We’re back at school! Yay?

Liam Gaumont, Staff Writer

It is October of 2021. Just one year ago at this time, we were learning and completing work entirely online. Before 2020, it would blow our minds to even think of that, much less experience it. That new system of virtual learning was the first change to our school systems for decades. And now we’re back.

When first hearing those words in March of 2020, “No school for 2 weeks,” everyone’s first reaction was initial joy. Then 2 weeks went by and we’re still home. Then 4 weeks. Then 4 months. All of a sudden we are dreading the feeling of working from home and not going into school, a sentence I never thought I’d even say. In March of 2021, we, as Dulaney, weren’t even back to “normal” school. That’s absolutely crazy if you truly think about it. I mean for over ten years, we would all wake up, get on the bus, and go to school. Some people may not get on the bus, but the routines are around the same. Now we have gone over 12 months without, some of us, not even stepping foot into our high school. We’re at October of 2021, completely back to school like nothing ever happened. Does that sound odd to you?

Mental health has been a rising issue for teens across America, and Covid has only made it higher. 2 in 5 adolescents experience a mental health problem, with up to 50% of those cases coming before the age of 20. So it’s no question that the mental health of the students at Dulaney High has gotten worse, especially after returning back to school. Mental health was addressed during the beginning of our virtual learning, but why wasn’t it when we got back? In my opinion, it’s hard to go from learning in a familiar environment (at home), with easier homework, to a less familiar environment (at school), with a lot more homework. I do, however, feel that this was the only option. Going hybrid last year was a good way to try to “ease” back into it, but I still feel like this year was going from 0 to 100. In this quick transition period from virtual to in-person, mental health could have been advocated for.

The mental health of the current Sophomores is different than for everyone else, meaning their stressors and reasons for mental health are unique. Their high school experience started as a Sophomore, after not even stepping foot into Dulaney as a freshman. For the freshman last year, they had to spend almost the entire year at home, and when they were in school, it was an odd and unnatural experience. When I was a freshman, it was nice to spend at least half of my freshman year in school. To spend your entire first high school year online and then to experience your first “in-person” school year as a Sophomore is an extremely hard task. I think we need to address this change-in-pace for students and the overall mental health of each student. After quarantine, a study from Public Health showed that “almost 17% more teenagers experienced an increase of depression.” That percentage still stands, even after returning to school. At Dulaney, it wouldn’t surprise me if the students are experiencing more stress and depression than they experienced last year. Obviously, this isn’t true for every student, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the vast majority of students are experiencing this. 

My point is, do not forget about the mental health of Dulaney’s students after coming back in-person. The stress and depression doesn’t just disappear. It is an issue in America as a whole and can very well be a rising issue in our very own high school, we just may not know it.