Survey Shows How School Closing Has Affected Students

Kaitlyn Cook

Santa Fe High closed on March 13, first for spring break and then due to COVID-19. Before the closing, it is safe to say that neither students nor staff realized how serious the pandemic was, and therefore didn’t expect much to happen in New Mexico. They had no expectation that they wouldn’t be returning to school for the rest of the school year.

Demon Tattler conducted an anonymous survey of 290 students to find out how this has affected students. The results are shown here in a slideshow of images. (The responses ranged from “Strongly Disagree [1] to Strongly Agree [5].)

So long, physical school

Over 39 percent said that they believe students took being able to go to school for granted.

One student said, “[I feel] regretful for taking high school for granted and upset because I can no longer see certain friends before college comes around.”

However, not all students agree. One stated, ”As I did not feel there was a strong sense of community at school and thus did not feel like part of the community, I am not disappointed that I will lack a proper classroom setting for the rest of the school year.”

Another stated, “I would say that I didn’t like school, but this made me realize how lucky I am to go to school and have my education.”

History teacher Ms. Tullman-Kaltenbach stressed the need to adapt: “Instead of clinging to ‘the way it was,’ we all need to be creative and willing to change so that we can get to a much better ´this is how it’s going to be for a while’.”


Reactions to distance learning

More than 62 percent of students feel that online school is confusing and that there is too much work to be done. Nearly 57 percent said that the WiFi speed/connection was a problem with online school.

“It wouldn’t be so bad if the teachers made it easier to understand the assignments,” said one student. “Additionally, the teachers link us to too many other websites.”

However, some students feel doing online school is better for them because they faced a lot of problems while going to school physically.

“I was feeling excited about not being at school anymore because I had a lot of anxieties facing school, but now that I am at home I feel more secure and I don’t get anxious anymore,” said one student. “I don’t have any stress anymore.”

Another said, “I think it’s also really interesting to see how the school handles distance learning, and I think it’s a good learning experience for everyone.”

A look at precautions

The closing of public facilities such as retail stores and schools has majorly affected over 8 percent of students. However, most students neither agreed nor disagreed that the precautions taken at each government level were the right precautions in facing the pandemic.


How does this affect seniors?

Seniors at SFHS and across the country have been deeply affected in that they are unable to walk across the stage at graduation, and most proms have been canceled. Their senior year has essentially been canceled due to the coronavirus.

“I am heartbroken about the rest of the school year [being] canceled,” said one student. “As a senior, this was supposed to be the best time of my life before I started a new chapter, and now all of that is gone.”

“I am truly sad for this is the senior year that I worked so hard for, just to be let down by missing all the perks at the end of my high school career [despite] being an involved, dedicated student like many of my peers.”

However, this student saw some positives in the situation: “I was pretty upset at first. But now I have the time to actually get my work done without distractions. I can focus on my physical and mental health. [But] I wish that we could’ve graduated across the stage in May.”

(For the Class of 2020, Santa Fe Public Schools will hold “on-wheels” graduation ceremonies in June. Seniors will line up in cars to receive their diplomas.)


Day-to-day struggles

A majority of students reported that their families have been experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic.

Many reported that the lack of a structured work day and regular schedule is challenging.

“The loss of daily routine is negatively impacting my mental health but I understand that it is for the best,” one student said.

Another stated, “[The closure] is needed, but it shows how much a routine is needed for most people. It shows how much people took physical school for granted.”

One said, “I feel like a part of me that I’ve relied on for 9 years has been stolen and then someone stabbed me where it once was. In other words, it sucks.”

Another said, “If your life matters, everyone’s life matters. We have to stick together.”