Pandemic 'made it harder to learn;' area student reflect on school during COVID-19

·3 min read
Audience members and students stand for the national anthem during the Macomb High School commencement ceremony held May 22, 2022. Area high school students spoke to the McDonough County Voice about their school experience during the pandemic.
Audience members and students stand for the national anthem during the Macomb High School commencement ceremony held May 22, 2022. Area high school students spoke to the McDonough County Voice about their school experience during the pandemic.

MACOMB — The pandemic brought a disconnect between students, said Kylie Norris, a senior in the fall at Bushnell-Prairie City High School.

There was a lack of participation with students, and knowing what the other students were doing, she said.

“Some teachers required online, some didn't, and some students didn't do anything because their grades were not affected by the assignments,” Norris said. “I don't think that it was really, really bad, but some classes, especially with math, that set us behind. This made it harder to learn.”

Makayla Sash, who graduated this year from Macomb High School, had similar feelings concerning this issue.

“I think it was restricted how much the teachers are willing to let us learn. They gave us less stuff to learn because I feel like they were wanting to hold back from putting all the information into freshmen students at once, so they did it for everyone. I feel like I could have learned more if they hadn't held back.”

Jake Hobson, a junior in the fall at Macomb High School said the pandemic didn't have too much impact on him.

“It hasn't really, I haven't been thinking about it too much," he said. "I just tried to get through it.”

He did think that being online, and not able to talk with peers and classmates as much, had much affect on the way he learned.

“It was kind of weird seeing the online classes, very different than what I've been through,” Hobson said. “Sitting in front of the computer instead of in the classroom was different.”

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Norris, Sash, and Hobson all participate in extra curricular activities, such as sports or band, and all plan to attend college.

“One time we were quarantined for volleyball. Having to wear masks during sports was hard. We had to clean the balls every so often and were only allowed two guests per player to attend games,” Norris said.

According to a recent study done by Brown Center, there was a 16% decline in immediate transitions to a two-year college, and 6% to a four year university. It was suggested that the decline could signal a reduction in future college credentials, given that more students graduated during the pandemic. Due to the pandemic, a lot of colleges are not requiring the two main standardized tests: the ACT and the SAT for entry.

“I want to go to college and do something medical I think, not totally sure on the specific thing. I've been looking at a few colleges in the area,” Norris said.

“I want to be a band teacher and I think that's the main thing I want to be now since the pandemic. There's nothing big you missed out in in band, but classes for other careers I missed out on. So, being a band teacher is what best fits me,” Sash said.

Sash said she had thought about careers in architecture, business and nursing prior to the pandemic.

“I'm probably going to go to college and do something in finance. I would also like to try out some real estate investing to see how that goes,” Hobson said.

“I would say always put in effort to your work, even if you're stressed out about other things. Don't let the pandemic or other things affect your education. You should always put in 100% because your education and what you're going to do for your career matters,” Sash said.

This article originally appeared on The McDonough County Voice: Macomb, Bushnell students reflect on school during COVID-19 pandemic