Social Distancing in Huntington: How to Learn and Live Better During Distance Learning

Credit: Newsday

Erin Ye, Editor

The statewide shutdown in response to COVID-19 that we currently find ourselves in with no definite end has led to many of us feeling lost. Huntington schools, along with all district-owned facilities, have been temporarily closed to the public since March 13th, which hasn’t been easy for students and teachers alike. Distance learning is well underway, with most bumps in the road already having been smoothed over, but most would agree that adjusting to this new mode of life and being productive while at home has brought its set of challenges. Here are some things that you can do to make your time inside feel normal.

Start with a schedule. It is very easy to forget what day of the week it is when you wake up every day to do the same exact things. Just like during the school year, your days should be uniform in structure, but differ in what makes them exciting. I’ve found that waking up at the same time each day and developing a morning routine has helped me feel more normal during these less-than-normal times. Obviously, I’m not waking up at 6:00 a.m., eating breakfast in ten minutes, and running out the door; in that sense, being able to wake up later and not worrying about time while eating breakfast has improved my quality of life. The first thing I do after eating breakfast is logging onto Google Classroom, because I know I won’t ever start my work otherwise.

…Even though the world seems to be at a pause, the show must go on.

Stay on top of your work. It is extremely helpful to join the live review sessions that are being offered by your teachers on alternating A and B days, even though they aren’t mandatory. Your teachers miss you, and they can absolutely help you if you’re having trouble with the independent nature of remote learning. The sessions are usually only 15-30 minutes, but it’s nice to see everybody’s faces and clear up any confusion. Regents exams were canceled for June on Monday of this week, but AP Exams have been modified to be taken online and as of right now third and fourth quarters are to be combined for a report card grade point average. Due to the high stress levels at the moment, teachers have not been putting grades into Student Portal, although all classwork assignments are graded out of 3 based on effort. Classwork usually does not take more than 30 minutes per class, and you should do it because even though the world seems to be at a pause, the show must go on. 

Do things that you normally enjoy. With sports seasons and clubs out of commission, it can feel as if there’s no way to continue doing what you love, but remember that life will resume sooner or later. Continue training on your own, because sports will come back. Play music, develop a new hobby, learn a language, write articles for the Dispatch (breaking the fourth wall here). The point is that you now have time, and self-motivation can carry you to new heights even if what you do is usually with a group. Spend time with your family and make it count.

Talk to your friends. I’m sure you’re well-acquainted with the likes of FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and Zoom (though security issues have been uncovered). It helps to talk to people you care about, and it reduces the feeling of complete isolation. Set up times to talk, have virtual dates, make up a theme that everyone should adhere to. Sophomores Ally Kustera and Teddi Carnesi put together a Saturday Night Google Meeting reenactment of Romeo and Juliet, and it really felt like we were all in the same room.

That being said, stay home. The greater the percentage of people who self isolate, the faster the United States is estimated to recover from the virus. There are health workers, police officers, and other workers in essential businesses who are risking their lives to keep the rest of us safe. Be mindful of that and make responsible decisions. Reach out to see what you can do to help out. Hospitals need translators, masks, iPads, and other resources. Use your talents to benefit others how you can. You will find a great deal of fulfillment in knowing that you played a role in helping those in need at a critical time.