Returning to “Normal”

With the mask mandate being lifted in Mar. 14 students welcome their first “regular” school year.


   Mar. 12, 2020 the LPS 53 school district announced classes and extracurriculars would be forced to meet virtually until Apr. 5 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Less than one month later, this hold was extended until the 2020-2021 school year with protective mask mandates limiting the amount of people we were truly exposed to. Now, fewer than three years later, the district has lifted all mandates, welcoming students to their first year of normalcy. 

   The question that lurks is: “how will this affect students?” 

  Students who relied on their school lives for peer interaction were found to have poorer mental health during the pandemic than those who didn’t. With access to health care becoming increasingly difficult during this time as well, mental welfare continued to dwindle and caused a need for the way we learn, teach and work to be rearranged. 

   Although the majority of students returned in-person for the 2020-2021 year, I was one of the few who remained virtual, completing the majority of my classes over Zoom. I often found myself with fear-of-missing-out (FOMO) during this time as friends talked about the exciting classes and extracurriculars they had joined. Virtual classes only offered so much social interaction, which made me feel trapped in a box and isolated. 

   According to Ariana Hoet, PHD, in Verywell Health’s article, “Pandemic School Closures Impacted Teen’s Mental Health,” teens “worried about physical health and financial instability due to the effects of COVID-19.” 

      While some may argue the pandemic didn’t have a large impact on student’s mental and physical health, per the CDC, more than a third of high school students reported in 2021that their mental health suffered during the pandemic, with 44% saying they felt sad or hopeless. American culture has adopted the “get over it” mentality that continues to make those struggling have a guilt-complex. 

  Regardless of the statistics, however, there will always be struggles with mental health. Teens needing immediate resources can contact Access Crisis Intervention by calling 888-279-8188 or visit the Counseling tab on the LHS website.