Warren Hills Students Adjust to COVID-19

Hailey Church, Staff Reporter

The COVID-19 pandemic that has been affecting Warren Hills school operations since March 2020 has not only interfered with student and teachers’ daily lives but also with the academic achievements of Warren Hills students.

For the safety of the High School and Middle School and the surrounding community of  Warren County, the Warren Hills Regional School District decided to give students the choice to enter into full remote learning or hybrid learning during the current 2020-2021 school year. The difference is that hybrid students come into the school for two days out of a five-day week to interact with their peers and teachers.

“I prefer online classes because I like working from the comfort of my home,” said sophomore Bridget Bray, a hybrid student.

“I think everything is fine except the amount of work being assigned,” she said. “I get a lot of assignments  from each of my classes. I find myself stressing out about the work and I’m mentally drained.”

High School Principal Christopher Kavcak has been keeping statistics showing that more students than usual are currently on the school’s Honor Rolls, but more students than usual are also failing classes. A big academic discrepancy therefore exists in the school’s population.

School statistics indicate that, on average, overall grades have declined from last year.

The average grade for Marking Period 1 last year (2019-2020 school year) was 87.5, compared to 85.7 for the same marking period in the current school year. 

A similar decline was noted for Marking Period 2: the average grade was 85.54 last year, compared to 80.93 for this year.

“I think I am doing average,” Bray said. “I have mostly B’s and C’s, which isn’t bad, but it’s not the best. I think stress from school combined with stress from home is influencing that. I personally find it harder [to get into contact with teachers and staff] because of the type of person I am. I don’t like asking for help or going to the office hours because of my anxiety. They do have a lot of options if someone did need to ask for help.” 

A school committee that includes administrators, educators and students is looking into the drop in grades and is seeking possible solutions.

“I prefer online classes because I’m not worried about COVID and I’m happy at home,” said sophomore Natalie Luongo, who has been learning on the all-remote schedule since March 2020.

“I wish I could change how much work they are giving us,” Luongo said. “We’re getting twice the amount we originally would have and I’m tired. You have to be 6 feet apart, but during office hours you can talk one on one with a teacher.

“These times are stressful, so we can’t add too much stress on ourselves. I think the next step is finishing the school year as safely as we can.”

It is hard to tell what all the students are going through. School administrators report that they are trying their very best to help families and students through these times.