For most of the school year, students enrolled in Charles County Public Schools woke up at a specific time in the morning, went to school with their peers for almost seven hours, and then either went home or participated in after school activities. Students stayed on this schedule for six months – getting used to early mornings and late evenings. They became used to being around other people for most of the day and spending more time with people their age and teachers more than their own family.
It was announced by Governor Larry Hogan that this schedule that students were so used to was going to be changed – all public schools in the state of Maryland would be closed on March 16, 2020 due to the COVID-19 coronavirus. Students spent roughly two weeks without schoolwork and were told to stay in their homes to lower the threat of contamination. Soon enough, schools began sending out emails letting families know that students were to restart lessons online.
Students began their new schedule at home – away from their friends, peers, and teachers whom they were used to spending most of their week with – and now learning would be in the comfort of their homes. No longer do they need to wake up so early in the morning to catch the bus, and no longer did students have a specific time to eat.
Yosselin Cuadra, member of the class of 2022, says that she now wakes up “around noon or sometimes later and then I lay in bed for like an hour or two, and then I eat breakfast or brunch if you will…” She continues to say how she does her schoolwork “pretty late” and “pretty quickly.”
Queen Osei, another student graduating in 2022, brings up health aspects of being inside all day and staring at her computer. Similarly, to Cuadra, Queen also wakes up late in the morning but with a headache. She eats breakfast with medicine and most of the time skips over lunch and goes straight to dinner. During her walk through of how her day goes normally, she says, “I end the day with an even worse headache due to the lack of vitamin D and staying in bed all day.”
Staying in bed all day would eventually bring some to question just how productive students are during quarantine. Kaden Robinson, when asked if he feels more productive when doing schoolwork online or in a physical classroom answers, “I definitely feel more productive offline when I’m actually in school. Too many distractions caused by myself and other living with me to have the same level of productivity in online school than I do offline.” Kaden also continued to acknowledge the social aspect to online school during quarantine. “I also just prefer the social environment of being around my friends rather than working in a solitary environment. It makes it much easier to get bored and distracted.”
Queen Osei disagrees with Kaden on the subject. Stating that she believes that she is “more productive doing online school because I’m able to set my own pace schedule. I prefer online school because it’s less taxing on my health and more hands on and rewarding to me.”
The quarantine affected many students’ lives in multiple ways. Daily schedules changed from seven hours in a school building to 24 hours inside a house or apartment. Daily lives have changed from holding a pencil and handing in papers to teachers to typing on a keyboard and sending assignments to teachers digitally.
Lives of students in quarantine have changed drastically. The belief that they will eventually go back to how things once were is not likely.