Students Facing Hard Time Socializing After 2 Years of Social Distancing

As school campuses reopen after two years, students are having a hard time adjusting to a routine. Experts believe it would take at least six months time for children to get used to the daily drill of waking up, eating breakfast, reaching school on time. The basics of a daily routine were missing for most of the students for the past two years as schools had shifted to the online mode.

Students are also having a hard time socializing, especially the younger kids. With constant talk about the pandemic, kids are now more scared to go outside. Students from junior to senior sections, everyone will have to put in an effort in socializing after two years of ‘social distancing. Teachers have seen a drop in communication skills or even sportsmanship among kids.

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The students post the reopening have struggled extensively in terms of socialization, says Pallavi Jain, Academic Coordinator, MRG School, Rohini. “The pandemic has left an everlasting impact on the mental health which indeed will take time to return to the social norm. Online learning has hampered the social skills of the students. They now to some extent are facing challenges talking and sharing their heart out with their peers and adults,” says Jain.

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Things will take three to six months to normalize and students will have to put in a lot of effort, says Mumbai-based career counselor Swati Salunkhe. “Now getting back wherein you have to wake up at six in the morning, get ready and go to school, there is a resistance for this,” she says.

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Going back to school also means getting used to writing practice, sitting straight in class for hours at stretch – which could be taxing at first, said Salukhe.

While a return to school is welcomed happily by many students, others are still anxious and frightened, explains Raji Nair, teacher, Pacific World School.

“Two years of house arrest has not only made the children feel isolated and lonely but also stressed. With nobody at home to interact with, children have spent their time either watching television, using laptops, or playing video games. This practice has made them dull and inactive. They find it difficult to interact with teachers and their peer groups. Some students are finding it hard to mingle or even make basic conversation,” adds Nair.

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As compared to pre-pandemic times, when students were willing, enthusiastic, and ready to take part in activities, they are low and underconfident now, adds Nair.

Senior Wings More Focused on Board Preparations

As compared to younger kids, those in the senior wing are happier to be back and are more focused on clearing doubts and preparing themselves for the upcoming boards.

“Being on campus reduces my screen time. I was starting to get headaches from too much time on my iPad constantly using it for meetings and classwork. Inconveniences such as power going out or other technical issues don’t exist in offline schools,” says Arisht, Grade 10 student, Canadian International School, Bangalore.

Being offline just makes school easier, less stressful, and better for the student’s mental health for students as well as teachers compared to online. “We aren’t as reliant on technology as we were and I feel like that’s a great thing,” Arisht added.

Meanwhile, some students are finding it difficult to socialize while some feel the hybrid mode of education has divided them from their friends. “I had a difficult time to get back to normal as an introvert personality I became comfortable in my surroundings but now I am trying to indulge and lead a normal life,” explains Sanya Malhotra, a class 12 student of MRG School Rohini.

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“I do feel excited to go to school, but at the same, I feel like getting back home when I reach school as many of my friends are not around,” says Naira Agarwal, student of Pacific World School. “When it used to be online classes, I could talk to all my friends, but in school, I am not able to speak much. I have to wear a mask at all times. I only see a few children in my class, the rest are still taking online classes,” adds Naira.

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