How do Seniors Feel About Socially-Distanced Learning?

Jenna Skanberg, Staff Writer

Students had a dramatic change in their routine in the past year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, school has been operating remotely (or semi-remotely) since last March – which most students would agree is challenging and unusual. This arrangement is especially disappointing for the students in their final year of high school. As the school year comes to a close, these students have had plenty of time to reflect on losing their senior year to the pandemic. A group seniors were surveyed to gauge their feelings about spending their last year of high school remote and socially distanced.


Grades and Attendance: 

TPHS has been operating on a remote schedule for most of the 2020-2021 school year. This means that students have the option of either staying learning at home and online or attending school in-person twice a week. In the small survey group, 73.7% of seniors said that they have remained remote the entire year. 15.8% of seniors go to in-person school regularly, and 10.5% have gone to school a couple times.


Of the students surveyed, 31.6% stated that their grades have been worse this year than usual. This can be attributed to the fact that 47.4% of students often find it hard to stay motivated at this time, especially if they remained at home. The seniors stated a few factors leading to distraction and loss of motivation; internet connection, family issues, and work overload were the most common issues at play. In general, remote learning leads to more distractions for many students, and this seems to have impacted grades.               

On the other hand, 31.6% of students surveyed said that their grades have been better than usual. These students claim to be less distracted in their home environment and have been benefited by having more time to do work, but this takes a lot of individualized focus to pull off. 


Social Impact:

The senior year of high school usually contains fun social events, but with pandemic still in full effect, much of the typical senior experience has been compromised. Understandably, most seniors reported that they were disappointed about missing out on this experience. Homecoming, prom, and fields trips are among the most significant events that the students wish they didn’t have to miss.

Thankfully, the TPHS has been working hard to provide students a spectacular finale to their senior year. In the weeks since data was collected for this article, the school approved multiple events for the end of May. These events include: the annual senior cookout on May 13th, Prom on May 26th, and a drive-through graduation on May 19th. Each of these events will need to have special guidelines, such as capacity limits and mask requirements, but nevertheless, they will honor the traditions that make a senior year memorable. Students interested in more details about any senior events can find them on the school website.


Room for Improvement:

The students shared their struggles with remote learning, and they had some areas where they wanted to see improvements. Many of the students are frustrated with the workload. They feel as though the amount of homework has doubled, and with the added distractions of being at home, many people feel like it is impossible to get all of their work done. In addition, the seniors tend to feel like their teachers are not sympathetic toward their situation. Many students are facing difficult situations outside of school, and they wished that the school were more forgiving of their inability to complete work. It can be assumed that these feelings are only amplified by the social distance from the school – which makes communication extremely difficult. In the last weeks of school, the seniors will, hopefully, find a way to resolve their struggles and make the last year of high school memorable and pleasant.

To help alleviate these struggles, many seniors have found communicating with teachers makes all the difference.  They certainly care, but we all seem to be wrapped up in a whirlwind of the pandemic!