Alienation: The Aftermath

Grace Rivera and Kylee Berg


After two years of isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some have found it difficult to get back into the swing of things, especially when individuals are constantly trying new methods to accomplish daily activities. While some found it enjoyable to indulge in their introverted lives, others found it difficult with the new lifestyle. Members of the Monarch family were using the applications Zoom and Canvas in order to teach and learn during the 2020 through the 2021 school years.

Virginia state legislatures introduced a bill in February of 2021 to launch a return to in school earning for all students K-12; leading to July of 2021 when Newport News Public Schools announced that students were to return to in person education after a year of online school. A few weeks have passed since the first day students and teachers coming returned to school a daily basis from 7:10am until 1:55pm. Staff writers from the Lion’s Roar asked Menchville High School students and teachers how they are adjusting to in-school learning with the new rules and regulations as a result of the still present, COVID-19 virus.

Math teacher Brandon Traner spoke about entering quarantine. Traner stated he “was missing the joy of teaching greatly.” Returning back to in person learning “has brought the joy back to [his] career.”  When asked how he felt regarding the accommodations made for this school year including the new grading policy. Traner explained that the policy  “puts less pressure on [the students].” When  told everyone was returning back to school Traner stated that he wanted the year to be as “normal as possible” and “wasn’t worried about [himself],” however he was “more concerned about [his] students.”  Now that we are back in school, Traner believes that the new procedure of wearing masks and interaction between each other are the most prominent changes. He explains that he is “trying to focus on the positive.”

“I am particularly interested in not leaving the house.” says English teacher Richard Lusk. However, Lusk has purchased a wireless microphone to use for his “classroom performances” and he also has a sound effect machine to “provide feedback at appropriate times,” to keep his students engaged. Lusk said that he prefers giving students “mostly online” assignments; he said that students turning in online assignments keep his desk “much cleaner” but in the reality of school life technology has made students’ work “easier to keep track of.”

A majority of the students that were interviewed report that they are “tired” and have “little to no motivation”.  Most seniors answered that they felt like they had been experiencing ‘senioritis’ after Newport News Public Schools announced students could not return in 2020. On the other hand, other students responded with a more positive attitude, seeing coming back as an opportunity to continue their high school education.

Christian Wennin, Class of ’25, was asked about his feelings before the first day of school as a Freshman after after having his last year of middle school online. He was “very nervous at first, there [were] new people, strange faces, also nervous there [weren’t] friendly teachers but I love all of my teachers.” 

“I was nervous returning to school, but I do like it in person because I feel as though I am being held accountable when I’m doing homework. However I do not like being on the computer, I prefer paper assignments” said Lea Amburgey, Class of ’22.

In a survey where students were asked how they are feeling when it comes to in-person school comments included expressed concern about safety, the frustrations of Canvas, missing the simplicity of virtual school, and preferring other applications instead of Canvas and Zoom.