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County Students Adjust To Life Without Traditional School Routine

Students taking part in a Zoom virtual interview with the Herald on March 31 included [from the top, as seen from Ellie Gatzemyer’s video feed] Katelyn Fuller, Blake Young, Mary Keeley and Lexi Bova. (Screenshot by MARK EVANS/Herald staff)

Teenagers are finding the closing of schools and businesses and “shelter at home” requests by local authorities tedious and frustrating.
Several local high school students took part in a Zoom virtual meeting with the Herald on March 31 to discuss how they are handling the situation since both local high schools closed earlier in the month. They are not expected to reopen until late April at the earliest.
Six Ste. Genevieve High School (SGHS) students, recruited by junior Katelyn Fuller, and four Valle Catholic High School (VCHS) students, recruited by senior Ellie Gatzemeyer, took part in the interview, thus avoiding the potential danger of an in-person meeting of 10 or more people.
The VCHS students were seniors Mary Keeley, Emily Grither, Kayleen Warren and Gatzemeyer, SGHS participants were seniors Jaydn LeClere and Lexi Bova, juniors Blake Young, Fuller and Sydney Eisenbeis and freshman Lindsey Crump.

One things the teens miss is the regular routine of school — as much as they despised it when it was ongoing.
While teachers at both schools have online assignments, the lack of structure is an issue.
“I wake up, I have breakfast, I do homework for maybe 10 minutes, then I play on my phone the rest of the day,” Eisenbeis said.
“I had to get up at 10:30 today for a class and it lasted eight minutes,” Fuller said. “It made no sense.”
Sleeping in is common for the group.
“I get up at 10:30 or 11, depending on the day,” Fuller said. “I try to work and I get distracted and then I take a nap. I never really end up doing anything. That’s my day.”
Filling time between assignments is a challenge.
“I wake up and sit around and watch TV until like 6 and I do all my work then,” Young said. “That’s my day.”
“I spend the day doing work in one of my classes,”  Warren said. “I spend almost all day on that.”
Some of the students have bigger workloads than others.
“I’m definitely getting a lot more work than I would be getting if I was in the classroom,” Warren said. “I’m taking a lot of classes through Valle that are dual credit.”
“I have online classes that are so much harder than I ever would have imagined,” Bova said. “They’re confusing. I always think I’m ahead when I’m behind and think I’m behind when I’m ahead. I can’t really keep up with it.
“I think one of the biggest challenges is there are teachers that post things at 2 p.m., after I think I’m done. And they’ll post things for the entire week, and I’ll feel overloaded, and it gets really confusing, and I get sad sometimes.”
Although most of the teens said they disliked their daily school routines at the time, there is much of it they now miss.
“I miss everything. I miss my friends, I miss getting out of the house, and not being near my family,” Eisenbeis said. “I miss working out at the gym and not my bedroom. I miss eating at restaurants and not my car or my kitchen table. I miss everything.”
“I agree with Syd,” Fuller said. “I used to do so many different things; I could do all kinds of stuff. Now, I just sit at home all day. I used to go see my boyfriend all the time, and now I can’t see him.
“I went to school when I could actually focus and get my work done. I was in a classroom. I can’t focus well at home. So everything about my old routine I used to hate it. I hated going to school, but now I realize it was actually good for me. I enjoyed it then.”
Online learning isn’t the same, some said.
“I really miss my teachers,” Bova said. “I didn’t realize I would, but I miss that one-on-one time with them.
“I feel awkward, e-mailing them questions. It doesn’t come off the same and you can’t keep asking sub-questions if you still don’t understand it. And, I miss having set class times for each class.
“I miss my friends and my peer groups and people I talk to at school, but didn’t talk to out of school,” Bova said. “I oddly miss them — people who would sit at my table in class.”

See complete story in the April 8 edition of the Herald.