How Did COVID-19 Affect High School Students?

COVID-19 has impacted everyone around the world. Many people went through losing family members, doing online school, and having to wear a mask everywhere. COVID has also affected students’ ability to do schoolwork. Many students found it difficult to maintain their grades with the pandemic raging around them. COVID has also had an impact on student’s physical and mental health. Due to this, many students failed their classes. I asked four juniors, who all wanted to remain anonymous, what they felt about COVID and how it affected them in their daily lives.

COVID has affected many high schoolers’ physical health, as one Stamford High student shared. “COVID impacted me very heavily and it caused all of my grades to drop and create problems for me mentally and physically,” he said. “After starting distance learning, my grades dropped and I ended up failing two of my classes and having to go to summer school. COVID also caused me to gain weight and become less active since I was sitting all day.”

Mental health affects the way we feel, act, and behave, which can result in being unable to express how you feel and lead to depression. Many students felt like they experienced depression because of COVID. The second student, who attends AITE, said, “COVID impacted me a lot because of how isolated we were. I was always cheery and now I just feel so down all the time, COVID caused my depression to come back and I never thought it would be so aggressive. I am still suffering from depression and it’s not fun,” she said. This student is now trying to seek help, but so much damage has already been done. “I am only 16 years old and COVID has affected me so much,” she said. 

Another AITE student talked about the impact of losing family and watching people be discriminated against. “I would say that COVID impacted me because I lost a family member because of COVID and that discrimination has increased,” he said. According to an article from the American Psychological Association, Discrimination During COVID-19,” about 58% of Asian Americans said that it was more common for people to express racist views towards them since the coronavirus outbreak. This student also spoke about the general bleakness that the pandemic has created in the world. “COVID doesn’t let me do fun activities or show my expressions because of the mask. COVID changed the world’s vibes,” he said.

The last AITE student I spoke with highlighted how COVID generally affected her life. “I was this bright and happy person who had no worries, but now I constantly have to worry about whether I have my mask, having to stay six feet apart from everyone, and just worrying about my health,” she said. The pandemic has created a lot for students to manage, and some feel they are not the same person they used to be because of it. “I am no longer the happy and bright person I used to be and now I always have anxiety everywhere I go,” she said. 

According to Inside Higher ED, there was a correlation between students failing their classes and mental struggles caused by the pandemic. In New Mexico, four out of five students failed at least one of their classes. In Houston, the failure rate was 42 percent. In the Bay Area, the number of students with a D or F has doubled. But why did these numbers increase, and why did many students fail their classes while doing distance learning? There are many reasons why students could have failed: 

  1. Many teachers weren’t ready and distance learning was new to everyone, which made things very difficult. 
  2. Students found work very confusing and some students even had bad internet access.
  3. Students found it harder to transition to online school and this led to failed classes and dropped grades. 

COVID affected many people in different ways, and high school students are no different.