Currently…Difficulties going back to in-person learning

It was announced last week that all Wyandotte public schools will be returning to our traditional schedule of five days a week from 8 am to 3 pm. For many students, including myself, this will be a rough transition as we haven’t done this almost an entire year, and it can seem frightening; not just regarding our safety from Covid-19, but our mental health as well.
This school year, it seemed that just as students became accustomed to a new schedule, it was changed, time and time again. According to clinical psychologist Robin Gurwitch, the constant closing and reopening of schools are creating additional stress and anxiety for students due to the uncertainty of whether their school will stay open or even how their daily in-class routine will be changed to abide by social distancing guidelines. Typically, schools are supposed to provide structure and routine in student’s lives and since the pandemic hit, it has done the complete opposite.
In addition to the constant schedule changes, many students are worried about the workload increase when we return to being in class all day, every day. We did receive classwork on our asynchronous days however, it was typically very easy, busy work that did not require instruction from our teachers. According to a study done by the American Psychology Association, 45% of students report feeling stressed and overwhelmed by their school work during normal years. As we haven’t experienced “normal” in nearly a year, we can anticipate that number to rise due to students feeling behind in their education.
We can also expect our sleep schedules to suffer when returning to school daily. A study done by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health found that since the initial shutdown, adolescents slept for longer durations which reduced their drowsiness during the daytime significantly when compared to their regular school time schedule. Many students participate in after-school activities and/or have jobs, this means that many of us are forced to do our homework before we go to bed. A 2007 study from the National Center for Education Statistics found that the average high school student has seven hours of homework weekly. That study is not even taking advanced and AP students into consideration. My point in bringing up these statistics is to explain why we get so little sleep during the school year. If there is one positive thing Covid-19 has given to students, it is the opportunity to get proper sleep.
My final, most obvious reason students are anxious to return to full-time schooling is the fear of Covid-19 itself. Almost everyone is related, cares about, or is someone who has an increased risk of severe illness if contracting the virus and the fear of bringing it home to someone you love is terrifying. And we worry that being in a building with over a thousand people inside with some who cannot even properly wear a mask will greatly increase our chances of bringing Covid-19 home. For now, all we can do is hope that the Covid-19 cases stay at low numbers and we can successfully get back to our academic lives before the pandemic safely.