By Olivia Henry:
For many of us students, the gravity of the coronavirus situation has only just begun to sink in. Once school was canceled this past Friday, Mar. 13, many students assumed the worst was over. Little were they aware that, within days, Fairfax County Public Schools would close down all schools until April 10, at least. (See FCPS coronavirus update here.)
COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, has taken the world by storm. It has completely altered the everyday lives of everyone, students included.
All sports and other team events have been canceled. For many, this was their last opportunity to compete within their high school career or to be scouted by colleges. In either case, the morale of affected students has hit an all-time low.
Uncertainty lies around events like prom and graduation, leaving seniors heartbroken. Many have taken to their social media accounts to express this pain. New hashtags have been created, such as #redshirtcoronayear on Instagram, which sheds a light on the plight of student-athletes.
Whether in K-12 or college, the heart of the issue remains: they are all losing something near and dear to them. As one senior lacrosse player explained, the loss of “lacrosse was detrimental to my senior year…you look forward to your sports’ senior night, and having that taken away from you hurts a lot.”
It has also hurt students preparing to apply to college. At this time of year, they are meant to be prepping for the SATs and their final exams. These standardized tests are essential in the college admissions process. However, students are losing this crucial time. The SAT that was due to take place on Mar. 14 has been canceled, impacting thousands.
Losing an entire month of formal education is bound to have an impact on students’ ability to do well on exams. Whether it be the state-issued Standards of Learning Exams, or the Advanced Placement tests that offer college credit, students are forced into a challenging position.
Self-studying for these exams is extremely difficult, and for those without key resources such as WFfi, near impossible. Preparing students for these exams will undoubtedly be a major challenge for all teachers.
Social distancing also poses issues for students. School is the main source of friendship and interaction for many. Now, this time is gone. Some students continue to go out, spending time at their friend’s homes or working, but the vast majority of students are staying in.
Social media has become many students’ only outlet to connect with others, and, in turn, will have impacts on their mental health. Study after study demonstrates that excessive use of social media tends to have adverse effects on mental health, and students will be experiencing this firsthand.
The full effects of this virus on students’ lives are still unknown, but one thing is for certain: life will never be the same.
Main photo from stock
Olivia Henry is a senior at Hayfield Secondary School in Alexandria where she sits on the Advanced Academic Advisory Board, coaches the Mock Trial team, and volunteers with Young Democrats.
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