Mental health throughout the pandemic 

Pandemic accentuates issues they had already been dealing with

Photo+by+Matthew+Ball+on+Unsplash%0A++

Photo by Matthew Ball on Unsplash

During the COVID-19 pandemic, students and teachers at Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep High School (NP3) said they struggled with their mental health while doing distance learning. Many say returning to in-person learning is helping to improve their mental health.

Staying indoors and the lack of communication and interaction with others caused a lot of anxiety, students said.

“It caused me to become really stressed and began many anxious feelings. It made me hate school and everything about it because it was no longer about having a social life, it was only about getting passing grades,” said Noah Ramos, a junior attending NP3 High.

For some, the pandemic accentuated issues they had already been dealing with.

During the beginning, quarantine had a positive impact because it gave a break from the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives.

“At first being quarantined was great for me, having a break from society was kinda refreshing,” said Itzel Castellanos, a junior attending NP3 High.

After several months of no social interaction and staying indoors, quarantine had a negative impact.

“After a couple months being away from society took a toll on my social skills and my motivation to do tasks,” said Castellanos.

Students have been doing distance learning and learning individually without interaction with other students. Distance learning had a lot of positive and negative effects.

The workload became immense and students felt they couldn’t get the help they needed and they were completing assignments to meet deadlines, not to learn the material being taught.

“It made me feel like I couldn’t do anything because I couldn’t keep up on my school work and it made me feel mad that I couldn’t get the right help that I needed,” said Jocella Gutierrez, a sophomore attending NP3 High.

Teachers were also impacted a lot by distance learning.

“My struggles were mostly because I felt an inability to teach my students. I knew I needed to teach them,” said Katie Durham, who teaches World History, AP World History, and Pilates at NP3 High.

Durham, along with many other teachers, felt they couldn’t teach their students well enough through a computer screen.

“No one goes into teaching to sit at a computer all day . . . Just not knowing what my kids looked like was so hard,” said Sasha Guzman who teaches Social Justice at NP3 High School.

On the other hand, some students said distance learning had a positive impact because students could become more independent.

“It has taken a positive toll on my mental health because although I was at my lowest point in the start, I was able to learn about myself more and it was for me really just a big period of self-reflection and self-improvement,” said a sophomore attending NP3 High.

In a survey conducted at NP3 during the 2021-22 school year, many students have eagerly returned to in-person learning. 86% of students say in-person learning had a positive impact on their mental health while 14% say it’s taken a negative toll on their mental health.

“It gave me a little something to look forward to such as seeing my friends and being able to do lab experiments. It is slowly taking away the negative feelings I associate with school,” said Ramos.

Attending school in person allows for creating new relationships and friendships.

“In person learning has taken a positive toll on my mental health because getting to interact with my friends/people every day is a nice change…I’m addition, I feel like the friendships I make in class are more organic because we can catch each other after classes, and these moments do not present themselves over zoom,” said a junior attending NP3 High.

In-person learning has led to increased social interaction for students and teachers

“Social interaction is an improvement but the loss of personal time is hard,” said a teacher from NP3 High.

Students worry about keeping themselves and the people around them safe from COVID-19 during In-person learning.

“It’s really important for me and for anyone for that matter to stay safe, especially when I do not want to spread it to my family or my grandparents when I visit them,” said a junior from NP3 High.

Over the past year, students said they have become more grateful for their education, friendships and ability to learn alongside their peers.

“I am more grateful for going into in person school. I never thought distance learning was possible until the pandemic and it has shown me to be grateful even for the little things in life like going into in person school and my friends,” said Emily Strueli, a junior attending NP3 High.