By Anna Berglas and Ellis Bissonnette
Once again, Nepean High students have joined forces to create positivity within a community. This time, the student council is hosting a minecraft server for students stuck at home. This initiative, as well as many others, is due to the recent events which closed schools until at least April 5 and introduced social distancing into the lives of youth across Ottawa. A recent survey was shared on social media that all Nepean High students were invited to complete, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Compiled are the responses of 62 students who participated.
Instagram proved to be the most popular social media site students were using during self-isolation, with Snapchat following as a close second. Other honourable mentions include TikTok and Twitter.
97 per cent of students are using Netflix as a streaming platform. Disney+ came in second with 28 per cent.
In terms of connecting with peers, 68 per cent are doing so mostly by texting. Other methods include “mostly phone calls” (10 per cent) and “mostly in person” (8 per cent).
The following questions were assessed on a scale of 1 to 5; 1 representing “not at all,” and 5 representing “horribly.” The majority response for the question “How badly do you think this has impacted your education?” was 3 (47 per cent), while the majority response for the question “How badly do you think this has impacted your extracurriculars?” was 5 (40 per cent).
Many students expressed fears about graduating and exams. The popular response (on a scale of 1 to 5) tied at 2 and 3 in regards to how students were feeling during this extended break. However, all students surveyed agreed with the decision (again, on a scale of 1 to 5) to close schools. 52 per cent selected 5, “completely agree.” There were no students who selected 1 or 2, “disagree.”
An anonymous student also commented: “I believe that the school board has taken the correct virus preventative precautions here. Although it may interfere with education, plenty, if not all of coursework is available online. It has been advised to quarantine and social distance, so that’s what should be done.”
Students also had advice to share with their peers.
Grade 11 student Molly Frost wrote: “I think it’s really important to recognize that not all the information about Covid-19 on social media is true. I know that many people—myself included—get flooded with posts giving us the ‘latest updates’ or prevention tips, and although some of this information may be accurate, it’s not in any way guaranteed. We really have to fact check anything we share because misinformation about a topic this serious has the potential to be really dangerous.”
In addition to misinformation, responders have voiced concern about students who continue to go out in large groups. Many posts have been circulating on Instagram, especially about the importance of social distancing and staying at home, demonstrating that there are ways to find enjoyment while also being safe.
As an example, Margot West wrote: “I’ve been doing a lot of exercise and have been going on walks with my family and friends (while maintaining a meter distance with friends)”.
The recent events have put some students in difficult situations. Approximately 73 per cent of survey respondents cancelled travel plans. Gabriel Vera Romero commented: “I will most likely miss another week of school, because my sister is coming back from Ghana and I will be placed on a 2 week quarantine. It sucks but I haven’t seen my sister in almost a year.”
In conclusion, the closing of schools has put strain on the population of Nepean. However, there is a widespread appreciation for this decision, and acknowledgement of what needs to be done. A reminder to all students (and the community!) to wash their hands frequently and stay indoors!