Students crave connections amid COVID

Illustration by E’vah, fifth grade, Highland Elementary School, Abington Township, PA

January 2021 … Healthy NewsWorks has been asking students this school year to share their experiences about living through the pandemic. As one might imagine, the importance of friends, classmates, and teachers is a common theme for young people whose primary interaction with others outside their own family is virtual. They yearn for the conversation, the pick-up basketball game—just being with other people. Here are some selections:

By Siani, 8th grade, Waring Healthy Times

I never understood how much social interaction I experienced at school until the end of the first week of my self-quarantine. I had been trapped in my house with my family for about five days at that point, when my reading and composition class had a Zoom conference. I had done them for other classes so I wasn’t exactly excited for the opportunity. It was just another Zoom lecture.

As it turned out, it wasn’t a lecture, it was a conversation. It was a discussion about our last current events assignment that I didn’t know I desperately needed. The conversation was explosive. Differing opinions flew left and right, people brought their cats to join in the fun, family members popped in and out of the frames, and the controlled chaos felt incredible.

I relished in the opportunity to argue and challenge their opinions. I didn’t even realize how isolated I was feeling until I was able to talk to them in a creative and intellectual setting once again.

By Kenneth, 5th grade, William Rowen Healthy Roar

My life today is boring because I miss going outside and playing with my friends. A year ago we could do that without wearing gloves or an uncomfortable mask or a piece of plastic covering my face. I understand it keeps us safe. I don’t complain so often.

Something I would have never found out about was TikTok, I say this because when we were bored we found that app that kept us cool, and we can express our feelings. Without TikTok I don’t know where the world would be right now.

The thing I miss most is having fun and going outside and going to Sky Zone [Trampoline Park] or Dave & Buster’s. Little things like that make me happy. Since COVID has hit, we are not allowed to do these things because of the risk.                         

By Akirah, 5th grade, William Rowen Healthy Roar 

The memorable moment was when I went to Wildwood. It was fun. I went with my sister, friend, and my friend’s family. I went on this long [amusement park] ride and it was so scary. But my sister and friend thought it was fun and they got on it like a billion times.


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