Family Forum / By Judy Konitzer: Life during COVID had a profound impact on our youth, and some have willingly shared their experiences with reflections, along with those in last month’s Family Forum. Hopefully the joy arising from lifting the restrictions is not short lived, and our youth will be able to look back on how they successfully stepped up to their challenges.
Bennett Solomon (19) Presidio of Monterey: “I had only lived in Monterey for 9 months when lock down began. We were quarantined off/on for over a year with the last day of in person school March 15, 2020. I was just hitting my stride, but after quarantine started, I lost touch with new friends and never recovered socially. Virtual classes were easy, but I felt like I was being put at a disadvantage and unprepared for my upcoming college courses. We had a regular daily schedule of classes, and attendance was required via Zoom, but the quality of the classes depended on the teacher. A few were good at making it work, while others did not even bother trying. You could tell they had given up. Sports were canceled completely for a year, but during late winter small cohorts were able to do conditioning outside while being masked. It was good to see people, but it was not challenging. In April we were able to have a short swim season, which was a highlight for my senior year, although the bar was very low. I’m old enough to be on my own, and my Mom already worked from home. I really missed being around people with time in the classroom, as I love learning, however, I didn’t learn much this past year. When Monterey and California fully opened on June 15, we unfortunately moved on June 18.”
Bethany Conley (14) Fort Bragg: COVID affected my school experience in a negative way by having to do school online utilizing three to five tabs to do my schoolwork. For example, I had to log into the school website, then open another tab to view my class, open a new tab to view assignments, and then login into a new website to submit school assignments. I had to do this process for all six classes, which included my electives. Once school started, the A/B program that I did attend made turning in assignments easier for at least two days. I did fail a few classes during COVID, so I am now in summer school. I was in soccer and track prior to COVID, but they were not available last year and only three weeks this year before school break. I was old enough to stay home along with my older brother, so my parents did not have to stop working. I was not isolated too much from some friends, because going to church once a week helped me to stay connected with my church friends. However, I was completely isolated from my school friends, because some of my friend’s parents did not want them going to school during A/B days. I did manage to stay positive during COVID through playing the violin and piano.”
Tristan Covington (10) Fort Bliss: (Interview with Mom Danielle), “Tristan played football for the 9-10 Youth group’s El Paso City League. He loved playing until COVID shut it down. He began to play video games with the rest of the kids throughout the neighborhood, and social media was another platform or addictive device he took on. When I was home teleworking with him doing virtual school, I’d plan gym hour and outside time where we would ride our bikes. The neighborhood kids didn’t start going outside together until after fall/ winter of 2020. And even still, the small group of kids were diligent in wearing their masks. Virtual school was hard as he missed his friends, and he didn’t like that he had three different teachers over the course of his 4th grade school year. He also missed being outside and going to his favorite restaurants. When he got to go back to school towards the end of the school year, he was very happy because he was able to see his friends again.”