school year I was scheduled to attend school in-person every other day between September and April. But there was not a lot of consistency. School sometimes would go virtual for a few days, a teacher would be out, or schedules would change because of positive coronavirus cases or exposures, or updated regulations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state or school district.

My in-person school days started with me putting on the mask that I would wear until 4 p.m. I got on the bus at 6:46 a.m. Even in a Massachusetts winter, my bus still had to have all the windows open. I was not allowed to sit with anyone, so I listened to Spotify to pass the time.

My first class began with the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance over the PA system, and then the speaker would remind me to sanitize and wash my hands.

Classes were quiet. I don’t think anyone knew how to act. There was no chatter before or after class, just silence. We didn’t have lockers and we weren’t allowed to hang out in the hallways. There were school officials stationed around the building to make sure we complied.

More than once I would be looking forward to seeing a friend but would get to school and that person wouldn’t be there. Those who tested positive for the virus, or were close contacts of someone who had, had to either quarantine or show negative tests to come back to school.

If a teacher had to stay home, I had to spend that class period in study hall instead. A few times there were so many teachers out that more study hall space had to be created to accommodate all the students whose classes were missing a teacher.

I went back in person full time in April. A friend and I made a bet about how many coronavirus cases there would be in the first week. I won. I guessed there would be at least 15 cases. We hit that by Wednesday. Fortunately, cases dropped after a few weeks.

That first day with all students back, the number of people in the building doubled, class sizes doubled, and space between desks halved. This followed all COVID-19 protocols, but it was still scary. Going to school meant the possibility of getting seriously ill. The good thing was the eerie silence in the building disappeared. Talking was back.

The COVID-19 pandemic has robbed me of memories. I worked so hard in eighth-grade French class, and it took away my spring class trip to Quebec. It canceled my eighth-grade graduation trip to Washington. I didn’t get a proper middle school graduation.

Losing the chance to make those memories was awful, but the day-to-day protocols in high school felt worse.

At robotics, I had to space six feet out from my teammates while working on a robot that was 18 inches tall and wide. One person would go to the robot and the others would step away. Jazz band rehearsal took up the entire auditorium — we weren’t allowed to sit next to one another, so we had to spread out to play.

I wasn’t allowed to high-five other teammates at cross-country practice after a long run or challenging workout. At the beginning of softball season, I had to wear a mask underneath my catcher’s helmet.

Hanging out with friends was entering the local cafe two at a time, ordering a muffin, walking to the town commons, and eating while sitting in a circle six feet apart from one another.

I am not anti-mask or anti-vaccine. I know life can go back to when there was no fear of getting sick, no masks and no social distancing. We have vaccines that allow for this.

I’m about to return to school in person every day, hopefully for the entire school year. As of now my school is not mandating vaccines, but my state just required that masks be worn indoors until at least Oct. 1 . For now, the only certainty I have about my sophomore year is that the rules will keep on changing.

Adults tell me that the way my generation is handling the pandemic is inspiring. That’s a wonderful compliment. But I’d rather have my regular life back.

Sidhi Dhanda is about to start her sophomore year at Hopkinton High School in Hopkinton, Mass.

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‘I miss school’: How students are coping with remote learning during coronavirus pandemic

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“In my opinion, I think that this is very annoying and I think people will agree,” A. Falcon, a fifth-grader at P.S. 290Q in Ridgewood, said about New York City’s public schools shutting down as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

For Falcon — whose mother requested her son’s full name not be used — and many of the 1.1 million students in NYC’s school system, the largest school system in the country, the city’s decision to close schools was an abrupt, but necessary measure to stop the spread of the pandemic.

“For many people, school is really fun. You get to meet new friends and goof around at recess after learning new things,” Falcon told QNS. “And for teachers, they get to pass down knowledge to their students. Not only is there math and ELA, but also specials like P.E., science, art and music! But then it came along to the U.S.”

The decision to close schools wasn’t an easy or quick one. Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza received pushback from many parents, educators and fellow elected officials who felt that schools should’ve closed much sooner.

“I was worried about the disease spreading throughout all of the public schools because although the death rate was low, the more people who get it, the more will die,” Jamie A. said. “I was especially worried for those who have family members with compromised health because if the children carried it home it would put those family members at risk.”

Although schools are closed until Monday, April 20, students still have about three months left of classes. De Blasio recently said there’s a good chance schools won’t open again for the rest of the school year.

As a result, a whole new way of learning and teaching had to take place — remote learning . In anticipation of the city announcing schools would close, many schools throughout the city began to prepare by creating packets and homework for students to take home.

The Department of Education (DOE) then gave teachers a week to train for virtual education, where many teachers, some of which never used online tools, got familiar with resources like Google Classroom and Zoom. Remote learning officially kicked off on March 23.

“I feel sad I cannot see my friends,” said Jordan Turkoglu, a first-grader at P.S. 290Q. “I have some school work but it’s not a lot and I feel sad I cannot see my teacher. I’m happy because I saw some of my friends on video yesterday. I do want to play with my friends but now I cannot.”

“It’s not too stressful and you can work at your own pace without the teacher going too fast during the lesson,” she said. “But I had many questions about my work and the teacher can’t answer the questions right away, so that wastes time and the students might end up doing the assignment wrong if they don’t get it either.”

“Yesterday we learned about money in my math class, and it was helpful because there were videos that helped me understand. It was fun to see comments from my friends on the computer,” Malik said. “But I miss school because there are a lot of fun activities like gym, and you get to make a lot of friends. I didn’t do my music class yet on my computer and I hope it will be like class at school where we get to learn about different singers. I miss hearing my music teacher, Miss Schwab, play the piano.”

Carranza said they estimate about 300,000 students don’t have devices. The DOE distributed 25,000 iPads to students who need it the most, and there are companies offering free internet deals — but there’s still a big disparity between students who have the resources they need and those who don’t.

Jacob Altamirano, a fifth-grader at P.S. 290Q, is worried about the services some students in District 75 (P.S. 277Q, which shares the same building) will miss due to the shutdown, such as counseling, physical therapy, Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETTS) and Individualized Education Program (IEPs).

“Our speech and SETTS are very important for us to continue to develop and do well in school. I hope and wish that me and my friends can continue to see our very important teachers, even if it is online, so we can continue to learn and grow,” Altamirano said.

In a press conference on March 23, Carranza said that the DOE is still developing the remote learning model, and all schools have had to develop their own way of dealing with the change. He asked the school community for “flexibility and patience.”

“It’s also great for the school community because it’s bringing families together,” Leon said. “Teachers, staff members and students get to go home with their families and enjoy this time off as well. It’s a positive thing because families get to spend more time together.”

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Katherine Reynolds Lewis, Undark Magazine

Student takes part in remote distance learning

The transition to online learning in the United States during the Covid-19 pandemic was, by many accounts, a failure. While there were some  bright   spots  across the country, the transition was messy and uneven — countless teachers had neither the materials nor training they needed to effectively connect with students remotely, while many of those students   were bored , isolated, and lacked the resources they needed to learn. The results were abysmal: low test scores, fewer children learning at grade level, increased inequity, and teacher burnout. With the public health crisis on top of deaths and job losses in many families, students experienced   increases  in depression, anxiety, and suicide risk.

Yet society very well may face new widespread calamities in the near future, from another pandemic to extreme weather, that will require a similarly quick shift to remote school. Success will hinge on big changes, from infrastructure to teacher training, several experts told Undark. “We absolutely need to invest in ways for schools to run continuously, to pick up where they left off. But man, it’s a tall order,” said Heather L. Schwartz, a senior policy researcher at RAND. “It’s not good enough for teachers to simply refer students to disconnected, stand-alone videos on, say, YouTube. Students need lessons that connect directly to what they were learning before school closed.”

More than three years after U.S. schools shifted to remote instruction on an emergency basis, the education sector is still largely unprepared for another long-term interruption of in-person school. The stakes are highest for those who need it most: low-income children and students of color, who are also most likely to be harmed in a future pandemic or live in communities  most affected  by climate change. But, given the abundance of research on what didn’t work during the pandemic, school leaders may have the opportunity to do things differently next time. Being ready would require strategic planning, rethinking the role of the teacher, and using new technology wisely, experts told Undark. And many problems with remote learning actually trace back not to technology, but to basic instructional quality. Effective remote learning won’t happen if schools aren’t already employing best practices in the physical classroom, such as creating a culture of learning from mistakes, empowering teachers to meet individual student needs, establishing high expectations, and setting clear goals supported by frequent feedback. While it’s ambitious to envision that every school district will create seamless virtual learning platforms — and, for that matter, overcome challenges in education more broadly — the lessons of the pandemic are there to be followed or ignored.

“We haven’t done anywhere near the amount of planning or the development of the instructional infrastructure needed to allow for a smooth transition next time schools need to close for prolonged periods of time,” Schwartz said. “Until we can reach that goal, I don’t have high confidence that the next prolonged school closure will be substantially more successful.”

Before the pandemic,  only 3 percent  of U.S. school districts offered virtual school, mostly for students with unique circumstances, such as a disability or those intensely pursuing a sport or the performing arts, according to a RAND  survey  Schwartz co-authored. For the most part, the educational technology companies and developers creating software for these schools promised to give students a personalized experience. But the research on these programs, which focused on virtual charter schools that only existed online, showed  poor outcomes . Their students were a year behind in math and nearly a half-year behind in reading, and courses offered less direct time with a teacher each week than regular schools have in a day.

The pandemic sparked growth in stand-alone virtual academies, in addition to the emergency remote learning that districts had to adopt in March 2020. Educators’ interest in online instructional materials exploded, too, according to Schwartz, “and it really put the foot on the gas to ramp them up, expand them, and in theory, improve them.” By June 2021, the number of school districts with a stand-alone virtual school rose to 26 percent. Of the remaining districts, another 23 percent were interested in offering an online school, the report found.

But the sheer magnitude of options for online learning didn’t necessarily mean it worked well, Schwartz said: “It’s the quality part that has to come up in order for this to be a really good, viable alternative to in person instruction.” And individualized, self-directed online learning proved to be a pipe dream — especially for younger children who needed support from a parent or other family member even to get online, much less stay focused.

“The notion that students would have personalized playlists and could curate their own education was proven to be problematic on a couple levels, especially for younger and less affluent students,” said Thomas Toch, director of FutureEd, an education think tank at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. “The social and emotional toll that isolation and those traumas took on students suggest that the social dimension of schooling is hugely important and was greatly undervalued, especially by proponents for an increased role of technology.”

Students also often didn’t have the materials they needed for online school, some lacking computers or internet access at home. Teachers didn’t have the right training for  online instruction , which has a unique pedagogy and best practices. As a result, many virtual classrooms attempted to replicate the same lessons over video that would’ve been delivered at school. The results were overwhelmingly bad, research shows. ​​For example, a  2022 study  found six consistent themes about how the pandemic affected learning, including a lack of interaction between students and with teachers, and disproportionate harm to low-income students. Numb from isolation and too many hours in front of a screen, students  failed to engage  in coursework and  suffered emotionally .

student is assisted by her mom in online learning while her sister works nearby

After some districts resumed in-person or hybrid instruction in the 2020 fall semester, it became clear that the longer students were remote,  the worse their learning delays . For example, national standardized test scores for the 2020-2021 school year showed that passing rates for math declined about 14 percentage points on average, more than three times the drop seen in districts that returned to in-person instruction the earliest, according to a  2021 National Bureau of Economic Research study . Even after most U.S. districts resumed in-person instruction, students who had been online the longest  continued to lag  behind their peers. The pandemic  hit cities hardest  and the effects disproportionately harmed low-income children and students of color in urban areas.

“What we did during the pandemic is not the optimal use of online learning in education for the future,” said Ashley Jochim, a researcher at the Center on Reinventing Public Education at Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. “Online learning is not a full stop substitute for what kids need to thrive and be supported at school.”

Children also largely prefer in-person school. A  2022 Pew Research Center survey  suggested that 65 percent of students would rather be in a classroom, 9 percent would opt for online only, and the rest are unsure or prefer a hybrid model. “For most families and kids, full-time online school is actually not the educational solution they want,” Jochim said.

Virtual school felt meaningless to Abner Magdaleno, a 12th grader in Los Angeles. “I couldn’t really connect with it, because I’m more of, like, a social person. And that was stripped away from me when we went online,” recalled Magdaleno. Mackenzie Sheehy, 19, of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, found there were too many distractions at home to learn. Her grades suffered, and she missed the one-on-one time with teachers. (Sheehy graduated from high school in 2022.)

Many teachers feel the same way. “Nothing replaces physical proximity, whatever the age,” said Ana Silva, a New York City English teacher. She enjoyed experimenting with interactive technology during online school, but is grateful to be back in person. “I like the casual way kids can come to my desk and see me. I like the dynamism — seeing kids in the cafeteria. Those interactions are really positive, and they were entirely missing during the online learning.”

During the 2022-2023 school year, many districts  initially planned  to continue online courses for snow days and other building closures. But they found that the teacher instruction, student experience, and demands on families were simply too different for in-person versus remote school, said Liz Kolb, an associate professor in the School of Education at the University of Michigan. “Schools are moving away from that because it’s too difficult to quickly transition and blend back and forth among the two without having strong structures in place,” Kolb said. “Most schools don’t have those strong structures.”

In addition, both families and educators grew sick of their screens. “They’re trying to avoid technology a little bit. There’s this fatigue coming out of remote learning and the pandemic,” said Mingyu Feng, a research director at WestEd, a nonprofit research agency. “If the students are on Zoom every day for like, six hours, that seems to be not quite right.”

Despite the bumpy pandemic rollout, online school can serve an important role in the U.S. education system. For one, online learning is a better alternative for some students. Garvey Mortley, 15, of Bethesda, Maryland, and her two sisters all switched to their district’s virtual academy during the pandemic to protect their own health and their grandmother’s. This year, Mortley’s sisters went back to in-person school, but she chose to stay online. “I love the flexibility about it,” she said, noting that some of her classmates prefer it because they have a disability or have demanding schedules. “I love how I can just roll out of bed in the morning, and I can sit down and do school.” Some educators also prefer teaching online, according to  reports  of virtual schools that were inundated with applications from teachers because they wanted to keep  working from home . Silva, the New York high school English teacher, enjoys online tutoring and academic coaching, because it facilitates one-on-one interaction.

And in rural districts and those with low enrollment, some access to online learning ensures students can take courses that could otherwise be inaccessible. “Because of the economies of scale in small rural districts, they needed to tap into online and shared service delivery arrangements in order to provide a full complement of coursework at the high school level,” said Jochim. Innovation in these districts, she added, will accelerate: “We’ll continue to see growth, scalability, and improvement in quality.”

There were also some schools that were largely successful at switching to online at the start of the pandemic, such as Vista Unified School District in California, which  pooled and shared innovative ideas  for adapting in March 2020; the school quickly put together an online portal so that principals and teachers could share ideas and the district could allot the necessary resources. Digging into examples like this could point the way to the future of online learning, said Chelsea Waite, a senior researcher at the Center on Reinventing Public Education, who was part of a collaborative project studying 70 schools and districts that pivoted successfully to online learning. The  project found  three factors that made the transition work: a focus on resilience, collaboration, and autonomy for both students and educators; a healthy culture that prioritized relationships; and strong yet flexible systems that were accustomed to adaptation.

Teacher in Boston participates in online learning during the covid-19 pandemic

“We investigated schools that did seem to be more prepared for the Covid disruption, not just with having devices in students’ hands or having an online curriculum already, but with a learning culture in the school that really prioritized agency and problem solving as skills for students and adults,” Waite said. “In these schools, kids are learning from a very young age to be a little bit more self-directed, to set goals, and pursue them and pivot when they need to.”

Similarly, many of the takeaways from the pandemic trace back to the basics of effective education, not technological innovation. A landmark report by the National Academies of Sciences called “How People Learn,” most recently updated in 2018, synthesized the body of educational research and identified four key features in the most successful learning environments. First, these schools are designed for, and adapt to, the specific students, building on what they bring to the classroom, such as skills and beliefs. Second, successful schools give their students clear goals, showing them what they need to learn and how they can get there. Third, they provide in-the-moment feedback that emphasizes understanding, not memorization. And finally, the most successful schools are community-centered, with a culture of collaboration and acceptance of mistakes.

“We as humans are social learners, yet some of the tech talk is driven by people who are strong individual learners,” said Jeremy Roschelle, executive director of Learning Sciences Research at Digital Promise, a global education nonprofit. “They’re not necessarily thinking about how most people learn, which is very social.”

Another powerful insight from pandemic-era remote schooling involves the evolving role of teachers, said Kim Kelly, a middle school math teacher at Northbridge Middle School in Massachusetts and a K-8 curriculum coach. Historically, a teacher’s role is the keeper of knowledge who delivers instruction. But in recent years, there has been a shift in approach, where teachers think of themselves as coaches who can intervene based on a student’s individual learning progress. Technology that assists with a coach-like role can be effective — but requires educators to be trained and comfortable interpreting data on student needs.

For example, with a digital learning platform called ASSISTments, teachers can assign math problems, students complete them — potentially receiving in-the-moment feedback on steps they’re getting wrong — and then the teachers can use data from individual students and the entire class to plan instruction and see where additional support is needed.

“A big advantage of these computer-driven products is they really try to diagnose where students are, and try to address their needs. It’s very personalized, individualized,” said WestEd’s Feng, who has  evaluated  ASSISTments and other educational technologies. She noted that some teachers feel frustrated “when you expect them to read the data and try to figure out what the students’ needs are.”

Teacher’s colleges don’t typically prepare educators to interpret data and change their practices, said Kelly, whose dissertation focused on self-regulated online learning. But professional development has helped her learn to harness technology to improve teaching and learning. “Schools are in data overload; we are oozing data from every direction, yet none of it is very actionable,” she said. Some technology, she added, provided student data that she could use regularly, which changed how she taught and assigned homework.

When students get feedback from the computer program during a homework session, the whole class doesn’t have to review the homework together, which can save time. Educators can move forward on instruction — or if they see areas of confusion, focus more on those topics. The ability of the programs to detect how well students are learning “is unreal,” said Kelly, “but it really does require teachers to be monitoring that data and interpreting.” She learned to accept that some students could drive their own learning and act on the feedback from homework, while others simply needed more teacher intervention. She now does more assessment at the beginning of a course to better support all students.

At the district or even national level, letting teachers play to their strengths can also help improve how their students learn, Toch, of FutureEd, said. For example, if a teacher is better at delivering instruction, they could give a lesson to a larger group of students online, while another teacher who is more comfortable in the coach role could work in smaller groups or one-on-one.

“One thing we saw during the pandemic are smart strategies for using technology to get outstanding teachers in front of more students,” Toch said, describing one effort that recruited exceptional teachers nationally and built a strong curriculum to be delivered online. “The local educators were providing support for their students in their classrooms.”

Remote schooling requires new technology, and already, educators are swamped with competing platforms and software choices — most of which have  insufficient evidence of efficacy . Traditional independent research on specific technologies is sparse, Roschelle said. Post-pandemic, the field is so diverse and there are so many technologies in use, it’s almost impossible to find a control group to design a randomized control trial, he added. However, there is qualitative research and evidence that give hints about the quality of technology and online learning, such as  case studies  and school recommendations.

Educational leaders should ask three key questions about technology before investing, recommended Ryan Baker, a professor of education at the University of Pennsylvania: Is there evidence it works to improve learning outcomes? Does the vendor provide support and training, or are teachers on their own? And does it work with the same types of students as are in their school or district? In other words, educators must look at a technology’s track record in the context of their own school’s demographics, geography, culture, and challenges. These decisions are complicated by the small universe of researchers and evaluators, who have many overlapping relationships. (Over his career, for example, Baker has worked with or consulted for many of the education technology firms that create the software he studies.)

It may help to broaden the definition of evidence. The Center on Reinventing Public Education launched the  Canopy project  to collect examples of effective educational innovation around the U.S.

“What we wanted to do is build much better and more open and collective knowledge about where schools are challenging old assumptions and redesigning what school is and should be,” she added, noting that these educational leaders are reconceptualizing the skills they want students to attain. “They’re often trying to measure or communicate concepts that we don’t have great measurement tools for yet. So they end up relying on a lot of testimonials and evidence of student work.”

The moment is ripe for innovation in online and in-person education, said Julia Fallon, executive director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association, since the pandemic accelerated the rollout of devices and needed infrastructure. There’s an  opportunity  and need for technology that empowers teachers to improve learning outcomes and work more efficiently, said Roschelle. Online and hybrid learning are clearly here to stay — and likely will be called upon again during future temporary school closures.

Still, poorly-executed remote learning risks tainting the whole model; parents and students may be unlikely to give it a second chance. The pandemic showed the hard and fast limits on the potential for fully remote learning to be adopted broadly, for one, because in many communities, schools serve more than an educational function — they support children’s mental health, social needs, and nutrition and other physical health needs. The pandemic also highlighted the real challenge in training the entire U.S. teaching corps to be proficient in technology and data analysis. And the lack of a nimble shift to remote learning in an emergency will disproportionately harm low-income children and students of color. So the stakes are high for getting it right, experts told Undark, and summoning the political will.

“There are these benefits in online education, but there are also these real weaknesses we know from prior research and experience,” Jochim said. “So how do we build a system that has online learning as a complement to this other set of supports and experiences that kids benefit from?”

Katherine Reynolds Lewis is an award-winning journalist covering children, race, gender, disability, mental health, social justice, and science.

This article was originally published on Undark . Read the original article .

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How to Write About Coronavirus in a College Essay

Students can share how they navigated life during the coronavirus pandemic in a full-length essay or an optional supplement.

Writing About COVID-19 in College Essays

Serious disabled woman concentrating on her work she sitting at her workplace and working on computer at office

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Experts say students should be honest and not limit themselves to merely their experiences with the pandemic.

The global impact of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, means colleges and prospective students alike are in for an admissions cycle like no other. Both face unprecedented challenges and questions as they grapple with their respective futures amid the ongoing fallout of the pandemic.

Colleges must examine applicants without the aid of standardized test scores for many – a factor that prompted many schools to go test-optional for now . Even grades, a significant component of a college application, may be hard to interpret with some high schools adopting pass-fail classes last spring due to the pandemic. Major college admissions factors are suddenly skewed.

"I can't help but think other (admissions) factors are going to matter more," says Ethan Sawyer, founder of the College Essay Guy, a website that offers free and paid essay-writing resources.

College essays and letters of recommendation , Sawyer says, are likely to carry more weight than ever in this admissions cycle. And many essays will likely focus on how the pandemic shaped students' lives throughout an often tumultuous 2020.

But before writing a college essay focused on the coronavirus, students should explore whether it's the best topic for them.

Writing About COVID-19 for a College Application

Much of daily life has been colored by the coronavirus. Virtual learning is the norm at many colleges and high schools, many extracurriculars have vanished and social lives have stalled for students complying with measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.

"For some young people, the pandemic took away what they envisioned as their senior year," says Robert Alexander, dean of admissions, financial aid and enrollment management at the University of Rochester in New York. "Maybe that's a spot on a varsity athletic team or the lead role in the fall play. And it's OK for them to mourn what should have been and what they feel like they lost, but more important is how are they making the most of the opportunities they do have?"

That question, Alexander says, is what colleges want answered if students choose to address COVID-19 in their college essay.

But the question of whether a student should write about the coronavirus is tricky. The answer depends largely on the student.

"In general, I don't think students should write about COVID-19 in their main personal statement for their application," Robin Miller, master college admissions counselor at IvyWise, a college counseling company, wrote in an email.

"Certainly, there may be exceptions to this based on a student's individual experience, but since the personal essay is the main place in the application where the student can really allow their voice to be heard and share insight into who they are as an individual, there are likely many other topics they can choose to write about that are more distinctive and unique than COVID-19," Miller says.

Opinions among admissions experts vary on whether to write about the likely popular topic of the pandemic.

"If your essay communicates something positive, unique, and compelling about you in an interesting and eloquent way, go for it," Carolyn Pippen, principal college admissions counselor at IvyWise, wrote in an email. She adds that students shouldn't be dissuaded from writing about a topic merely because it's common, noting that "topics are bound to repeat, no matter how hard we try to avoid it."

Above all, she urges honesty.

"If your experience within the context of the pandemic has been truly unique, then write about that experience, and the standing out will take care of itself," Pippen says. "If your experience has been generally the same as most other students in your context, then trying to find a unique angle can easily cross the line into exploiting a tragedy, or at least appearing as though you have."

But focusing entirely on the pandemic can limit a student to a single story and narrow who they are in an application, Sawyer says. "There are so many wonderful possibilities for what you can say about yourself outside of your experience within the pandemic."

He notes that passions, strengths, career interests and personal identity are among the multitude of essay topic options available to applicants and encourages them to probe their values to help determine the topic that matters most to them – and write about it.

That doesn't mean the pandemic experience has to be ignored if applicants feel the need to write about it.

Writing About Coronavirus in Main and Supplemental Essays

Students can choose to write a full-length college essay on the coronavirus or summarize their experience in a shorter form.

To help students explain how the pandemic affected them, The Common App has added an optional section to address this topic. Applicants have 250 words to describe their pandemic experience and the personal and academic impact of COVID-19.

"That's not a trick question, and there's no right or wrong answer," Alexander says. Colleges want to know, he adds, how students navigated the pandemic, how they prioritized their time, what responsibilities they took on and what they learned along the way.

If students can distill all of the above information into 250 words, there's likely no need to write about it in a full-length college essay, experts say. And applicants whose lives were not heavily altered by the pandemic may even choose to skip the optional COVID-19 question.

"This space is best used to discuss hardship and/or significant challenges that the student and/or the student's family experienced as a result of COVID-19 and how they have responded to those difficulties," Miller notes. Using the section to acknowledge a lack of impact, she adds, "could be perceived as trite and lacking insight, despite the good intentions of the applicant."

To guard against this lack of awareness, Sawyer encourages students to tap someone they trust to review their writing , whether it's the 250-word Common App response or the full-length essay.

Experts tend to agree that the short-form approach to this as an essay topic works better, but there are exceptions. And if a student does have a coronavirus story that he or she feels must be told, Alexander encourages the writer to be authentic in the essay.

"My advice for an essay about COVID-19 is the same as my advice about an essay for any topic – and that is, don't write what you think we want to read or hear," Alexander says. "Write what really changed you and that story that now is yours and yours alone to tell."

Sawyer urges students to ask themselves, "What's the sentence that only I can write?" He also encourages students to remember that the pandemic is only a chapter of their lives and not the whole book.

Miller, who cautions against writing a full-length essay on the coronavirus, says that if students choose to do so they should have a conversation with their high school counselor about whether that's the right move. And if students choose to proceed with COVID-19 as a topic, she says they need to be clear, detailed and insightful about what they learned and how they adapted along the way.

"Approaching the essay in this manner will provide important balance while demonstrating personal growth and vulnerability," Miller says.

Pippen encourages students to remember that they are in an unprecedented time for college admissions.

"It is important to keep in mind with all of these (admission) factors that no colleges have ever had to consider them this way in the selection process, if at all," Pippen says. "They have had very little time to calibrate their evaluations of different application components within their offices, let alone across institutions. This means that colleges will all be handling the admissions process a little bit differently, and their approaches may even evolve over the course of the admissions cycle."

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6 things we've learned about how the pandemic disrupted learning

Cory Turner - Square

Cory Turner

Covid testing in schools as a bridge to getting back in the classroom.

How did the pandemic disrupt learning for America's more than 50 million K-12 students?

For two years, that question has felt immeasurable, like a phantom, though few educators doubted the shadow it cast over children who spent months struggling to learn online.

Now, as a third pandemic school year draws to a close, new research offers the clearest accounting yet of the crisis's academic toll — as well as reason to hope that schools can help.

1. Surprise! Students learned less when they were remote

But really, this should surprise no one.

Most schools had little to no experience with remote instruction when the pandemic began; they lacked teacher training, appropriate software, laptops, universal internet access and, in many cases, students lacked stability and a supportive adult at home to help.

Even students who spent the least amount of time learning remotely during the 2020-21 school year — just a month or less — missed the equivalent of seven to 10 weeks of math learning, says Thomas Kane of the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University.

Much of that missed learning, Kane says, was likely a hangover from spring 2020, when nearly all schools were remote and remote instruction was at its worst.

Kane is part of a collaborative of researchers at Harvard, the American Institutes for Research, Dartmouth College and the school-testing nonprofit NWEA, who set out to measure just how much learning students missed during the pandemic.

And notice we're saying "missed," not "lost," because the problem is that when schools went remote, kids simply did not learn as much or as well as they would have in person.

" We try not to say 'learning loss,' because if they didn't learn it, they didn't lose it," explains Ebony Lee, an assistant superintendent in Clayton County, Ga.

Not everyone agrees. Some parents who saw their kids struggle while trying to learn remotely believe "learning loss" fits — because it captures the urgency they now feel to make up for what was lost.

"It would mean so much for parents if somebody would acknowledge it. 'You know, we have learning loss,' " says Sheila Walker, a parent in Northern California. "Like our board, they don't even use those words. We know we have learning loss, so how are we going to address it?"

Kane and his fellow researchers studied the test scores of more than 2 million elementary- and middle-schoolers, comparing the growth they made between fall 2017 and fall 2019 to their pandemic-era growth, from fall 2019 to fall 2021.

Though researchers focused on math, the instructional time students missed in reading was "comparable," Kane says.

One quick caveat: Obviously, test scores can tell us only so much about what students actually learn in a given year (social-emotional skills, for example, are harder to measure). But they're a start.

2. Students at high-poverty schools were hit hardest

Students at high-poverty schools experienced an academic double-whammy: Their schools were more likely to be remote and, when they were, students missed more learning.

How Schools Can Help Kids Heal After A Year Of 'Crisis And Uncertainty'

The Coronavirus Crisis

How schools can help kids heal after a year of 'crisis and uncertainty'.

Let's break that down.

First, high-poverty schools spent about 5.5 more weeks in remote instruction during the 2020-21 school year than low- and mid-poverty schools, the report says. Researchers also found a "higher incidence of remote schooling for Black and Hispanic students."

And second, in high-poverty schools that stayed remote for the majority of the 2020-21 school year, students missed the equivalent of 22 weeks of in-person math learning.

That's more than half of a traditional school year (roughly 36-40 weeks).

By contrast, students in similarly remote, low-poverty schools missed considerably less learning: roughly 13 weeks, Kane says, and he warns that closing these gaps could take years.

Homeless Families Struggle With Impossible Choices As School Closures Continue

Homeless Families Struggle With Impossible Choices As School Closures Continue

This new data backs up what many teachers and school leaders have been saying.

"It's very disconcerting," says Sharon Contreras, the superintendent of North Carolina's third-largest district, in Guilford County. "Because we know that the students who are most vulnerable saw the most amount of learning loss, and they were already behind."

Why did students in high-poverty schools miss more learning while remote? Recent U.S. Government Accountability Office surveys of more than 2,800 teachers offer some explanations.

Teachers in remote, high-poverty schools were more likely to report that their students lacked a workspace and internet at home, and were less likely to have an adult there to help. Many older students disengaged because the pandemic forced them to become caretakers, or to get jobs.

Making matters worse, as NPR has reported, high-poverty students were also more likely to experience food insecurity , homelessness and the loss of a loved one to COVID-19.

"These gaps are not new," says Becky Pringle, head of the National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest teachers union. "We know that there are racial and social and economic injustices that exist in every system ... what the pandemic did was just like the pandemic did with everything: It just made it worse."

3. Different states saw different gaps

Kane and his fellow researchers found that learning gaps were most pronounced in states with higher rates of remote instruction overall.

For example, in the quarter of states where students spent the most time learning remotely, including California, Illinois, Kentucky and Virginia, "high-poverty schools spent an additional nine weeks in remote instruction (more than two months) than low-poverty schools," the report says.

On the other hand, in the quarter of states where overall use of remote instruction was the lowest, including Texas, Florida and a host of rural states, the report says, high-poverty schools were still more likely to be remote "but the differences were small: 3 weeks remote in high poverty schools versus 1 week remote in low poverty schools."

The report says, "as long as schools were in-person throughout 2020-21, there was no widening of math achievement gaps between high-, middle-, and low-poverty schools."

Kane says he hopes that, instead of relitigating districts' choices to stay remote, politicians and educators can use this data as a call to action.

"That student achievement declined is not a surprise," Kane says. "Rather, we should think of it as a bill for a public health measure that was taken on our behalf. And it's our obligation now, whether or not we agreed with those decisions, to pay that bill. We can't stiff our children."

4. High school graduation rates didn't change much

One more study , from Brookings, looks at the impact all this pandemic-driven turmoil had on high school graduation and college entry rates.

It turns out, for the 2019-20 school year, when graduation ceremonies were canceled and students ended the year at home, high school graduation rates actually increased slightly.

"The message clearly was 'just show up,' " says Douglas Harris, the study's lead researcher and director of the National Center for Research on Education Access and Choice at Tulane University.

"So it became pretty easy," Harris says. "Anybody who was on the margin of graduating at that point was going to graduate because the states officially relaxed their standards."

For the 2020-21 school year, Harris says, states and school districts largely returned to pre-pandemic standards and, as a result, the high school graduation rate dipped slightly.

College enrollment plummeted during the pandemic. This fall, it's even worse

College enrollment plummeted during the pandemic. This fall, it's even worse

5. many high school grads chose to delay college.

While the pandemic appeared to have little impact on students' ability to finish high school, it seemed to have the opposite effect on their willingness to start college.

Harris says entry rates for recent high school grads at four-year colleges dipped 6% and a worrying 16% at two-year colleges. Why?

Harris has a theory: "I think for anybody, regardless of age, starting something new, trying to develop new relationships in the pandemic, was a nonstarter."

6. Schools can do something about it

School leaders are now racing to build programs that, they hope, will help students make up for at least some of this missed learning. One popular approach: "high-dosage" tutoring.

Here's what schools are doing to try to address students' social-emotional needs

Here's what schools are doing to try to address students' social-emotional needs

"For us, high-dosage means two to three times per week for at least 30 minutes, and ... no more than three students in a group," says Penny Schwinn, Tennessee's state education commissioner.

Schwinn led the creation of the TN ALL Corps, a sprawling, statewide network of tutors who, Schwinn hopes, can reach 150,000 elementary- and middle-schoolers over three years. High school students with busier schedules can access online tutoring anytime, on demand.

In Guilford County, Contreras says the benefits of their tutoring program go well beyond learning recovery. Their new tutoring corps draws heavily from graduate assistants at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, a regional HBCU.

" We want to continue to grow the number of Black and brown teachers in the district," Contreras says. "So hiring graduate assistants was a very intentional effort to make sure our students saw themselves, but also to introduce those graduate assistants to the teaching profession."

Multiple superintendents, including Contreras, emphasized that the purpose of these tutoring efforts was not to look backward, over old material, but to support students as they move forward through new concepts.

"We don't want to remediate," Contreras says emphatically. "We want to accelerate learning."

Kane says districts should also consider making up for missed learning by adding more days to the school calendar .

"Schools already have the teachers. They already have the buildings. They already have the bus routes," Kane explains. Extending the school year may be logistically easier than, say, hiring and scheduling hundreds of new tutors.

But that doesn't mean extending the school year is easy.

In Los Angeles, where students spent most of the 2020-21 school year learning remotely, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho says he would love to expand the next school year by as many as 10 additional days to help address what he calls "unprecedented, historic learning loss." But, he says, "[that idea] ran into a lot of opposition" from parents and teachers alike.

So Carvalho has had to settle for four additional student learning days next year.

Kane acknowledges that adding time to the school year is asking a lot of teachers and some families and would likely require a pay bump above educators' normal weekly rate.

"Everybody is eager to return to normal. And I can appreciate that," Kane says, "but normal is not enough."

If there is a silver lining for districts rushing to create new learning opportunities, it's that many school leaders — and politicians — are realizing they make good sense long-term too.

In Los Angeles, Carvalho says many students attending high-poverty schools "were in crisis prior to COVID-19," academically speaking. And he hopes these new efforts, forced by the pandemic, "may actually catapult their learning experience."

Tennessee's ALL Corps "is now funded forever more," Schwinn says.

"So this isn't going to be a COVID recovery. This is just good practice for kids."

I Thought We’d Learned Nothing From the Pandemic. I Wasn’t Seeing the Full Picture

i missed my school during covid pandemic essay in english

M y first home had a back door that opened to a concrete patio with a giant crack down the middle. When my sister and I played, I made sure to stay on the same side of the divide as her, just in case. The 1988 film The Land Before Time was one of the first movies I ever saw, and the image of the earth splintering into pieces planted its roots in my brain. I believed that, even in my own backyard, I could easily become the tiny Triceratops separated from her family, on the other side of the chasm, as everything crumbled into chaos.

Some 30 years later, I marvel at the eerie, unexpected ways that cartoonish nightmare came to life – not just for me and my family, but for all of us. The landscape was already covered in fissures well before COVID-19 made its way across the planet, but the pandemic applied pressure, and the cracks broke wide open, separating us from each other physically and ideologically. Under the weight of the crisis, we scattered and landed on such different patches of earth we could barely see each other’s faces, even when we squinted. We disagreed viciously with each other, about how to respond, but also about what was true.

Recently, someone asked me if we’ve learned anything from the pandemic, and my first thought was a flat no. Nothing. There was a time when I thought it would be the very thing to draw us together and catapult us – as a capital “S” Society – into a kinder future. It’s surreal to remember those early days when people rallied together, sewing masks for health care workers during critical shortages and gathering on balconies in cities from Dallas to New York City to clap and sing songs like “Yellow Submarine.” It felt like a giant lightning bolt shot across the sky, and for one breath, we all saw something that had been hidden in the dark – the inherent vulnerability in being human or maybe our inescapable connectedness .

More from TIME

Read More: The Family Time the Pandemic Stole

But it turns out, it was just a flash. The goodwill vanished as quickly as it appeared. A couple of years later, people feel lied to, abandoned, and all on their own. I’ve felt my own curiosity shrinking, my willingness to reach out waning , my ability to keep my hands open dwindling. I look out across the landscape and see selfishness and rage, burnt earth and so many dead bodies. Game over. We lost. And if we’ve already lost, why try?

Still, the question kept nagging me. I wondered, am I seeing the full picture? What happens when we focus not on the collective society but at one face, one story at a time? I’m not asking for a bow to minimize the suffering – a pretty flourish to put on top and make the whole thing “worth it.” Yuck. That’s not what we need. But I wondered about deep, quiet growth. The kind we feel in our bodies, relationships, homes, places of work, neighborhoods.

Like a walkie-talkie message sent to my allies on the ground, I posted a call on my Instagram. What do you see? What do you hear? What feels possible? Is there life out here? Sprouting up among the rubble? I heard human voices calling back – reports of life, personal and specific. I heard one story at a time – stories of grief and distrust, fury and disappointment. Also gratitude. Discovery. Determination.

Among the most prevalent were the stories of self-revelation. Almost as if machines were given the chance to live as humans, people described blossoming into fuller selves. They listened to their bodies’ cues, recognized their desires and comforts, tuned into their gut instincts, and honored the intuition they hadn’t realized belonged to them. Alex, a writer and fellow disabled parent, found the freedom to explore a fuller version of herself in the privacy the pandemic provided. “The way I dress, the way I love, and the way I carry myself have both shrunk and expanded,” she shared. “I don’t love myself very well with an audience.” Without the daily ritual of trying to pass as “normal” in public, Tamar, a queer mom in the Netherlands, realized she’s autistic. “I think the pandemic helped me to recognize the mask,” she wrote. “Not that unmasking is easy now. But at least I know it’s there.” In a time of widespread suffering that none of us could solve on our own, many tended to our internal wounds and misalignments, large and small, and found clarity.

Read More: A Tool for Staying Grounded in This Era of Constant Uncertainty

I wonder if this flourishing of self-awareness is at least partially responsible for the life alterations people pursued. The pandemic broke open our personal notions of work and pushed us to reevaluate things like time and money. Lucy, a disabled writer in the U.K., made the hard decision to leave her job as a journalist covering Westminster to write freelance about her beloved disability community. “This work feels important in a way nothing else has ever felt,” she wrote. “I don’t think I’d have realized this was what I should be doing without the pandemic.” And she wasn’t alone – many people changed jobs , moved, learned new skills and hobbies, became politically engaged.

Perhaps more than any other shifts, people described a significant reassessment of their relationships. They set boundaries, said no, had challenging conversations. They also reconnected, fell in love, and learned to trust. Jeanne, a quilter in Indiana, got to know relatives she wouldn’t have connected with if lockdowns hadn’t prompted weekly family Zooms. “We are all over the map as regards to our belief systems,” she emphasized, “but it is possible to love people you don’t see eye to eye with on every issue.” Anna, an anti-violence advocate in Maine, learned she could trust her new marriage: “Life was not a honeymoon. But we still chose to turn to each other with kindness and curiosity.” So many bonds forged and broken, strengthened and strained.

Instead of relying on default relationships or institutional structures, widespread recalibrations allowed for going off script and fortifying smaller communities. Mara from Idyllwild, Calif., described the tangible plan for care enacted in her town. “We started a mutual-aid group at the beginning of the pandemic,” she wrote, “and it grew so quickly before we knew it we were feeding 400 of the 4000 residents.” She didn’t pretend the conditions were ideal. In fact, she expressed immense frustration with our collective response to the pandemic. Even so, the local group rallied and continues to offer assistance to their community with help from donations and volunteers (many of whom were originally on the receiving end of support). “I’ve learned that people thrive when they feel their connection to others,” she wrote. Clare, a teacher from the U.K., voiced similar conviction as she described a giant scarf she’s woven out of ribbons, each representing a single person. The scarf is “a collection of stories, moments and wisdom we are sharing with each other,” she wrote. It now stretches well over 1,000 feet.

A few hours into reading the comments, I lay back on my bed, phone held against my chest. The room was quiet, but my internal world was lighting up with firefly flickers. What felt different? Surely part of it was receiving personal accounts of deep-rooted growth. And also, there was something to the mere act of asking and listening. Maybe it connected me to humans before battle cries. Maybe it was the chance to be in conversation with others who were also trying to understand – what is happening to us? Underneath it all, an undeniable thread remained; I saw people peering into the mess and narrating their findings onto the shared frequency. Every comment was like a flare into the sky. I’m here! And if the sky is full of flares, we aren’t alone.

I recognized my own pandemic discoveries – some minor, others massive. Like washing off thick eyeliner and mascara every night is more effort than it’s worth; I can transform the mundane into the magical with a bedsheet, a movie projector, and twinkle lights; my paralyzed body can mother an infant in ways I’d never seen modeled for me. I remembered disappointing, bewildering conversations within my own family of origin and our imperfect attempts to remain close while also seeing things so differently. I realized that every time I get the weekly invite to my virtual “Find the Mumsies” call, with a tiny group of moms living hundreds of miles apart, I’m being welcomed into a pocket of unexpected community. Even though we’ve never been in one room all together, I’ve felt an uncommon kind of solace in their now-familiar faces.

Hope is a slippery thing. I desperately want to hold onto it, but everywhere I look there are real, weighty reasons to despair. The pandemic marks a stretch on the timeline that tangles with a teetering democracy, a deteriorating planet , the loss of human rights that once felt unshakable . When the world is falling apart Land Before Time style, it can feel trite, sniffing out the beauty – useless, firing off flares to anyone looking for signs of life. But, while I’m under no delusions that if we just keep trudging forward we’ll find our own oasis of waterfalls and grassy meadows glistening in the sunshine beneath a heavenly chorus, I wonder if trivializing small acts of beauty, connection, and hope actually cuts us off from resources essential to our survival. The group of abandoned dinosaurs were keeping each other alive and making each other laugh well before they made it to their fantasy ending.

Read More: How Ice Cream Became My Own Personal Act of Resistance

After the monarch butterfly went on the endangered-species list, my friend and fellow writer Hannah Soyer sent me wildflower seeds to plant in my yard. A simple act of big hope – that I will actually plant them, that they will grow, that a monarch butterfly will receive nourishment from whatever blossoms are able to push their way through the dirt. There are so many ways that could fail. But maybe the outcome wasn’t exactly the point. Maybe hope is the dogged insistence – the stubborn defiance – to continue cultivating moments of beauty regardless. There is value in the planting apart from the harvest.

I can’t point out a single collective lesson from the pandemic. It’s hard to see any great “we.” Still, I see the faces in my moms’ group, making pancakes for their kids and popping on between strings of meetings while we try to figure out how to raise these small people in this chaotic world. I think of my friends on Instagram tending to the selves they discovered when no one was watching and the scarf of ribbons stretching the length of more than three football fields. I remember my family of three, holding hands on the way up the ramp to the library. These bits of growth and rings of support might not be loud or right on the surface, but that’s not the same thing as nothing. If we only cared about the bottom-line defeats or sweeping successes of the big picture, we’d never plant flowers at all.

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Coronavirus: My Experience During the Pandemic

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Anastasiya Kandratsenka George Washington High School, Class of 2021

At this point in time there shouldn't be a single person who doesn't know about the coronavirus, or as they call it, COVID-19. The coronavirus is a virus that originated in China, reached the U.S. and eventually spread all over the world by January of 2020. The common symptoms of the virus include shortness of breath, chills, sore throat, headache, loss of taste and smell, runny nose, vomiting and nausea. As it has been established, it might take up to 14 days for the symptoms to show. On top of that, the virus is also highly contagious putting all age groups at risk. The elderly and individuals with chronic diseases such as pneumonia or heart disease are in the top risk as the virus attacks the immune system. 

The virus first appeared on the news and media platforms in the month of January of this year. The United States and many other countries all over the globe saw no reason to panic as it seemed that the virus presented no possible threat. Throughout the next upcoming months, the virus began to spread very quickly, alerting health officials not only in the U.S., but all over the world. As people started digging into the origin of the virus, it became clear that it originated in China. Based on everything scientists have looked at, the virus came from a bat that later infected other animals, making it way to humans. As it goes for the United States, the numbers started rising quickly, resulting in the cancellation of sports events, concerts, large gatherings and then later on schools. 

As it goes personally for me, my school was shut down on March 13th. The original plan was to put us on a two weeks leave, returning on March 30th but, as the virus spread rapidly and things began escalating out of control very quickly, President Trump announced a state of emergency and the whole country was put on quarantine until April 30th. At that point, schools were officially shut down for the rest of the school year. Distanced learning was introduced, online classes were established, a new norm was put in place. As for the School District of Philadelphia distanced learning and online classes began on May 4th. From that point on I would have classes four times a week, from 8AM till 3PM. Virtual learning was something that I never had to experience and encounter before. It was all new and different for me, just as it was for millions of students all over the United States. We were forced to transfer from physically attending school, interacting with our peers and teachers, participating in fun school events and just being in a classroom setting, to just looking at each other through a computer screen in a number of days. That is something that we all could have never seen coming, it was all so sudden and new. 

My experience with distanced learning was not very great. I get distracted very easily and   find it hard to concentrate, especially when it comes to school. In a classroom I was able to give my full attention to what was being taught, I was all there. However, when we had the online classes, I could not focus and listen to what my teachers were trying to get across. I got distracted very easily, missing out on important information that was being presented. My entire family which consists of five members, were all home during the quarantine. I have two little siblings who are very loud and demanding, so I’m sure it can be imagined how hard it was for me to concentrate on school and do what was asked of me when I had these two running around the house. On top of school, I also had to find a job and work 35 hours a week to support my family during the pandemic. My mother lost her job for the time being and my father was only able to work from home. As we have a big family, the income of my father was not enough. I made it my duty to help out and support our family as much as I could: I got a job at a local supermarket and worked there as a cashier for over two months. 

While I worked at the supermarket, I was exposed to dozens of people every day and with all the protection that was implemented to protect the customers and the workers, I was lucky enough to not get the virus. As I say that, my grandparents who do not even live in the U.S. were not so lucky. They got the virus and spent over a month isolated, in a hospital bed, with no one by their side. Our only way of communicating was through the phone and if lucky, we got to talk once a week. Speaking for my family, that was the worst and scariest part of the whole situation. Luckily for us, they were both able to recover completely. 

As the pandemic is somewhat under control, the spread of the virus has slowed down. We’re now living in the new norm. We no longer view things the same, the way we did before. Large gatherings and activities that require large groups to come together are now unimaginable! Distanced learning is what we know, not to mention the importance of social distancing and having to wear masks anywhere and everywhere we go. This is the new norm now and who knows when and if ever we’ll be able go back to what we knew before. This whole experience has made me realize that we, as humans, tend to take things for granted and don’t value what we have until it is taken away from us. 

Articles in this Volume

[tid]: dedication, [tid]: new tools for a new house: transformations for justice and peace in and beyond covid-19, [tid]: black lives matter, intersectionality, and lgbtq rights now, [tid]: the voice of asian american youth: what goes untold, [tid]: beyond words: reimagining education through art and activism, [tid]: voice(s) of a black man, [tid]: embodied learning and community resilience, [tid]: re-imagining professional learning in a time of social isolation: storytelling as a tool for healing and professional growth, [tid]: reckoning: what does it mean to look forward and back together as critical educators, [tid]: leader to leaders: an indigenous school leader’s advice through storytelling about grief and covid-19, [tid]: finding hope, healing and liberation beyond covid-19 within a context of captivity and carcerality, [tid]: flux leadership: leading for justice and peace in & beyond covid-19, [tid]: flux leadership: insights from the (virtual) field, [tid]: hard pivot: compulsory crisis leadership emerges from a space of doubt, [tid]: and how are the children, [tid]: real talk: teaching and leading while bipoc, [tid]: systems of emotional support for educators in crisis, [tid]: listening leadership: the student voices project, [tid]: global engagement, perspective-sharing, & future-seeing in & beyond a global crisis, [tid]: teaching and leadership during covid-19: lessons from lived experiences, [tid]: crisis leadership in independent schools - styles & literacies, [tid]: rituals, routines and relationships: high school athletes and coaches in flux, [tid]: superintendent back-to-school welcome 2020, [tid]: mitigating summer learning loss in philadelphia during covid-19: humble attempts from the field, [tid]: untitled, [tid]: the revolution will not be on linkedin: student activism and neoliberalism, [tid]: why radical self-care cannot wait: strategies for black women leaders now, [tid]: from emergency response to critical transformation: online learning in a time of flux, [tid]: illness methodology for and beyond the covid era, [tid]: surviving black girl magic, the work, and the dissertation, [tid]: cancelled: the old student experience, [tid]: lessons from liberia: integrating theatre for development and youth development in uncertain times, [tid]: designing a more accessible future: learning from covid-19, [tid]: the construct of standards-based education, [tid]: teachers leading teachers to prepare for back to school during covid, [tid]: using empathy to cross the sea of humanity, [tid]: (un)doing college, community, and relationships in the time of coronavirus, [tid]: have we learned nothing, [tid]: choosing growth amidst chaos, [tid]: living freire in pandemic….participatory action research and democratizing knowledge at knowledgedemocracy.org, [tid]: philly students speak: voices of learning in pandemics, [tid]: the power of will: a letter to my descendant, [tid]: photo essays with students, [tid]: unity during a global pandemic: how the fight for racial justice made us unite against two diseases, [tid]: educational changes caused by the pandemic and other related social issues, [tid]: online learning during difficult times, [tid]: fighting crisis: a student perspective, [tid]: the destruction of soil rooted with culture, [tid]: a demand for change, [tid]: education through experience in and beyond the pandemics, [tid]: the pandemic diaries, [tid]: all for one and 4 for $4, [tid]: tiktok activism, [tid]: why digital learning may be the best option for next year, [tid]: my 2020 teen experience, [tid]: living between two pandemics, [tid]: journaling during isolation: the gold standard of coronavirus, [tid]: sailing through uncertainty, [tid]: what i wish my teachers knew, [tid]: youthing in pandemic while black, [tid]: the pain inflicted by indifference, [tid]: education during the pandemic, [tid]: the good, the bad, and the year 2020, [tid]: racism fueled pandemic, [tid]: coronavirus: my experience during the pandemic, [tid]: the desensitization of a doomed generation, [tid]: a philadelphia war-zone, [tid]: the attack of the covid monster, [tid]: back-to-school: covid-19 edition, [tid]: the unexpected war, [tid]: learning outside of the classroom, [tid]: why we should learn about college financial aid in school: a student perspective, [tid]: flying the plane as we go: building the future through a haze, [tid]: my covid experience in the age of technology, [tid]: we, i, and they, [tid]: learning your a, b, cs during a pandemic, [tid]: quarantine: a musical, [tid]: what it’s like being a high school student in 2020, [tid]: everything happens for a reason, [tid]: blacks live matter – a sobering and empowering reality among my peers, [tid]: the mental health of a junior during covid-19 outbreaks, [tid]: a year of change, [tid]: covid-19 and school, [tid]: the virtues and vices of virtual learning, [tid]: college decisions and the year 2020: a virtual rollercoaster, [tid]: quarantine thoughts, [tid]: quarantine through generation z, [tid]: attending online school during a pandemic.

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New research finds that pandemic learning loss impacted whole communities, regardless of student race or income.

Analysis of prior decade shows that learning loss will become permanent if schools and parents do not expand learning time this summer and next year

(May 11, 2023) – Today, The Education Recovery Scorecard , a collaboration with researchers at the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University (CEPR) and Stanford University’s Educational Opportunity Project, released 12 new state reports and a research brief to provide the most comprehensive picture yet of how the pandemic affected student learning. Building on their previous work, their findings reveal how school closures and local conditions exacerbated inequality between communities — and how little time school leaders have to help students catch up.

The research team reviewed data from 8,000 communities in 40 states and Washington, D.C., including 2022 NAEP scores and Spring 2022 assessments, COVID death rates, voting rates and trust in government, patterns of social activity and survey data from Facebook/Meta on family activities and mental health during the pandemic.

They found that where children lived during the pandemic mattered more to their academic progress than their family background, income, or internet speed.  Moreover, after studying instances where test scores rose or fell in the decade before the pandemic, the researchers found that the impacts lingered for years. 

“Children have resumed learning, but largely at the same pace as before the pandemic. There’s no hurrying up teaching fractions or the Pythagorean theorem,” said CEPR faculty director Thomas Kane. “The hardest hit communities—like Richmond, VA, St. Louis, MO, and New Haven, CT, where students fell behind by more than 1.5 years in math—would have to teach 150 percent of a typical year’s worth of material for three years in a row—just to catch up. That is simply not going to happen without a major increase in instructional time.  Any district that lost more than a year of learning should be required to revisit their recovery plans and add instructional time—summer school, extended school year, tutoring, etc.—so that students are made whole. ”

“It’s not readily visible to parents when their children have fallen behind earlier cohorts, but the data from 7,800 school districts show clearly that this is the case,” said Sean Reardon, Professor of Poverty and Inequality, Stanford Graduate School of Education. “The educational impacts of the pandemic were not only historically large, but were disproportionately visited on communities with many low-income and minority students. Our research shows that schools were far from the only cause of decreased learning—the pandemic affected children through many ways – but they are the institution best suited to remedy the unequal impacts of the pandemic.”

The new research includes:

  • A research brief that offers insights into why students in some communities fared worse than others.
  • An update to the Education Recovery Scorecard, including data from 12 additional states whose 2022 scores were not available in October. The project now includes a district-level view of the pandemic’s effects in 40 states (plus DC).
  • A new interactive map  that highlights examples of inequity between neighboring school districts.

Among the key findings:

  • Within the typical school district, the declines in test scores were similar for all groups of students, rich and poor, white, Black, Hispanic. And the extent to which schools were closed appears to have had the same effect on all students in a community, regardless of income or race.
  • Test scores declined more in places where the COVID death rate was higher, in communities where adults reported feeling more depression and anxiety during the pandemic, and where daily routines of families were most significantly restricted. This is true even in places where schools closed only very briefly at the start of the pandemic.
  • Test score declines were smaller in communities with high voting rates and high Census response rates—indicators of what sociologists call “institutional trust.” Moreover, remote learning was less harmful in such places. Living in a community where more people trusted the government appears to have been an asset to children during the pandemic.
  • The average U.S. public school student in grades 3-8 lost the equivalent of a half year of learning in math and a quarter of a year in reading.

The researchers also looked at data from the decade prior to the pandemic to see how students bounced back after significant learning loss due to disruption in their schooling. The evidence shows that schools do not naturally bounce back: Affected students recovered 20-30% of the lost ground in the first year, but then made no further recovery in the subsequent 3-4 years.  

“Schools were not the sole cause of achievement losses,” Kane said. “Nor will they be the sole solution. As enticing as it might be to get back to normal, doing so will just leave the devastating increase in inequality caused by the pandemic in place.   We must create learning opportunities for students outside of the normal school calendar, by adding academic content to summer camps and after-school programs and adding an optional 13th year of schooling.”

The Education Recovery Scorecard is supported by funds from Citadel founder and CEO Kenneth C. Griffin , Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Walton Family Foundation.

About the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University The Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University, based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, seeks to transform education through quality research and evidence. CEPR and its partners believe all students will learn and thrive when education leaders make decisions using facts and findings, rather than untested assumptions. Learn more at cepr.harvard.edu.

Contact: Jeff Frantz, [email protected] , 614-204-7438 (mobile)

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Going back to school during the covid-19. - voices of children, children tell about their feelings and challenges they face.

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Starting a new school year is always full of emotions and especially during a pandemic.

Part of the schools in Georgia started teaching at classrooms, other part continues the distance learning. But children in every city or village are looking forward to meet their friends and teachers in person.  

We asked children to tell what they feel, how their lives have changed and how they handle these challenges.

School Girl

Natia Samnashvili, 10 years old.

"I am happy to return to school. Distance learning was hard, working with computer caused pain for eyes and fingers. I could understand the online lessons, but it was easier when we had face-to-face meetings with the teacher. One more thing I am happy about is to see my friends, meet new teachers. If the lessons were distance again, we won't have a chance to get introduced with teachers. We have new teachers this year." 

School Boy

Andria Khocholava, 9 years old.

"Don’t remind me about online lessons. Going to school is cool. There are many changes though: you can’t hug the teachers, they always wear masks, hugging friends is not allowed either, but we violate this rule sometimes. Breaks are shortened and we have to wash our hands many times. Also, you are not allowed to lend something to others. I am carrying water in the bottle as the water dispensers are turned off. Still, it’s good to go to school. We are repeating the materials from the previous year and I understand everything better in class than on the online lesson. We have a new game called “Coronobana” – it’s like a game of catch." 

School Girl

Teona Jghiradze, 13 years old.

"I didn’t have a personal computer and was attending online lessons from a mobile phone. We had to either write the homework in the workbook and then send the photo of it or type it on the keyboard.  Sometimes there were technical problems with the internet or electricity and we were missing the lessons, now we will cover those materials too. I am happy to return to school, it was boring at home and also I missed my friends and I am happy to see them."

boy studying

Lasha Devlarishvili, 11 years old.

"Yes, I am happy to return to school. It was boring at home. I was playing or reading books. In school, there will be more positivity and better learning process". 

Girl in classroom

Elene Melikadze, 12 years old.

"Online classes were interesting at the beginning, but now I think going to school is better. We could only see the face of the teacher at online lessons, eyes were getting tired and you miss the human interaction. But it was good that the exams were cancelled.

Now I am back to school. My friends got taller in this period. I am happy to return to school because I can see the people and talk to them. I am having fun on breaks, but we all remember that we must be careful. We have to avoid getting the virus or transfer it. Yes, we have lots of homework, but I don't complain. I like school and I am happy. If the online lessons are back, I don't know what will I do. I think I will start drawing instead of studying."

School boy

Data Sulaberidze, 10 years old.

"I am happy to return to school because I really missed my friends and teachers. I love school and I think that interaction with my peers is part of the education process." 

School Girl

Nino Khvichia, 10 years old.

"I am very happy to go back to school. I was very nervous on the first day about the mandatory distance, and I was looking forward to hug everyone, I missed everyone so much. I am getting up early in the mornings not to be late and get to school early. Sometimes I was forgetting about the lessons when we were on distance learning and could not join the classes, could not interact with children normally and sometimes I was shy to ask questions. I love the lessons held in school, they are more interesting and joyful." 

School Boy

Giorgi Alavidze, 6 years old.

"School is good. Very good. It is fun there. There are many friends of mine from kindergarten. We have two new students too and I made friends with one of them. From lessons, I like Georgian more than math, teachers read books and it is like a literature club. I like drawing club too. I want the breaks to be longer to have more time for playing with friends. I want to go to school by school-bus and make friends with more people. Teachers were masks and gloves at school. I know if anyone catches the virus in school, it will be closed again."

School Boy

Aleksandre Alasania, 7 years old.

"I was happy to return to school. It was different though, our class was split into half. We wore masks and maintain the distance, and we could not play and "go crazy".

When we turned back to distance learning, I was very upset. I am not able to communicate with friends and miss them. The software is always laggy during the lessons, I can't hear the voice well. When everyone starts to talk together, I am getting tired and turning off the software. We again have to sit at home to avoid getting infected by "Conora" (he calls Coronavirus like that)." 

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Read these 12 moving essays about life during coronavirus

Artists, novelists, critics, and essayists are writing the first draft of history.

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i missed my school during covid pandemic essay in english

The world is grappling with an invisible, deadly enemy, trying to understand how to live with the threat posed by a virus . For some writers, the only way forward is to put pen to paper, trying to conceptualize and document what it feels like to continue living as countries are under lockdown and regular life seems to have ground to a halt.

So as the coronavirus pandemic has stretched around the world, it’s sparked a crop of diary entries and essays that describe how life has changed. Novelists, critics, artists, and journalists have put words to the feelings many are experiencing. The result is a first draft of how we’ll someday remember this time, filled with uncertainty and pain and fear as well as small moments of hope and humanity.

At the New York Review of Books, Ali Bhutto writes that in Karachi, Pakistan, the government-imposed curfew due to the virus is “eerily reminiscent of past military clampdowns”:

Beneath the quiet calm lies a sense that society has been unhinged and that the usual rules no longer apply. Small groups of pedestrians look on from the shadows, like an audience watching a spectacle slowly unfolding. People pause on street corners and in the shade of trees, under the watchful gaze of the paramilitary forces and the police.

His essay concludes with the sobering note that “in the minds of many, Covid-19 is just another life-threatening hazard in a city that stumbles from one crisis to another.”

Writing from Chattanooga, novelist Jamie Quatro documents the mixed ways her neighbors have been responding to the threat, and the frustration of conflicting direction, or no direction at all, from local, state, and federal leaders:

Whiplash, trying to keep up with who’s ordering what. We’re already experiencing enough chaos without this back-and-forth. Why didn’t the federal government issue a nationwide shelter-in-place at the get-go, the way other countries did? What happens when one state’s shelter-in-place ends, while others continue? Do states still under quarantine close their borders? We are still one nation, not fifty individual countries. Right?

Award-winning photojournalist Alessio Mamo, quarantined with his partner Marta in Sicily after she tested positive for the virus, accompanies his photographs in the Guardian of their confinement with a reflection on being confined :

The doctors asked me to take a second test, but again I tested negative. Perhaps I’m immune? The days dragged on in my apartment, in black and white, like my photos. Sometimes we tried to smile, imagining that I was asymptomatic, because I was the virus. Our smiles seemed to bring good news. My mother left hospital, but I won’t be able to see her for weeks. Marta started breathing well again, and so did I. I would have liked to photograph my country in the midst of this emergency, the battles that the doctors wage on the frontline, the hospitals pushed to their limits, Italy on its knees fighting an invisible enemy. That enemy, a day in March, knocked on my door instead.

In the New York Times Magazine, deputy editor Jessica Lustig writes with devastating clarity about her family’s life in Brooklyn while her husband battled the virus, weeks before most people began taking the threat seriously:

At the door of the clinic, we stand looking out at two older women chatting outside the doorway, oblivious. Do I wave them away? Call out that they should get far away, go home, wash their hands, stay inside? Instead we just stand there, awkwardly, until they move on. Only then do we step outside to begin the long three-block walk home. I point out the early magnolia, the forsythia. T says he is cold. The untrimmed hairs on his neck, under his beard, are white. The few people walking past us on the sidewalk don’t know that we are visitors from the future. A vision, a premonition, a walking visitation. This will be them: Either T, in the mask, or — if they’re lucky — me, tending to him.

Essayist Leslie Jamison writes in the New York Review of Books about being shut away alone in her New York City apartment with her 2-year-old daughter since she became sick:

The virus. Its sinewy, intimate name. What does it feel like in my body today? Shivering under blankets. A hot itch behind the eyes. Three sweatshirts in the middle of the day. My daughter trying to pull another blanket over my body with her tiny arms. An ache in the muscles that somehow makes it hard to lie still. This loss of taste has become a kind of sensory quarantine. It’s as if the quarantine keeps inching closer and closer to my insides. First I lost the touch of other bodies; then I lost the air; now I’ve lost the taste of bananas. Nothing about any of these losses is particularly unique. I’ve made a schedule so I won’t go insane with the toddler. Five days ago, I wrote Walk/Adventure! on it, next to a cut-out illustration of a tiger—as if we’d see tigers on our walks. It was good to keep possibility alive.

At Literary Hub, novelist Heidi Pitlor writes about the elastic nature of time during her family’s quarantine in Massachusetts:

During a shutdown, the things that mark our days—commuting to work, sending our kids to school, having a drink with friends—vanish and time takes on a flat, seamless quality. Without some self-imposed structure, it’s easy to feel a little untethered. A friend recently posted on Facebook: “For those who have lost track, today is Blursday the fortyteenth of Maprilay.” ... Giving shape to time is especially important now, when the future is so shapeless. We do not know whether the virus will continue to rage for weeks or months or, lord help us, on and off for years. We do not know when we will feel safe again. And so many of us, minus those who are gifted at compartmentalization or denial, remain largely captive to fear. We may stay this way if we do not create at least the illusion of movement in our lives, our long days spent with ourselves or partners or families.

Novelist Lauren Groff writes at the New York Review of Books about trying to escape the prison of her fears while sequestered at home in Gainesville, Florida:

Some people have imaginations sparked only by what they can see; I blame this blinkered empiricism for the parks overwhelmed with people, the bars, until a few nights ago, thickly thronged. My imagination is the opposite. I fear everything invisible to me. From the enclosure of my house, I am afraid of the suffering that isn’t present before me, the people running out of money and food or drowning in the fluid in their lungs, the deaths of health-care workers now growing ill while performing their duties. I fear the federal government, which the right wing has so—intentionally—weakened that not only is it insufficient to help its people, it is actively standing in help’s way. I fear we won’t sufficiently punish the right. I fear leaving the house and spreading the disease. I fear what this time of fear is doing to my children, their imaginations, and their souls.

At ArtForum , Berlin-based critic and writer Kristian Vistrup Madsen reflects on martinis, melancholia, and Finnish artist Jaakko Pallasvuo’s 2018 graphic novel Retreat , in which three young people exile themselves in the woods:

In melancholia, the shape of what is ending, and its temporality, is sprawling and incomprehensible. The ambivalence makes it hard to bear. The world of Retreat is rendered in lush pink and purple watercolors, which dissolve into wild and messy abstractions. In apocalypse, the divisions established in genesis bleed back out. My own Corona-retreat is similarly soft, color-field like, each day a blurred succession of quarantinis, YouTube–yoga, and televized press conferences. As restrictions mount, so does abstraction. For now, I’m still rooting for love to save the world.

At the Paris Review , Matt Levin writes about reading Virginia Woolf’s novel The Waves during quarantine:

A retreat, a quarantine, a sickness—they simultaneously distort and clarify, curtail and expand. It is an ideal state in which to read literature with a reputation for difficulty and inaccessibility, those hermetic books shorn of the handholds of conventional plot or characterization or description. A novel like Virginia Woolf’s The Waves is perfect for the state of interiority induced by quarantine—a story of three men and three women, meeting after the death of a mutual friend, told entirely in the overlapping internal monologues of the six, interspersed only with sections of pure, achingly beautiful descriptions of the natural world, a day’s procession and recession of light and waves. The novel is, in my mind’s eye, a perfectly spherical object. It is translucent and shimmering and infinitely fragile, prone to shatter at the slightest disturbance. It is not a book that can be read in snatches on the subway—it demands total absorption. Though it revels in a stark emotional nakedness, the book remains aloof, remote in its own deep self-absorption.

In an essay for the Financial Times, novelist Arundhati Roy writes with anger about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s anemic response to the threat, but also offers a glimmer of hope for the future:

Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.

From Boston, Nora Caplan-Bricker writes in The Point about the strange contraction of space under quarantine, in which a friend in Beirut is as close as the one around the corner in the same city:

It’s a nice illusion—nice to feel like we’re in it together, even if my real world has shrunk to one person, my husband, who sits with his laptop in the other room. It’s nice in the same way as reading those essays that reframe social distancing as solidarity. “We must begin to see the negative space as clearly as the positive, to know what we don’t do is also brilliant and full of love,” the poet Anne Boyer wrote on March 10th, the day that Massachusetts declared a state of emergency. If you squint, you could almost make sense of this quarantine as an effort to flatten, along with the curve, the distinctions we make between our bonds with others. Right now, I care for my neighbor in the same way I demonstrate love for my mother: in all instances, I stay away. And in moments this month, I have loved strangers with an intensity that is new to me. On March 14th, the Saturday night after the end of life as we knew it, I went out with my dog and found the street silent: no lines for restaurants, no children on bicycles, no couples strolling with little cups of ice cream. It had taken the combined will of thousands of people to deliver such a sudden and complete emptiness. I felt so grateful, and so bereft.

And on his own website, musician and artist David Byrne writes about rediscovering the value of working for collective good , saying that “what is happening now is an opportunity to learn how to change our behavior”:

In emergencies, citizens can suddenly cooperate and collaborate. Change can happen. We’re going to need to work together as the effects of climate change ramp up. In order for capitalism to survive in any form, we will have to be a little more socialist. Here is an opportunity for us to see things differently — to see that we really are all connected — and adjust our behavior accordingly. Are we willing to do this? Is this moment an opportunity to see how truly interdependent we all are? To live in a world that is different and better than the one we live in now? We might be too far down the road to test every asymptomatic person, but a change in our mindsets, in how we view our neighbors, could lay the groundwork for the collective action we’ll need to deal with other global crises. The time to see how connected we all are is now.

The portrait these writers paint of a world under quarantine is multifaceted. Our worlds have contracted to the confines of our homes, and yet in some ways we’re more connected than ever to one another. We feel fear and boredom, anger and gratitude, frustration and strange peace. Uncertainty drives us to find metaphors and images that will let us wrap our minds around what is happening.

Yet there’s no single “what” that is happening. Everyone is contending with the pandemic and its effects from different places and in different ways. Reading others’ experiences — even the most frightening ones — can help alleviate the loneliness and dread, a little, and remind us that what we’re going through is both unique and shared by all.

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i missed my school during covid pandemic essay in english

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Seven short essays about life during the pandemic

The boston book festival's at home community writing project invites area residents to describe their experiences during this unprecedented time..

i missed my school during covid pandemic essay in english

My alarm sounds at 8:15 a.m. I open my eyes and take a deep breath. I wiggle my toes and move my legs. I do this religiously every morning. Today, marks day 74 of staying at home.

My mornings are filled with reading biblical scripture, meditation, breathing in the scents of a hanging eucalyptus branch in the shower, and making tea before I log into my computer to work. After an hour-and-a-half Zoom meeting, I decided to take a long walk to the post office and grab a fresh bouquet of burnt orange ranunculus flowers. I embrace the warm sun beaming on my face. I feel joy. I feel at peace.

I enter my apartment and excessively wash my hands and face. I pour a glass of iced kombucha. I sit at my table and look at the text message on my phone. My coworker writes that she is thinking of me during this difficult time. She must be referring to the Amy Cooper incident. I learn shortly that she is not.

I Google Minneapolis and see his name: George Floyd. And just like that a simple and beautiful day transitions into a day of sorrow.

Nakia Hill, Boston

It was a wobbly, yet solemn little procession: three masked mourners and a canine. Beginning in Kenmore Square, at David and Sue Horner’s condo, it proceeded up Commonwealth Avenue Mall.

S. Sue Horner died on Good Friday, April 10, in the Year of the Virus. Sue did not die of the virus but her parting was hemmed by it: no gatherings to mark the passing of this splendid human being.

David devised a send-off nevertheless. On April 23rd, accompanied by his daughter and son-in-law, he set out for Old South Church. David led, bearing the urn. His daughter came next, holding her phone aloft, speaker on, through which her brother in Illinois played the bagpipes for the length of the procession, its soaring thrum infusing the Mall. Her husband came last with Melon, their golden retriever.


I unlocked the empty church and led the procession into the columbarium. David drew the urn from its velvet cover, revealing a golden vessel inset with incandescent tiles. We lifted the urn into the niche, prayed, recited Psalm 23, and shared some words.

It was far too small for the luminous “Dr. Sue”, but what we could manage in the Year of the Virus.

Nancy S. Taylor, Boston

On April 26, 2020, our household was a bustling home for four people. Our two sons, ages 18 and 22, have a lot of energy. We are among the lucky ones. I can work remotely. Our food and shelter are not at risk.

As I write this a week later, it is much quieter here.

On April 27, our older son, an EMT, transported a COVID-19 patient to the ER. He left home to protect my delicate health and became ill with the virus a week later.

On April 29, my husband’s 95-year-old father had a stroke. My husband left immediately to be with his 90-year-old mother near New York City and is now preparing for his father’s discharge from the hospital. Rehab people will come to the house; going to a facility would be too dangerous.

My husband just called me to describe today’s hospital visit. The doctors had warned that although his father had regained the ability to speak, he could only repeat what was said to him.

“It’s me,” said my husband.

“It’s me,” said my father-in-law.

“I love you,” said my husband.

“I love you,” said my father-in-law.

“Sooooooooo much,” said my father-in-law.

Lucia Thompson, Wayland

Would racism exist if we were blind?

I felt his eyes bore into me as I walked through the grocery store. At first, I thought nothing of it. With the angst in the air attributable to COVID, I understood the anxiety-provoking nature of feeling as though your 6-foot bubble had burst. So, I ignored him and maintained my distance. But he persisted, glaring at my face, squinting to see who I was underneath the mask. This time I looked back, when he yelled, in my mother tongue, for me to go back to my country.

In shock, I just laughed. How could he tell what I was under my mask? Or see anything through the sunglasses he was wearing inside? It baffled me. I laughed at the irony that he would use my own language against me, that he knew enough to guess where I was from in some version of culturally competent racism. I laughed because dealing with the truth behind that comment generated a sadness in me that was too much to handle. If not now, then when will we be together?

So I ask again, would racism exist if we were blind?

Faizah Shareef, Boston

My Family is “Out” There

But I am “in” here. Life is different now “in” Assisted Living since the deadly COVID-19 arrived. Now the staff, employees, and all 100 residents have our temperatures taken daily. Everyone else, including my family, is “out” there. People like the hairdresser are really missed — with long straight hair and masks, we don’t even recognize ourselves.

Since mid-March we are in quarantine “in” our rooms with meals served. Activities are practically non-existent. We can sit on the back patio 6 feet apart, wearing masks, do exercises there, chat, and walk nearby. Nothing inside. Hopefully June will improve.

My family is “out” there — somewhere! Most are working from home (or Montana). Hopefully an August wedding will happen, but unfortunately, I may still be “in” here.

From my window I wave to my son “out” there. Recently, when my daughter visited, I opened the window “in” my second-floor room and could see and hear her perfectly “out” there. Next time she will bring a chair so we can have an “in” and “out” conversation all day, or until we run out of words.

Barbara Anderson, Raynham

My boyfriend Marcial lives in Boston, and I live in New York City. We had been doing the long-distance thing pretty successfully until coronavirus hit. In mid-March, I was furloughed from my temp job, Marcial began working remotely, and New York started shutting down. I went to Boston to stay with Marcial.

We are opposites in many ways, but we share a love of food. The kitchen has been the center of quarantine life —and also quarantine problems.

Marcial and I have gone from eating out and cooking/grocery shopping for each other during our periodic visits to cooking/grocery shopping with each other all the time. We’ve argued over things like the proper way to make rice and what greens to buy for salad. Our habits are deeply rooted in our upbringing and individual cultures (Filipino immigrant and American-born Chinese, hence the strong rice opinions).

On top of the mundane issues, we’ve also dealt with a flooded kitchen (resulting in cockroaches) and a mandoline accident leading to an ER visit. Marcial and I have spent quarantine navigating how to handle the unexpected and how to integrate our lifestyles. We’ve been eating well along the way.

Melissa Lee, Waltham

It’s 3 a.m. and my dog Rikki just gave me a worried look. Up again?

“I can’t sleep,” I say. I flick the light, pick up “Non-Zero Probabilities.” But the words lay pinned to the page like swatted flies. I watch new “Killing Eve” episodes, play old Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats songs. Still night.

We are — what? — 12 agitated weeks into lockdown, and now this. The thing that got me was Chauvin’s sunglasses. Perched nonchalantly on his head, undisturbed, as if he were at a backyard BBQ. Or anywhere other than kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, on his life. And Floyd was a father, as we all now know, having seen his daughter Gianna on Stephen Jackson’s shoulders saying “Daddy changed the world.”

Precious child. I pray, safeguard her.

Rikki has her own bed. But she won’t leave me. A Goddess of Protection. She does that thing dogs do, hovers increasingly closely the more agitated I get. “I’m losing it,” I say. I know. And like those weighted gravity blankets meant to encourage sleep, she drapes her 70 pounds over me, covering my restless heart with safety.

As if daybreak, or a prayer, could bring peace today.

Kirstan Barnett, Watertown

Until June 30, send your essay (200 words or less) about life during COVID-19 via bostonbookfest.org . Some essays will be published on the festival’s blog and some will appear in The Boston Globe.


Students are increasingly refusing to go to school. It’s becoming a mental health crisis.

Since the pandemic, more students are school-avoidant, leaving parents feeling hopeless and schools unequipped to find a solution..

Kyle Slagle, USA TODAY Network

The police were in her driveway. They wanted her son.

Jayne Demsky’s teenage son was not a criminal. He never stole, used illegal substances, or physically hurt anyone. He just didn’t go to school.

It started in the middle of 6th grade when he began staying home from school on days his anxiety was too difficult to manage. Those days became more frequent, turning into weeks and months, until he stopped going altogether. Now an officer was at her house, waiting to take her son to school.

“I would describe it as hell,” said the mother from Mahwah, New Jersey, who recalled feeling hopeless and constantly "on the verge of an emotional breakdown."

Demsky sought help from educators, doctors and counselors, trying to understand what was stopping her son from going to school for nearly a year. Finally, a psychiatrist told Demsky about a condition that affects a growing number of students with severe anxiety: school avoidance. 

“It was almost like a revelation,” she told USA TODAY.

There’s no book on this, it’s not spoken about. It’s very scary and parents feel a sense of helplessness.

School avoidant behavior, also called school refusal, is when a school-age child refuses to attend school or has difficulty being in school for the entire day. Several mental health experts told USA TODAY it has become a crisis that has gotten worse since the COVID-19 pandemic.

"There's no book on this, it's not spoken about," said Demsky, whose son declined to be interviewed by USA TODAY but gave his mother permission to share their story. "It's very scary and parents feel a sense of helplessness." 

The two continued to struggle with school avoidance for four years with little guidance. In 2014, she created a website to offer families the help and support she couldn't find. The site eventually turned into the School Avoidance Alliance , which spreads awareness and educates learning facilities and families of school avoidant children.

Several students who struggled with school avoidance told USA TODAY they would often experience panic attacks in the car on their way to school.

School avoidance is not a concrete diagnosis and looks different in every child. Some students consistently miss a couple of days a week, while others may leave during the day or escape to the nurse or counselor’s office. In some extreme cases, students don't step foot in a school for months or years at a time.

Half a dozen family members and students told USA TODAY that school avoidance has affected not only their mental health, often leading to anxiety and depression, but also their family dynamics, relationships with fellow students, and grades. It has threatened their prospects of graduation and a thriving future.

School avoidance is a complicated condition that neither parents nor school systems are fully equipped to handle. Some experts say school systems and national organizations are beginning to come up with strategies to get kids back to school, while others wonder if there's a better answer.

"Our waiting list is like 180 families right now," said Jonathan Dalton, a licensed psychologist who runs the Center for Anxiety and Behavioral Change in Maryland and Virginia, which offers treatment to those affected by anxiety and other related disorders, including school avoidance. "The mental health infrastructure was never designed for this level of need."

‘Anxiety and avoidance are teammates’

‘Anxiety and avoidance are teammates’

In the passenger seat of her mother’s car, Anna saw the school slowly peek above the horizon. Her heart began racing, her body shaking. Her breathing grew shallow and fast. And then, the unmistakable sign of her panic attacks: her hand smacking her leg.

“It’s scary because it’s not voluntary at all. It’s just kind of happening to you,” said Anna, a Virginia college student who spoke on the condition that she not be fully named because of mental health stigma. “I’ll sit in the car and tell myself to go in, but my body won’t carry me inside.”

Anna, who was school-avoidant in 10th grade, said her school avoidance began spiraling after she recovered from a medical condition. Despite getting better, she hadn't been to school in a month, and the mere thought of returning generated anxiety.

Jonathan Dalton is a licensed psychologist who specializes in school avoidance and also conducts in-school seminars teaching educators how to handle emotional-based school avoidance.

For most students, mental health experts say, school avoidance is typically a symptom of a bigger problem: anxiety.

“Anxiety and avoidance are teammates because they work on the same function,” Dalton said. “Kids feel very uncomfortable when they go to school or think about going to school, so they do what evolution teaches them to do and avoid something that makes them scared.”

Anxiety may be a common thread, but the basis of that fear varies with each student, said R. Meredith Elkins, program co-director of the McLean Anxiety Mastery Program at McLean Hospital in Massachusetts.

The mental health infrastructure was never designed for this level of need.

School avoidant behaviors most often occur in the transition between elementary, middle school and high school, she said.

“In younger children, we’re more likely to see school avoidance motivated by separation anxiety,” Elkins said. “As kids get older and their social environment changes, the way they interact with peers becomes important, and we see social anxiety as a more frequent contributor.”

School avoidance also tends to be a gradual process – starting with missing a day or two, then missing a week until the student becomes school avoidant altogether. The longer a student is away from school, the harder it is to get them back into school, and it can affect other aspects of their life, like relationships and work opportunities, Dalton said.

“We don’t call it work refusal, we call it unemployment,” he said. “If (students avoid school) and gain short-term relief, they’ll become a master of avoidance, and that doesn’t play well for the future.”

‘This is a crisis,’ and COVID made school avoidance worse

‘This is a crisis,’ and COVID made school avoidance worse

Some research suggests as few as 1% of students are school avoidant, while organizations like the School Avoidance Alliance estimate 5% to 28% of students in the country exhibit school avoidant behaviors at some point in their lives.

“How (school avoidance) is defined is nebulous,” Dalton said. “Different organizations use different language and criteria to describe it.”

Though it’s unclear how many students are affected, mental health experts agree the problem has gotten significantly worse since the COVID-19 pandemic. As schools began reintegrating in-person learning, many students didn’t return to the classroom.

In some cases, the pandemic halted the progress of many school avoidant students who were making a slow reentry. In other cases, experts said, the pandemic accelerated school refusal.

With many parents working remotely, experts say it's easier for school avoidant children to stay home.

“We saw a larger shift in kids who were on the cusp before and then after COVID started refusing completely,” said Krystina Dawson, a school psychologist and mental health supervisor in Fairfield County, Connecticut. “Once the pandemic hit and we introduced remote learning, kids got comfortable in their homes.”

School refusal cases may have also grown as students report experiencing anxiety at record levels. A Kaiser Family Foundation analysis found adolescents experiencing anxiety or depression increased by one-third from 2016 to 2020. The same report also found access to mental health services worsened during the pandemic.

“A lot of school refusers, when March 2020 happened, they were like, ‘Welcome to my world,’” Dalton said. “This was these kids’ lives.”

Experts say it has been more difficult to get students to return to school as they become accustomed to learning and socializing virtually. Some parents are more likely to be home throughout the day working remotely, which makes it easier for school avoidant children to stay home.

“The family dynamics have changed,” Dawson said. “Sometimes now there is one parent staying at home, which can be enticing for a child.”

‘Unless you've been through it, you don’t understand’

‘Unless you've been through it, you don’t understand’

Katherine and her son Peter started nearly every morning crying together in the school parking lot. The tears were hot and flowing.

They always drove to the building with hopes he would make inside. But eventually the pair headed home, longing the next day would be better.

His school avoidance peaked in 2021 during seventh grade. Katherine, who who lives just outside Boston, spoke on the condition that she not be fully identified because of the stigma associated with mental health.

Katherine identified her son’s affliction after a Google search led her to the School Avoidance Alliance, where she educated herself and found solidarity in the organization's Facebook group. But she still found little empathy or understanding among friends, family and peers, she said.

About 31.9% of adolescents have anxiety disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Her son would say, "‘I just want to be normal.’ It was heartbreaking,” she told USA TODAY. “As a parent, it is so isolating. It is so lonely because unless you’ve been through it, you don’t understand.”

The family struggled for years to find the origin of Peter’s anxiety until he was finally diagnosed with pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome, or PANS, which is a sudden onset of neuropsychiatric symptoms typically linked to an infection, according to Nemours Children’s Health.

With the help of treatment and counseling, Peter is now a freshman in high school and goes to school most days. Katherine was able to secure an individualized education plan for her son, but others are not so lucky. 

There’s shame, blame, and parents also don’t know how to deal with the schools. It’s a huge maze.

“There’s shame, blame, and parents also don’t know how to deal with the schools,” Demsky said. “It’s a huge maze.”

Some educators don't take school avoidance seriously, families told USA TODAY. Schools sometimes threaten students' graduation or take students to family court. 

The students who spoke to USA TODAY said that while they know some educators may view them as truant or misbehaving, they understand they’re missing educational milestones and experiences, and they want to return to school. But many of the schools’ solutions seem to only fuel their depression and anxiety.

"We had the resources, and it was still incredibly difficult" to treat Peter's school avoidance, Katherine said. "That's just not OK." 

‘Avoidance ruins lives’

‘Avoidance ruins lives’

Educators and psychologists say the goal for every case of school avoidance is to get the child back into class.

It’s important for students to stop using avoidance as a coping strategy before it becomes their primary way of dealing with problems for the rest for their lives, Dalton said.

“I don’t treat anxiety. I don’t have to treat anxiety because anxiety is temporary and harmless,” Dalton said. “What I treat is avoidance, and avoidance ruin lives.”

Others also argue returning to in-person class is important for social development.

Mara Nicastroi is the head of Nora School in Silver Spring, Maryland. She says school avoidant behavior has been on the rise since before the pandemic, but for some students, going back to class post-pandemic has been especially difficult.

“You’re increasing the diversity of exposure to social interactions that is difficult to replicate at home because there are some things that are uncontrolled at school that benefits your social development,” said Na’im Madyun, a school psychologist at Prince George County Public Schools in Maryland. “You’re more informed about how to navigate those nuances when you develop.”

But there’s no standard guidance how how to get kids back in the classroom, which leaves school officials to come up with their own solutions.

“It really takes a team approach,” said Mara Nicastro, head of Nora School, a small college preparatory school in Silver Spring, Maryland. “We work in conjunction with the family and the therapist ... and talk about what is it that can help make this transition smooth because the student is ready and knows it’s time to find a space to move forward.”

It really takes a team approach. We work in conjunction with the family and the therapist ... and talk about what is it that can help make this transition smooth.

Before making that leap, Dalton said most school avoidant students undergo a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy to understand what exactly the student is avoiding and gradually build their tolerance to that source of anxiety. This may look like staying in the car at the school parking lot or walking into the guidance counselor’s office and leaving.

Parents with anxiety have difficulty guiding their children in uncomfortable situations, Dalton said, as they reckon with their own traumas related to school. But it's important to seek help.

Schools need to work with parents and therapists to make the appropriate accommodations, Nicastro added. 

“We recognize that our students are learning how to move through their discomfort, their anxiety, and give them opportunities to use those coping strategies.”

Looking forward: What’s being done to help students?

Looking forward: What’s being done to help students?

Experts say not all schools – especially large districts – have the resources to operate like the Nora School, which limits enrollment to 70 students.

Many schools don’t reach the American School Counselor Association recommended counselor-to-student ratio of 1 to 250. The average ratio across all schools is 1 to 464, according to the association , and nearly 3 million of those students don’t have access to other school support staff, like a school psychologist or social worker.

But experts say things are slowly changing. For example, the Biden administration announced Monday nearly $100 million will be awarded across 35 states to increase access to school-based mental health services through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was signed into law June 2022.

Meanwhile, school systems and professional organizations are engaged in a national conversation about school avoidance and related protocols, said Duncan Young, CEO of Effective School Solutions, a mental health services provider for K-12 school districts.

Mara Nicastro, who runs a small college preparatory school in Maryland, said it takes a "team approach" with the family, a specialist and the school to help school-avoidant students return to the classroom.

Some protocols have been implemented and include a social-emotional curriculum, mental health counseling and personalized care for students whose mental health challenges impede their ability to operate in a traditional school setting.

“We’re seeing this transition right now,” Young said. Instead of viewing school avoidance as a behavioral problem, “school districts are building their mental health literacy and understanding the linkage between school avoidance and mental health.”

Meanwhile, some families question the rigid structure of a traditional school system.

Katie, a mother of three who lives in the St. Louis area in Illinois, said her high-school-age son was school-avoidant, but his mental health has significantly improved after transitioning full time to remote learning.

“He’s much healthier,” Katie said, who is on the school board and spoke on the condition that she not be fully identified. “He’s participating in schoolwork, he’s socializing, he’s attending family dinners again, his depression is so much better, anxiety is so much better.” He's also working and visiting colleges with plans to continue his education.

Experts urge families to seek professional help through a doctor, therapist or school counselor if anxiety becomes debilitating enough that it affects daily life, relationships and job, or if someone is having thoughts of hurting themselves or others. If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, dial 988 to reach someone with Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. They're available 24 hours a day and provide services in multiple languages.

In the real world, most people can choose whom they work for or where they go to college, she noted. But students don't have that flexibility in a traditional school system.

"Children have not always been educated in this one little box," Katie said. "Whatever that looks like for (my son), I have all the faith in the world that he will be successful one day. I don’t question it for a second anymore."

Despite avoiding school for four years, Demsky's son graduated, secured a job and manages his anxiety independently, she said. She hopes her story comforts other parents and shows that children can have productive lives after school avoidance.

"I had that fear that my son was going to live in my basement for the rest of his life. ... That is the fear of every parent," Demsky said. Now, her son is "thriving."

"I'm really proud of him." 

Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT. 

Health and patient safety coverage at USA TODAY is made possible in part by a grant from the Masimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation and Competition in Healthcare. The Masimo Foundation does not provide editorial input.

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Covid 19 Essay in English

Essay on Covid -19: In a very short amount of time, coronavirus has spread globally. It has had an enormous impact on people's lives, economy, and societies all around the world, affecting every country. Governments have had to take severe measures to try and contain the pandemic. The virus has altered our way of life in many ways, including its effects on our health and our economy. Here are a few sample essays on ‘CoronaVirus’.

100 Words Essay on Covid 19

200 words essay on covid 19, 500 words essay on covid 19.

Covid 19 Essay in English

COVID-19 or Corona Virus is a novel coronavirus that was first identified in 2019. It is similar to other coronaviruses, such as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, but it is more contagious and has caused more severe respiratory illness in people who have been infected. The novel coronavirus became a global pandemic in a very short period of time. It has affected lives, economies and societies across the world, leaving no country untouched. The virus has caused governments to take drastic measures to try and contain it. From health implications to economic and social ramifications, COVID-19 impacted every part of our lives. It has been more than 2 years since the pandemic hit and the world is still recovering from its effects.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the world has been impacted in a number of ways. For one, the global economy has taken a hit as businesses have been forced to close their doors. This has led to widespread job losses and an increase in poverty levels around the world. Additionally, countries have had to impose strict travel restrictions in an attempt to contain the virus, which has resulted in a decrease in tourism and international trade. Furthermore, the pandemic has put immense pressure on healthcare systems globally, as hospitals have been overwhelmed with patients suffering from the virus. Lastly, the outbreak has led to a general feeling of anxiety and uncertainty, as people are fearful of contracting the disease.

My Experience of COVID-19

I still remember how abruptly colleges and schools shut down in March 2020. I was a college student at that time and I was under the impression that everything would go back to normal in a few weeks. I could not have been more wrong. The situation only got worse every week and the government had to impose a lockdown. There were so many restrictions in place. For example, we had to wear face masks whenever we left the house, and we could only go out for essential errands. Restaurants and shops were only allowed to operate at take-out capacity, and many businesses were shut down.

In the current scenario, coronavirus is dominating all aspects of our lives. The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc upon people’s lives, altering the way we live and work in a very short amount of time. It has revolutionised how we think about health care, education, and even social interaction. This virus has had long-term implications on our society, including its impact on mental health, economic stability, and global politics. But we as individuals can help to mitigate these effects by taking personal responsibility to protect themselves and those around them from infection.

Effects of CoronaVirus on Education

The outbreak of coronavirus has had a significant impact on education systems around the world. In China, where the virus originated, all schools and universities were closed for several weeks in an effort to contain the spread of the disease. Many other countries have followed suit, either closing schools altogether or suspending classes for a period of time.

This has resulted in a major disruption to the education of millions of students. Some have been able to continue their studies online, but many have not had access to the internet or have not been able to afford the costs associated with it. This has led to a widening of the digital divide between those who can afford to continue their education online and those who cannot.

The closure of schools has also had a negative impact on the mental health of many students. With no face-to-face contact with friends and teachers, some students have felt isolated and anxious. This has been compounded by the worry and uncertainty surrounding the virus itself.

The situation with coronavirus has improved and schools have been reopened but students are still catching up with the gap of 2 years that the pandemic created. In the meantime, governments and educational institutions are working together to find ways to support students and ensure that they are able to continue their education despite these difficult circumstances.

Effects of CoronaVirus on Economy

The outbreak of the coronavirus has had a significant impact on the global economy. The virus, which originated in China, has spread to over two hundred countries, resulting in widespread panic and a decrease in global trade. As a result of the outbreak, many businesses have been forced to close their doors, leading to a rise in unemployment. In addition, the stock market has taken a severe hit.

Effects of CoronaVirus on Health

The effects that coronavirus has on one's health are still being studied and researched as the virus continues to spread throughout the world. However, some of the potential effects on health that have been observed thus far include respiratory problems, fever, and coughing. In severe cases, pneumonia, kidney failure, and death can occur. It is important for people who think they may have been exposed to the virus to seek medical attention immediately so that they can be treated properly and avoid any serious complications. There is no specific cure or treatment for coronavirus at this time, but there are ways to help ease symptoms and prevent the virus from spreading.

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JEE Main Important Physics formulas

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As per latest 2024 syllabus. Physics formulas, equations, & laws of class 11 & 12th chapters

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i missed my school during covid pandemic essay in english

Students fell behind during the pandemic. How 1 educator is closing the learning gap

I n 2020, as classrooms across the country shifted to remote and hybrid learning, millions of students nationwide fell behind academically. By the fall of 2021, almost all students were back in school full-time, according to the National Center for Education Statistics . Still, closing the COVID gap is taking time.

According to NWEA , by the end of the 2023 school year, the average student needed 4.1 more months to catch up in reading and 4.5 more months in math. Students in high-poverty school districts lost more ground than others, reports the Harvard Graduate School of Education .

Alberto Carvalho  is looking to change that for the more than 420,000 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), where he came on board as superintendent in 2022.

According to reporting from the New York Times , Los Angeles, the second-biggest public school district in the US, had less learning loss than many other big city districts and has had a better recovery rate than other districts in California.

Here are some of the strategies Carvalho and his team have put in place that are making a difference.

1. Getting kids into the classroom

The challenge: Kids can’t learn if they aren’t in class. Nationwide, chronic absenteeism — kids missing at least 10% of a school year — was 75% higher in 2023 than before the pandemic, according to the American Enterprise Institute .

It’s not just a problem for the kids who miss school — when kids aren’t in school consistently, it disrupts the classroom flow for everyone.

The strategy: Tech-based solutions weren’t getting solid results. “We have platforms that can conduct virtual outreach to parents and students, but that was falling a bit short of the mark,” Carvalho tells TODAY. Instead, the district is using an old-fashioned method — knocking on doors.

A team that can include a counselor, social worker and principal or assistant principal meets with an absent child’s caretakers. The team has data about the student, so they can connect with the caretaker. “We are meeting students and parents where they are, and we’re bringing solutions after really understanding the root cause behind the chronic absenteeism,” Carvalho says.

The outcome: The district is back to its pre-pandemic average daily attendance levels of 92 to 93%.

Still, there’s room for improvement. “With every knock on the door, we learn new circumstances or reasons [for absenteeism],” Carvalho says. For example, parents worry about immigration consequences, or older kids stay home with babies and toddlers while their parents work two or three jobs.

For those issues, the district needs help. “Solving for that requires a new adaptation to a host of social services and supports that transcend the school system,” he says. “It requires the city, the county and community-based organizations to step in and step up.”

2. Looking beyond the limits of the school calendar

The challenge: Schools need to create opportunities for learning outside of the 7.5-hour, 180-day traditional classroom schedule.

The strategy: The district helps kids close their gaps by offering outside-the-school-day options like:

  • Before- and after-school programming
  • Saturday, spring break and winter break academies
  • A summer of learning

Speaking more broadly about these types of changes, Carvalho says, “This is in part the response to the crisis that started with the pandemic, but honestly, this is a response to the failures of many systems for many decades prior to the pandemic. Returning our students back to pre-pandemic status is insufficient. We have a golden opportunity to really transform educational systems as we know them.”

Carvalho recognizes that you can’t simply saturate kids with core subject instruction, though: “If all you do is provide them with more reading and more math, you’re probably going to reach a level of fatigue that will disengage them.”

Along with core subjects, his district is bringing in a portfolio of enrichment activities in the arts, including field trips to plays and concerts. They’re inviting artists to schools. “It’s how you package it,” he says.

The outcome: More than 30% of the student body has participated in summer programs, and other programs are showing solid participation as well. Carvalho says that so far, data is showing significant improvements in state assessments. And the district is posting its highest graduation rates in its history.

3. Closing the gaps for underserved students

The challenge: The students in the 100 lowest-performing schools in the LAUSD are disproportionately Black and brown. These schools have huge numbers of students who have disabilities, are English language learners, are experiencing homelessness or are in the foster care system.

The strategy: The district is using data to build equitable support and accountability. “Data is our superpower in Los Angeles Unified,” Carvalho says. They adjust funding based on each school’s demographics. They are also building strategies that improve the performance of subgroups of students. For example, they’ve allocated $120 million toward the Black Student Achievement Plan (BSAP).

The outcome: The BSAP is still ongoing, and it’s showing solid gains in improving attendance, math and literacy, and students enrolled in advanced placement or honors classes.

4. Connecting parents with their power

The challenge: Parents and communities have often historically sent their kids to school and expected them to behave. After that, they viewed education as the job of the schools and the teachers. Carvalho wants to change that.

“I want to show parents how they can become powerful voices of disruption in their own schools by empowering them with information,” he says. That way, they know the important questions to ask teachers, principals, superintendents and board members.

The strategy: The district launched Family Academy , a virtual platform for parents, two years ago. It gives parents a better understanding of their children’s education and performance and shows them how to be change agents in the classroom and the school.

The outcome: Thousands of parents have gone through training programs. They understand budgets and proficiency levels. “Once parents understand that, they can become more active voices,” Carvalho says. 

5. Recognizing that closing gaps will always be a focus

The challenge: “I don’t think we will ever close the gaps,” Carvalho says. “The reason for that is that our school systems have wide-open doors. As much as we can improve the conditions for learning and performance of the students we have today, each and every day, we bring in new students.”

Babies are born already falling into gaps. Some immigrant students are dealing with language barriers, trauma from warfare or from a treacherous journey to the U.S.

“One of the things that frustrates me as an educator of many years in this country is that all of a sudden, the nation woke up to the fact that there were gaps, and a lot of people assigned the gaps 100% to the pandemic,” Carvalho said. “Gaps have existed. The systems of education as we know them have perpetuated gaps.”

The solution: Parents got a front-row seat to their kids’ educational environment during the pandemic, and they aren’t going back to the old way of doing things. Transparency helps. The district publicly shares data on everything from kindergarten literacy benchmarks to trends in graduation rates through its open data portal .

The outcome: Carvalho references a famous quote from Maya Angelo: “‘When you know better, do better.’ That’s where we are right now.”

This article was originally published on TODAY.com

Students fell behind during the pandemic. How 1 educator is closing the learning gap

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What I’ve Learned From My Students’ College Essays

The genre is often maligned for being formulaic and melodramatic, but it’s more important than you think.

An illustration of a high school student with blue hair, dreaming of what to write in their college essay.

By Nell Freudenberger

Most high school seniors approach the college essay with dread. Either their upbringing hasn’t supplied them with several hundred words of adversity, or worse, they’re afraid that packaging the genuine trauma they’ve experienced is the only way to secure their future. The college counselor at the Brooklyn high school where I’m a writing tutor advises against trauma porn. “Keep it brief , ” she says, “and show how you rose above it.”

I started volunteering in New York City schools in my 20s, before I had kids of my own. At the time, I liked hanging out with teenagers, whom I sometimes had more interesting conversations with than I did my peers. Often I worked with students who spoke English as a second language or who used slang in their writing, and at first I was hung up on grammar. Should I correct any deviation from “standard English” to appeal to some Wizard of Oz behind the curtains of a college admissions office? Or should I encourage students to write the way they speak, in pursuit of an authentic voice, that most elusive of literary qualities?

In fact, I was missing the point. One of many lessons the students have taught me is to let the story dictate the voice of the essay. A few years ago, I worked with a boy who claimed to have nothing to write about. His life had been ordinary, he said; nothing had happened to him. I asked if he wanted to try writing about a family member, his favorite school subject, a summer job? He glanced at his phone, his posture and expression suggesting that he’d rather be anywhere but in front of a computer with me. “Hobbies?” I suggested, without much hope. He gave me a shy glance. “I like to box,” he said.

I’ve had this experience with reluctant writers again and again — when a topic clicks with a student, an essay can unfurl spontaneously. Of course the primary goal of a college essay is to help its author get an education that leads to a career. Changes in testing policies and financial aid have made applying to college more confusing than ever, but essays have remained basically the same. I would argue that they’re much more than an onerous task or rote exercise, and that unlike standardized tests they are infinitely variable and sometimes beautiful. College essays also provide an opportunity to learn precision, clarity and the process of working toward the truth through multiple revisions.

When a topic clicks with a student, an essay can unfurl spontaneously.

Even if writing doesn’t end up being fundamental to their future professions, students learn to choose language carefully and to be suspicious of the first words that come to mind. Especially now, as college students shoulder so much of the country’s ethical responsibility for war with their protest movement, essay writing teaches prospective students an increasingly urgent lesson: that choosing their own words over ready-made phrases is the only reliable way to ensure they’re thinking for themselves.

Teenagers are ideal writers for several reasons. They’re usually free of preconceptions about writing, and they tend not to use self-consciously ‘‘literary’’ language. They’re allergic to hypocrisy and are generally unfiltered: They overshare, ask personal questions and call you out for microaggressions as well as less egregious (but still mortifying) verbal errors, such as referring to weed as ‘‘pot.’’ Most important, they have yet to put down their best stories in a finished form.

I can imagine an essay taking a risk and distinguishing itself formally — a poem or a one-act play — but most kids use a more straightforward model: a hook followed by a narrative built around “small moments” that lead to a concluding lesson or aspiration for the future. I never get tired of working with students on these essays because each one is different, and the short, rigid form sometimes makes an emotional story even more powerful. Before I read Javier Zamora’s wrenching “Solito,” I worked with a student who had been transported by a coyote into the U.S. and was reunited with his mother in the parking lot of a big-box store. I don’t remember whether this essay focused on specific skills or coping mechanisms that he gained from his ordeal. I remember only the bliss of the parent-and-child reunion in that uninspiring setting. If I were making a case to an admissions officer, I would suggest that simply being able to convey that experience demonstrates the kind of resilience that any college should admire.

The essays that have stayed with me over the years don’t follow a pattern. There are some narratives on very predictable topics — living up to the expectations of immigrant parents, or suffering from depression in 2020 — that are moving because of the attention with which the student describes the experience. One girl determined to become an engineer while watching her father build furniture from scraps after work; a boy, grieving for his mother during lockdown, began taking pictures of the sky.

If, as Lorrie Moore said, “a short story is a love affair; a novel is a marriage,” what is a college essay? Every once in a while I sit down next to a student and start reading, and I have to suppress my excitement, because there on the Google Doc in front of me is a real writer’s voice. One of the first students I ever worked with wrote about falling in love with another girl in dance class, the absolute magic of watching her move and the terror in the conflict between her feelings and the instruction of her religious middle school. She made me think that college essays are less like love than limerence: one-sided, obsessive, idiosyncratic but profound, the first draft of the most personal story their writers will ever tell.

Nell Freudenberger’s novel “The Limits” was published by Knopf last month. She volunteers through the PEN America Writers in the Schools program.


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