Covid Affecting Student’s Mental Health (Q&A)

Severna Park students comment on how the pandemic has affected their mental health and wellbeing.


SPHS students share their opinion on virtual school and how it has affected them. Students also share the positive aspects of staying in more due to the pandemic. “I think one of the positives to all this is the fact that I am learning a lot about what it means to be alone…I think it is important to learn that it is OK to be alone and how to be content with being by yourself,” senior Sarah Smith said.

Ginger Harrison, Online Editor

Would you want to go back to virtual learning? Although students don’t make that decision, it’s important to know their perspective and to shine light on their mental health. 


Do you think SPHS will return to online school?


“I think that we will end up back online in the next month,” senior Grace Marburger said.


“I do not think [SPHS] will return to virtual learning. From what I have heard, there are some at the Board of Education who are doing their best to push for us to stay in school. Which I am very grateful for as I would like to continue in person learning,” Smith said. 


“At this rate I don’t think we will go back to virtual learning as the covid numbers are already insane yet there seems to be no signs that we will be going virtual,” senior Niko Haagenson said.


“I think we will stay in person mostly for the rest of the school year unless other schools such as ours have too many cases that they can’t control,” junior Liam Hagerty said. 


“No, I really do not want to go back to virtual,” senior Olivia Driver said. 


How do you feel about the possibility of going back to virtual learning?


“I don’t really want to go back online because I like being in school with all of my friends and it is easier to learn,” Marburger said. 


“I definitely worry about going back to virtual learning, just because I know that I will struggle to find the motivation to do a lot of my assignments and keep up with my school work,” Smith said. “There is just a lot less to look forward to, and a lot less joy to find throughout the school day when you are alone sitting on a computer.”


“I honestly really hope we go back to virtual learning just because of the freedom it gave us. My only worry is having to learn calculus online when I already do not understand it,” Haagenson said. “Besides that, virtual learning is much more relaxed and I enjoy being able to do what I want to do in my own home.”


“I feel like if we go back to online I’ll have more time to get school work done but I’ll also start to get lazy,” Hagerty said. 


“I think it is so isolating at a very important time in our lives especially being in my senior year- I won’t have the opportunity to have another year in high-school and I don’t want to miss any more memories,” Driver said.


“I’m indifferent to virtual learning. At the end of the day it’s just school to me,” senior Benson Ruckelshaus said. 


“Going back to virtual learning would be frustrating because it was so difficult to learn online. I also love going to school to see my friends and be social so I would really miss that part of school if we went back to virtual,” junior Maddy Goger said. 


Has virtual learning previously had an effect on you? If so, how?


“Being virtual in the past made it a lot harder for me to stay focused and motivated,” Marburger said.


“I would say virtual learning mostly affected me in my ability to create meaningful and lasting relationships with my teachers and a lot of my peers,” Smith said. “It can be really difficult to connect with someone through a screen and last year it was definitely hard to get to know my teachers and build relationships with them which was unfortunate.”


“I think I’m a bit of an outlier because virtual learning had a profoundly positive effect on me. Instead of spending so much time and energy commuting from my house to school, I was able to fill in many gaps in my school day with learning about the things that interested me,” Haagenson said. “I had more time to take classes at the community college and focus less on the personally irrelevant material I learned in school.”


“Last year online school was pretty easy and I don’t think I learned as much as I could’ve if we were in person,” Hagerty said. 


“Virtual learning definitely had an effect on me, I realized that you need to take advantage of every opportunity presented to you because you never know if or when it’ll get taken away,” Driver said. 


Are there any positives to having to stay in more due to rising cases?


“Staying in because of covid allows me to focus more on things I normally forget about like cleaning and organizing or working out,” Marburger said. 


“Again, I am an outlier as I love nothing more than sitting in my bed watching obscure art films and reading about fashion and art. Though I would miss going out to museums, movies, and thrift stores, I would have more time to sit down and learn,” Haagenson said. “Also, I can spend more time doing my makeup and dressing up which is a definite plus.”


“The positives to staying in more due to covid is I can be with my family and focus on the important things in my life without distractions,” Hagerty said.  


“One positive thing about being home is being able to spend some time with family, but I know that that is not the most exciting thing for everyone, so maybe just learning a new hobby or doing something you don’t usually have time to do like art or cleaning or solitaire,” Driver said.


“I think that it gives us time to spend more time with our families which is great! It also gives us time to try new hobbies or things,” Goger said. 


Although there are uncertainties whether SPHS is going back to virtual learning or not, the reality is that school affects everyone in a different way. Some students prefer online rather than in-person learning because it gives them a chance to be with their families and get personal stuff done. However, other students dislike virtual learning because it takes a toll on their mental health. Whatever the county decides to choose for our school, it’s important that everyone tries to keep themselves and others safe while also doing more things that make us happy to improve our mental health.