The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

What were the Positive Impacts of the Pandemic?

Oliver Douliery
A teacher manages her classroom remotely during lockdown in Arlington, Virginia

Covid was a long, difficult journey for most people over these past two years, but some have managed to find a light within the darkness. 

Between the long-period isolation, stress, and anxiety over contracting the virus, distance learning, or any other disheartening things that so many have gone through, saying the pandemic has been difficult would be an understatement. That said, though, people have discovered positive outcomes from their time in lockdown as well. 

According to Greater Good Magazine, out of 1,200 respondents from a New Zealand study, about two-thirds have found positive takeaways from the pandemic. Similar trends can be found within our own communities. Many students and teachers at Woodside have taken Covid as an opportunity to connect with their families, form better habits and goals, and find a new sense of thankfulness for the things they care about. 

One thing that grew out of the pandemic was a habit of regular check-ins with family and friends,” Woodside Administrative Vice Principal Wendy Porter said. “For example, I now talk with my parents weekly for extended periods and feel deep gratitude for the time to connect with them as well as others.” 

Distance learning became a challenging obstacle for many students, especially for elementary schoolers who didn’t have the advantage of real school experiences, or students transitioning to new schools. Families supporting each other as kids navigated online school was also a strong bonding point for many. 

Since their very first day of school, I was able to assist my twin daughters with distance learning and be there with them in their kindergarten classes,” Special Education Teacher Jason Llantero said. “I was so happy to eat lunch with them and share their daily experiences.”

Outside of distance learning, with space from the usual daily activities that were no longer available through the more dire parts of the pandemic, many people managed to form valuable habits and hobbies.

I started running, cycling, lifting weights, and trying to manage my nutrition daily,” Woodside sophomore Dominic Barty said. 

Newly found spare time became a great opportunity for students, as it allowed many to discover and pursue their interests. 

I had a lot more free time to learn and practice coding,” Woodside senior Kondrad Kapusta said.

A sometimes drastic change in lifestyle and general perspective has caused some people to begin reconsidering their values and priorities. Time away from the things people care about has allowed many to realize what was most important to them, and what was worth letting go of. 

“I think it forced me to value the relationships I have, and it made me question who I really wanted to be hanging around,” Woodside junior Emma Dunlavey said. “I lost a lot of friendships, but I realized that those weren’t relationships that either of us wanted to work on and make the effort for. My closest friends and I had to navigate talking online, finding outdoor places to hang out, and just being able to adapt our activities to the new environment, and I ultimately think it’s brought me closer to them. I’ve never had such healthy relationships before.”

With evaluating priorities came an influx of thoughtfulness and gratitude. 

Having to stay indoors for most of the day reminded me of how much I took for granted: hanging out with friends, seeing my relatives, and going to school normally,” Woodside Junior Clara Chiu said. “Now I feel more appreciative of every moment I can spend with friends and family.”

In addition to discovering the value of strong relationships, many people have also come to better appreciate and prioritize their own physical health. According to The BMJ, many people have come to better understand the importance of physical health, and have become much more conscious of the prevention of diseases. 

While seeing the brighter side of the pandemic is often difficult, it remains true that Covid has offered many positive opportunities and fresh perspectives. Realizing how much we valued what was lost during lockdown has made the slow integration back into the real world all the more exciting and valuable. 

While I wouldn’t want to return to a forced shutdown and remote teaching and learning, the pandemic did give me a chance to hit a ‘reset’ button in some ways,” Woodside Principal Karen van Putten said. “[My daughter and I] both had to learn to ‘do school’ differently and creatively, and I think that’s the biggest reminder for me: let’s not simply go back to ‘doing school’ the way we used to pre-pandemic. Whenever feasible, let’s give kids of all ages lessons and challenges that are relevant, meaningful, and allow for a genuine sense of accomplishment.”

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