Notre Dame Preparatory students and faculty learn to adjust to online school because of the COVID-19 outbreak but to the cost of their mental health.
They accomplished this by distancing themselves from their friends and peers and losing their in-person, human connections.
Students enrolled at Notre Dame have felt the impact of the online school on their mental health, but do they genuinely know why?
NDP counselor, Lisa McMorrow, said the cause is “not being able to socialize,” and she notices this problem leads to a decline in mental health among students. “There’s a lot of kids that are struggling, they’re anxious, they’re scared about their families. Are they going to get sick? What’s going to happen? And online learning is difficult!” said McMorrow, who understands the impact the current situation has on students and faculty.
Not only has the shift from in-person to online school been difficult for students, but also teachers and staff.
NDP English teacher, Tracy McBride, said, “For everybody, students and teachers alike, one of the biggest hardships has been that lack of connection.” Teachers had difficulty reaching students before the COVID-19 outbreak, but now they feel it is almost impossible to make the personal connections face-to-face. On the topic of last semester, McBride said, “I taught an entire novel [last spring] during distance learning, but I never got to have conversations or sit in a room and talk about it.”
No one knows about how teens have been mentally affected during this time more than teens themselves.
Noticing her personal change, NDP sophomore, Catherin Pipitome, said, “I’ve noticed a difference in my mannerisms and how I behave and interact with people.” b What she describes is not uncommon, and almost describes how every teen has felt and changed. However, unlike many other teens, Pipitome was able to reflect and target a reason for her change. She senses that she “lost a lot of friends during quarantine, and everyone feels that way. It makes you lose yourself when you lose people you’re close to.”
Staying connected with others is of utmost importance at Notre Dame as the students and staff move back on campus in a hybrid schedule. Just being together again is projecting to increase mental health on campus while strengthening personal relationships and connections.