The difficulty of doing online school while quarantined


Pam Layton

Lindsey Layton is lying in her bed, half-awake, attempting to get through school.

I believed COVID-19 was over when we got to go back to school, play sports without masks, eat lunch at our long tables, and know that 88 percent of BSM students are vaccinated, but I was mistaken. Three weeks ago I believed I had a typical cold that would go away on its own, but I got tested for Covid just in case, and the results were positive. I had to do online school, miss four of my basketball games, and stay secluded from my friends and family for ten days in quarantine. Having to do online school didn’t feel like a burden to just me, but to my teachers as well.

Teachers were overworked and worried after last year’s schedule with two cohorts, while students were frustrated that they couldn’t be with all of their classmates. So, once the next school year began, both students and teachers were relieved to learn that Zoom was no longer in use, at least until Covid exposures began to rise again.

Being the only person on Zoom felt like I was observing the class instead of being a part of it. My teachers were quite helpful in informing me of what was going on and keeping me updated about upcoming homework. When my teachers had substitutes, they didn’t have computers, so they couldn’t use Zoom to take my attendance and tell me what was on the agenda. This resulted in a lot of absences and confusion in my classes. I had to text my classmates to receive an understanding of what homework I needed to complete.

The workload I had to accomplish was acceptable and not particularly time-consuming, yet it seemed like hours of work when I wasn’t feeling well. The main symptom of Covid that had the most impact on me was fatigue; I was constantly tired, which made it difficult for me to keep focused and attentive in class. I’d have terrible headaches from sitting at the computer all day, forcing me to take four-hour naps after school so I could finish my homework.

I’ve learned to appreciate not having phones in class because they were a major distraction during my classes, causing me to lose focus quickly on what we were doing and increasing my screen time significantly compared to when I was at school. I have a desk in my room, so when my teachers would dismiss me I would go to my bed and sleep or watch a Netflix show to pass the time, making me unproductive during the school day. To be more productive and feel better, I eventually forced myself to wear proper clothing instead of sweatpants and hoodies all day.

I hope that more people get vaccinated and Covid will soon come to an end so teachers don’t have to teach over Zoom and schools can put virtually learning in the past.