Letter to the editor, Dec. 1, 2020

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Our new normal

I got up with the sun shining on my face as bright as could be and birds chirping their soft melody. “Grade 11, ready or not, here I come,” I thought to myself.

I got up, got ready, grabbed a quick breakfast and out I was through the door. Grade 11. Wow that’s quick. It felt like yesterday I was in Grade 10.

“It ended to quick,” were the results of the first global lockdown nine months ago.

I was on my way to my first class of the day when I heard the bell ringing. All around me students were rushing to class so their attendance wasn’t affected. But for some reason, I was not. It seems to me I was stuck in my spot. No matter how hard I tried; I couldn’t take another step.

The bell was getting unbearably louder and louder. Just when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, my eyes snapped open to reveal I was in fact in my room, on my bed, instead of school. Turns out, my dream had gotten one thing right. It was the first day of school.

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The start to “The new normal for students.”

Never did I ever think I would be able to learn the fun things students in Grade 11 learn in the same four walls where I spend my whole day— at home. I half-wished my dream was true, so I could go to school to see all the faces I hadn’t seen in the last nine months.

It had gotten to the point it wasn’t right I wasn’t seeing the same faces, five days of the week.

Wise words from a television show I watched growing up: We’re all in this together. Together through the technical difficulties; awkward hellos; how is everyone and, bye, have a great rest of your day; to, having to follow specific protocols so you don’t accidently get infected or infect someone else.

I never realized how exhausting synchronous learning could be. Sitting in front of a screen for almost six hours doing school is actually more tiring then going to school. I wake up exhausted, regardless of the number of hours of sleep I just had. Strained eyes and headaches every couple of days caused by the hours of screen time everyday.

The perk of all this is being able to get a couple extra hours of sleep in. I can sit outside during class and I can even grab a snack whenever I like. Also don’t have to turn on my camera. So, if I’m just not feeling my look of the day, I don’t have to show myself.

Everything is different now, but we have to go with it. The good and the bad.

Despite all the challenges we are facing with mixed emotions, all students should be aware they are very fortunate to be able to learn in an environment that’s not risking their health and safety. Students attending school in person should be aware the whole staff is looking out for all the students and are having them follow all these protocols for their safety. Not to ruin their lives.

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Respecting the two-metre distance and keeping their masks up should be the respect the students should give in return.

As for the students learning from home, the synchronous learners, we should respect the time rules and the assignment hand-in times. The teacher can’t be running after us to get our work done. They have an in-class to handle along side having to keep up with the online call.

It’s upsetting to imagine those who aren’t as fortunate, who don’t have access to devices, and access to the internet. They sometimes rely on school for meals, and their parents rely on schools for child care so they can go to work and provide for the family. As well, for the students at home who are not fortunate, have to struggle with the lack of social interaction they face, which can ultimately affect their mental health.

As we enter this new world of learning, I hope we will be able to identify a safe manner for all students to be able to achieve their education by overcoming what COVID-19 has left for all of us.

Haleema Chaudhry

Cornwall

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