The Quarantined School Experience


Kasen Christensen

In 2020, the world was struck with one of the most damaging blows to developmental progression of the modern era. The raging COVID-19 pandemic forced the world into a near total stasis. Governments struggled to kindle the spluttering flames of society with aggressive lockdown measures and a desperate enforcement of safety guidelines. Businesses were closing, people retreated to their homes, and schools were forced to move to an online format.

It has now been 2 years since the beginning of the devastating pandemic. Things are slowly returning to normal as people have begun to adjust to this new way of life. One particularly massive adjustment has been the return of in-person schooling. Students are finally able to get the support and educational resources that they simply could not access during online schooling. However, despite the reinstitution of in-person school, many students have still found themselves trying to keep up with their education from home. 

Unlike previous years, distance learning in 2022 is extremely independent with very little structure. With most students having already made their physical return to campuses, many schools, including LHS, no longer offer a streamlined, digital classroom option. Zoom meetings, Google Meets, and other video lessons have all been removed from teacher’s schedules. 

So what happens when a student has to stay home for an extended period of time? Collin MacLeod, a senior at Lincoln High School, gave an inside report on the status of his educational experience while at home. “I am having a hard time staying motivated and keeping up with the material that other students are learning directly from the teacher,”  MacLeod said. “It is nice to be able to work at my own pace though.” MacLeod has been out of school for just over 4 weeks, courtesy of the extremely contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19. He told ZebraTales that, while staying at home has its perks, he hopes to be back in class soon where he can find the support he needs to be successful. 

Many students have been put in similar situations to MacLeod in which they are forced to complete their school work from home for extended periods of time. Another student (who wished to remain anonymous) shared their own experience with the current status of distance learning. After being exposed to COVID-19, the student was sent home for a standard-length quarantine. “I was quarantined for a few days until I was able to get a negative test result” the student said, referencing a policy that allows students to return to school after getting a negative Covid test. Although some situations (like MacLeod’s) are more complicated, many instances where a student is sent home due to contact with the virus can be quickly wrapped up with proof of a negative test result.

Being able to get back to class as quickly as possible is very important for both the student’s learning experience and the teacher’s ability to guide and assist the student. “Even though I was only gone for a few days,” the anonymous student said, “I already kind of started to fall behind in some classes, so I was glad when I got my test back negative.” 

Upon request, Lincoln High School does offer access to independent study packets that can be completed while a student is out, but the student is still responsible for managing their time and energy to complete the collection of assignments.