A New Normal

By Raquel Kanner

With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, schools, organizations, and stores around the world have had to adapt to this unprecedented pandemic. AP tests are now virtual, the ACT and the SATs are postponed, Regents Exams are cancelled, and sports are on pause; however, out of all of these shifts, one mainly impacts us students: The shift to e-learning. 

While many may take advantage of this time to catch up on well-deserved sleep, binge watch the latest show, or spend quality time with loved ones, it is inevitable that these past few weeks have had many disadvantages. Whether these drawbacks are a global fear of the pandemic, a loss of on-site learning, or something as simple as a pause in extracurriculars, it is clear that we are all yearning for a return to normalcy. 

Since its introduction nearly one month ago, e-learning has provided the students at BHHS with a unique way of learning new content, meeting with teachers, and completing assignments. No longer is the school day from 7:55 to 2:25; rather, it is all up to the students when they want to complete their work — as long as they submit their assignments on time. Nick Varsames, a junior, notes that “Since the whole e-learning process started, it’s been a lot of mixed levels of work. However, I am doing schoolwork for the vast majority of the day. The workload is surprisingly large, but not terrible. The biggest downside is the scheduled google meets which eliminates individual extra help sessions. I also find it relatively harder to focus in an at home environment rather than a class environment. It still needs some getting used to, but all new things do.” This perspective provides insight into the lives of many BHHS students: yes, there may be more downtime, but there is minimal time to “stay after school” and go to a teacher for extra help, allowing for students to gain more insight into the content being taught. Lily Auster, a sophomore, also points out that “This year is a good year to have e-learning, for I’m not too stressed out about AP exams. However, it’s definitely a weird change, and it’s a lot harder to pay attention while doing work.” E-learning definitely has its advantages and disadvantages, but there is no doubt that this time has allowed for students to have more freedom within their schedules, something that is rarely allowed in a normal school day.

To continue, when BHHS students are not at their desks completing their assignments, many are using this time to relax. When Madison Jakubek, another junior, was asked about how she is keeping busy during quarantine, she replied, “I’m currently doing full body workouts and running outside to stay in shape and keep busy. My family has made pizzas and our own bread as well. Overall, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my family and doing things I never really had time to do.” Lily Auster also mentioned how she is “learning to drive and working out more. [She’s] also been taking dance classes on Zoom.” There are certainly a variety of activities that students can take part of during this time, even if the coronavirus may be a burden. Sydney Charron, another sophomore, is spending time with her family through “taking the[ir] dog on walks, going on bike rides, playing board/card games, watching movies, and working on mindfulness”. Because many students have an abundance of time on their hands, I believe that it is of increasing importance to take this time to work on relaxation and spending time with loved ones. Personally, similar to other students, having a sibling home from college has allowed for my whole family to spend more time together. My family and I go on daily walks, and we occasionally have family movie nights, activities that would have rarely happened during a normal week. 

Even though the coronavirus may have impacted many aspects of our lives in a negative way, there have been a few silver linings. Students now have more control over their schedules, and they can now spend an increased amount of time doing activities they enjoy. 

Overall, social distancing has had tremendous benefits across the country, and even around the world, and it has significantly  limited the future spread of the virus. To all — stay safe and healthy, and let’s continue to flatten the curve!

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