COVID: Where is Westminster Now

Since COVID began in 2020, rules and regulations around it have become much more relaxed, and life seems to mostly have returned to normal.

A study from the John Hopkins Center for Adolescent health reveals that the greatest impact felt by teenagers is a lack of social connection with other teens.

“I think it hit a lot of teenagers hard. COVID hit in a very important time in a teenagers life, where you are transitioning into high school, and you wanna go out with friends, and you wanna learn to drive, and all this stuff, and COVID kinda hindered that,” said PJ McCauley, junior.

Due to schools closing down, the quarantine also affected education, but not as consistently.

“I actually felt like I learned better in a quarantined environment,” said McCauley. 

Others felt differently.

 “I lost hold of my grades for a long time,” said Cole Hillin, freshman.

COVID and quarantine means “mental health has been widely affected,” according to the World Health Organization.

 “a lot of people went through a regression in thinking about who they are, really. It brought people to a point where they were like, ‘okay, who am I?’ It gave people the time to think,” says McCauley.

COVID is still around however, yet it is not as much of a concern for these students.

“I am still sort of worried about it. I think it’s okay to walk around without masks now, but I’m afraid of catching it like I’m afraid of catching the flu,” says Hillin.

“Obviously, if a medical professional is like, ‘hey, you need to do this, you need to quarantine, you need to wear a mask,’ whatever, I’m gonna follow that, because I trust them, but since they’re loading off on the quarantine stuff, I’m not as worried as I was,” PJ articulates.

The aftermath of COVID should still be a point of discussion, such as mental health.

“Talking about COVID in 2022 is something that is not as frequent as it should be, and it’s also a very paranoid subject for people, because they start to realize it really hasn’t gone away, we’ve just learned more about it. And a lot of people just wanna forget about it and pretend it never happened, and not look at the consequences of a literal pandemic,” asserts McCauley.

Students were not the only ones affected by the pandemic, as teaching became incredibly difficult.

“Professionally, my job as a teacher became quite difficult. I had to pivot and change plans, expectations, and methods of teaching. Being in person with masks and dividers, these hindrances made strong relationships with students difficult,” reveals Mrs. Thies, upper school english teacher.

On a more personal note, she tells us that “Socially, I felt very disconnected from people and became even more introverted than I already was. Finally, I did lose a friend to COVID and am still very sad about losing him.”

She agrees that COVID is no longer as great of a threat.

“I am not too concerned about COVID today because most people have built up a defense against it. It will probably be seen as something like the flu in the future,” she believes.

Mrs. Thies does see how COVID has impacted people’s mentality

“I am concerned with how it has affected students. So many assignments were leveled down during COVID that students seem to not be as ready to rise up to meet new challenges, expectations, and levels of rigor as readily as they once were,” she comments.

“I still have a moment of anxiety before entering a building because I think that I need to put a mask on. The aftereffects of COVID will continue to haunt us all,” says Mrs. Thies.