The United States is hurting students: The United States had a very late and poor response toward the pandemic. As a result, students are now experiencing an uncomfortable situation. "Teachers move a little too fast, time management at home is difficult, and virtual learning is very different," Valerie Cervantes, a freshman said. (Image courtesy of Enrique Galeana)
Maywood Center for Enriched Studies

Opinion: The United States is losing to COVID-19, and students struggle with distance learning

We’re definitely going back to school … but in the United States, not anytime soon. The decision to return to campus is a simple one — most students would love to return, but without proper health conditions, they cannot.

“I really wanted to go to the homecoming dance and [try] cross country,” Cesar Romero, a senior said.

There’s a lot of questions being asked about what the final year will look like for seniors. It was meant to be a big going-away year where they enjoyed the fruits of their labor. Unfortunately, the Class of 2021 will miss out on most of their senior year experience because of the pandemic. 

“I joined the soccer team, but I didn’t get to go,” Valerie Cervantes, a freshman said. “The interaction with teachers in person helps students a lot because they [can] ask questions right away.”

Interactions and in-person activities are a huge part of school, and lacking them is a huge detriment to students’ mental health. It’s evident that students are struggling, and there isn’t much they can do besides stay home and hope for the best. 

A lot of people are concerned with their health. They are putting forth their best effort to get rid of this virus. Unfortunately, there are far too many people that seem to forget that there’s a pandemic going on. Arguments like “it’s not a dangerous virus” or “masks do nothing” are frustrating. It takes no genius to know that it is much better to wear a mask.

On top of that, people are often seen in news coverage gathered in large groups as if the virus wasn’t a thing. Some people seem to believe quarantine is over and the pandemic was something from a couple of months ago. While other countries are fighting against the virus, Americans are still working through it.  

The United States has the most COVID-19 cases and deaths in the world, according to CNN.

According to TIME, the United States was among the countries best suited to deal with the pandemic, yet our “failure of political leadership” explains the nation’s struggle with COVID-19.

TIME lists “a distrust in scientists,” “media and expertise,” and “cultural attitudes about individualities and values placed on life” as the cause of the inadequate response to the pandemic.

It’s easy to fault the American citizens but many of the United States’ elected officials took the viruses lightly. When the president himself downplays the virus, it’s not very surprising that most people would follow his lead. 

It’s irritating, but something almost as frustrating is Zoom. When it comes to people being kicked out of calls, slow wifi, or people being unable to join meetings, there isn’t a better platform than Zoom.

“I think interaction is important, because it helps teachers know how you learn. It makes you feel more comfortable asking people questions,” sophomore Melissa Gonzalez said.

All criticism aside, Zoom does work well. However, the internet isn’t perfect and people don’t want to have to deal with problems like these. They just want to go back to school, because, ironically, that’s their comfort zone. 

“I think since online learning started last year when I was in 10th grade, I had nothing to do, but now that I’m a junior, I feel like it’ll be a little bit harder to work at home. I’ll miss out on our year,” Uriah Rodriguez, a junior, said.

In the last school year, students were a bit dismissive of the reality of the situation, but this semester, everything began to sink in.  

Students almost gave up after being sent home last March — they stopped attending class and school was really chaotic. This year, for the start at least, students will have more technical issues than they’ll have social interaction, and it won’t be fun.

The point is that in school, there are fewer complications. Despite this, there’s still a chance we’ll have to put up with these frustrations for a while all because of the decisions Americans make.

According to TIME, when the United States is compared to countries like Taiwan and New Zealand who quickly closed their borders, or South Korea and Singapore that had an aggressive approach with testing for the virus, the United States left a lot to be desired.

Even its neighbor Canada, although being better suited for it due to its healthcare system, performed much better. They ramped up their testing more quickly than the United States did, according to TIME. The United States isolated the sick the same way the countries mentioned before did. When the president brings up stats that make the United States look better, something isn’t right.