Over three years ago, the pandemic upended our lives. Yet we still haven’t had a collective reckoning about what we went through.
BY EDITORIAL BOARD
The pandemic is said to be over. Most students groan at the topic. But the fact remains that the effects of the pandemic are far from gone. In the span of time during which the pandemic raged, six graduating classes have been affected by the pandemic closures or policies while they attended UAHS — the class of 2020 had their high school experience cut short in 2020, and the mask mandate ended when members of the class of 2025 were freshmen. For current freshman, this is the first fully “normal” year since 5th grade. The impacts of these disruptions are difficult to overstate; no student, teacher or family has gone unaffected.
All of which is not to say that the district’s closures and mandates were poor decisions. To the contrary, the district acted in the interest of student and staff health based on the knowledge available at the time. Rather, we point out the effects of the pandemic to call on the administration to provide additional resources to students post-pandemic.
Given the mental health toll of the pandemic, UA Schools and UAHS administrators should expand access to mental health resources. Further, administrators should draft guidelines for teachers to deal with learning loss, and reaffirm their commitment to office hours and subject area labs that allow students to reinforce and supplement their learning outside of the classroom, now more than ever. Individual teachers and departments, meanwhile, should continue to monitor and address pandemic-induced gaps in learning.
We also call on the entire UAHS community — students, parents and teachers alike — to pause to reflect on our various pandemic experiences. After major events, a collective reckoning is often said to take place. Yet with the pandemic, many of us seem to be content to continue with life as usual. While it’s natural to want to put the pandemic behind us — out of sight and out of mind — community reflection is the first step toward healing.