Education all around the world has been impacted by the spread of COVID-19. Some may argue that online schooling has brought new skills to the system, while some discuss the social, economical, and alienation sides of it.
While I was working as a columnist for the Ziarul Teleormanul in Alexandria, Romania, I often thought about how students see these transitions and how they experienced the pandemic situation. It is clear from the findings that online schooling was not their favorite method of learning and preparing for the most important exam of high school. Moreover, after I wrote this article, I had an entire agenda on that specific exam, interviewing students and understanding their emotions and extremely different experiences and opinions.
The article below is the English version (translated by me) of the Romanian article that I wrote on this topic. At the end of it, there is the original version as well.
The consequences of the pandemic were felt in the Senior year of high school
Today is the penultimate day of high school for the Senior year students. So, to better understand their school experience during the pandemic, three students from Teleorman from different high schools offered to briefly describe the consequences of the pandemic on the conduct of the most important year of high school.
"From my point of view, COVID-19 is a virus that has influenced the population both professionally and personally, but which has brought a lot of suffering through the loss of loved ones from the families of those infected", says Denisa C., a graduate of the National College "Al. I. Cuza" in Alexandria in the Mathematics-Computer Science profile, being the only one of the interviewees who was vaccinated.
On the other hand, Maria A., a graduate of the human profile of the "Alexandru Ghica" Theoretical High School in the same city, claims that, at first, she was
"very panicked by what I heard on TV. I didn't know what to think; whether it's real or not. Even now I don't know what to think. It exists, but it is not as dangerous as it is publicized".
Contrary to the opinions of the two graduates, an anonymous source of the same age from the "Marin Preda" Theoretical High School in Turnu Magurele, considers that, although it is dangerous, "it cannot be transmitted so easily".
Regarding the efficiency of online schooling, graduates have different opinions. Denisa C. suggests that the changes were major in the context of education, and the teaching process was hampered by frequent technical difficulties, although,
"on the one hand, we can say that it helped us to visualize information much better in certain disciplines, and on the other hand, in other disciplines, they have become an annoyance, because no matter how much we tried to transmit or receive the information through photographs, the unfolding has never been like the physical one".
She also argues that the level of concentration is lower because "the parents start talking around the house or the puppy is barking". Both Denisa C. and the anonymous student claim that they had more time to study the subjects for the Baccalaureate. Instead, Maria A. says that "for the most part, I had the same time to study the subjects for the Baccalaureate, except for the extended holidays".
Given the experience of physical school during the pandemic, all graduates believe they have been sufficiently informed about the prevention measures of SARS-CoV-2. Also, during the classes, informative lessons were held.
"The biology teacher informed us about the scientific aspects of the virus, but the other professors have also brought to our attention the danger to which we can be exposed if we do not comply with the prevention measures", says Denisa C.
"During physical school, we had several lessons in terms of limiting the spread of SARS-CoV-2, which were helpful", says Maria A.