Back On Track

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Traditional in-person learning improves the well-being of Jericho students. (Photo courtesy of JerEcho)

Now that Jericho High School has completed a full semester of traditional in-person learning, students and faculty report improvement in students’ learning and overall well-being.

There were various adjustments to be made for students who lost study habits during last year’s hybrid and remote learning.  Freshman Haley S. had to be more conscious of what was happening in class. “It’s been harder to retain information because I barely learned online, and then coming back in person was very different. I had to readjust by focusing more,” she said.

For many students, the pandemic took away the motivation students once had prior to Jericho’s lockdown in March of 2020. According to Jericho High School’s social worker, Mr. Velez, students who were once diligent and hard-working, began to lose the sense of motivation they once possessed. Mr. Velez said, “People who were typically very good students had a tough time getting the motivation to perform the way that they used to.”

Freshman Rachel W. believes that last year’s learning situation was extremely anxiety-provoking for many reasons such as lack of education, isolation, and the fear of asking questions in a virtual meeting in front of the whole class. “I felt like I didn’t have a strong connection with teachers. If I had a question, I wouldn’t ask because I didn’t want to be judged,” she said.

The freedom of seeing people was revoked. In a typical, non-COVID school year, a school is a place of socialization that was taken away.  “Staring at a screen doing school is the same thing as staring at the screen and doing nothing. School should be a place of socialization,” Rachel W. said.

Freshman Haley S. believes that returning to a full in-person learning environment has heavily improved her academic habits and her grades. “Returning to school has made it easier to learn through the use of hands-on activities as well as limiting my distractions,” she said.

“My grades and knowledge of material have also improved,” she added.

Freshman Rachel W. agrees that returning to school has been beneficial as well. “ I didn’t have the motivation to pay attention to the computer since nothing good came out of it. When we went into school and my social skills were benefiting, I felt as if I should pay attention in school and not take it for granted,” she said.

“My grades have improved since I have been more alert in class when we started in person learning,” she added.

The struggle to keep up with grades academically was something that impacted students heavily throughout the 2020-2021 school year, and this made many students worry. Guidance counselor Ms. Moriarity said, “Kids are struggling academically and that is causing them to be very stressed about their future.”

Guidance counselor Ms. Moriarty developed a set of strategies to help students relieve stress.

Ms. Moriarty suggests students refer to the stress management toolbox hanging in her office. Some of the toolbox items that provide immediate relief are splashing water on your face, counting to 10 (10 times), and taking a walk. Included in her toolbox are also practices that could be used daily, such as moving your body, belly breathing, taking a digital detox, securing some downtime, smiling and laughing, and practicing gratitude.

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