Avery Santos, a rising senior at Middletown High School, said he felt “isolated” because of COVID-19. The pandemic made it difficult to socialize, and Santos said “my mood went down.”
Covid -19 has affected high school students both mentally and physically. Santos said social distancing “caused a barrier between me and my friends.” Schools implemented social distancing as a safety measure, but students said it limited interactions with their friends.
The daily lives of high school students changed dramatically, affecting their education and activities.
“I couldn’t go outside without a mask,” Jaikwon Francis, who is going into his senior year at Kennedy High School in Waterbury, said.
He said the restrictions that came with Covid-19 were “confusing.”
When school districts first took precautions for the global pandemic, many districts switched to online learning. In November, 2021, after vaccinations were available, Gov. Ned Lamont announced the Screen and Stay Initiative. Under the initiative, K-12 students and school staff members identified as close contacts with a known COVID case but who were not fully vaccinated were able to remain in school if they wore masks and did not develop symptoms. Ultimately, more than 80% of Connecticut public school districts participated in the program.
Students and teachers in public schools were initially required to wear masks, but in February 2022, Lamont eliminated the mask mandate at schools and day-care centers, leaving the decision for these locations to be made on the local level.
Students like Santos have had to live with challenges during the pandemic while continuing with their journey to get an education.
Nate Miller is a student at Achievement First Hartford High School.