How the After-Effects of COVID are Impacting Students’ Learning in 2023


Edna Wafula

Students working in the State High library’s relaxed environment.

Edna Wafula, Staff Writer

High Representative of the European Union of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, once said thatCovid-19 will reshape our world. We don’t yet know when the crisis will end. But we can be sure by the time it does, our world will look very different.

As of 2023, Covid-19 guidelines are less strict, and life has returned to normal for millions around the world. Despite this, “normal” life is not the same normal as it was before the pandemic. 

Covid has changed lives for so many people like healthcare workers, politicians, older people, and especially students. 

In just three years, Covid-19 has brought so many challenges for all of us to face, but after switching from regular school to virtual, to asynchronous, to masking, and now back to regular school again, students have faced an even greater load of change.

Kate Woodruff, a State High Algebra 1 and IB math teacher, said, “This year I think we’re mostly back to normal. I think what’s tough for kids is how much back to normal we are. I think that could be tough for some kids who have had not normal for the last 2 years to then be expected to be normal again.” 

Freshman Beatriz Braga echoed the same sentiment. “I feel like I am less engaged [in school]. Covid slowed me down school wise, it’s like when you take a break from studying and can’t go back,” Braga said. 

Adjusting to high school in general comes with a lot of challenges and high expectations. The workload becomes greater and every year students get closer to college or the real world after high school. In high school, more things are at stake as students ready themselves for the future. The process is already pretty exhaustive. And now, students are being thrown right back into a regular school, facing the challenges of the loss of instructional time and the challenges of high school itself. 

State High’s 9th grade M-Z counselor, Ms. Maddie Titus, believes that students adjusting back into the classroom environment can trigger a lot of anxiety.

“Capacities are seeing a significant increase in adolescents’ mental health concerns since Covid. We are seeing a lot of anxiety and depression symptoms, and I believe a lot of those manifested from the isolation piece,” Titus said. “I noticed students had to first relearn how to be in a classroom which can be anxiety provoking as it is, just like learning the basics of how to be a student which you learn in elementary school, and then being around all your peers, there’s a lot of challenges that can arise with that.”

Titus went on to explain how anxiety is a main struggle because of the adjustment from a family household to hundreds of students.

 It makes sense students need time to get used to the new environment around them, after years of sudden changes in their surroundings. Even though learning is moving forward, mental health still remains a big problem. 

When asked about the positives from Covid, Woodruff said, “We now flip Algebra 1 and so homework is an edpuzzle video, old homework was a worksheet with like 10 problems, It was a lot more of me sitting in front of the class teaching. So I like the flipped model in that there’s less of me talking and more of you guys practicing.”

Both Woodruff and Titus expressed how Covid has opened more virtual opportunities for students. 

Woodruff now has review sessions on Google Meet and Zoom with her IB students the night before a test. Ms.Titus said, “Covid’s given students that do have mental health challenges or physical disabilities, another platform to excel academically that’s not in person.”

Online resources and virtual options have opened a whole new world of learning. It has provided more resources and improved the classroom environment for both students and teachers. The virtual way of learning has opened our eyes and is a good reminder that Covid’s effects were not all negative.

Woodruff recommends that students do a little bit of work every day so it doesn’t pile up and use study halls wisely. “I think if kids realize that they want to achieve to a certain level or get a certain grade in a class, they should use the resources we have,” states Woodruff.

State High has many resources for students who need extra help with school like the Math Center which is now open the whole school day for students and also the Lions Learning Lounge which is essentially free tutoring after school. 

Even though State High has many resources and new opportunities from Covid, freshman Beatriz Braga says what she needs from teachers is to explain things more and not just assume we’ve learned things in certain grades, she notes that sometimes we just need to go over the basics. 

The pandemic has affected students in many ways physically and mentally, and students are still getting used to school life in 2023. It might take some time but Woodruff believes we’re getting farther away from Covid each year. It’s not about getting students back to how it used to be, it’s about helping students adjust to how it is now,  Woodruff believes it to be, “a new normal”.