Editorial: A Call for Understanding

We at The Record are extremely excited for our return to print after a year-and-a-half-long hiatus. Our last print issue, on March 5, 2020, included the article “Seasonal Flu Hits Campus Hard”, in which we reported on the comparison between seasonal flu deaths in the United States (16,000 at the time) and deaths from COVID-19 (9). None of us could have predicted the tumult and tragedy the pandemic would ultimately cause. While COVID-19 has largely defined The Record since March of 2020, for us, this return to print officially marks the beginning of a new era. Now, although we wear masks and undergo COVID-19 testing, we are allowed to hold the newspaper in our hands again.

We are tremendously grateful for the end of many pandemic restrictions such as dining dividers and social distancing. However, we want to address the recent rise in students’ stress levels, in part due to the sudden return to pre-pandemic routines. We should not forget the accommodations that hybrid learning and relaxed co-curricular commitments provided. Though we are only three weeks into this school year, it is clear that our workloads are becoming unsustainable. As proctors, classmates, friends, and teammates, we both experience and hear first-hand of the astronomical rise in students’ stress levels. The rigor of school life has become unbearable for many, especially Seniors, who have college applications due within the next few months.

While the school took many measures to accommodate for extra pressure and stress caused by the pandemic last year, this year we feel that protections for students’ mental health have been lacking. Where there were department weeks last year that minimized homework and classes, this year we have the return of Saturday classes, as well as pre-pandemic game days and performances. Obviously, we are lucky to live in this little bubble of northwestern Connecticut, where the realities of COVID-19 can largely fade into the background. However, we cannot ignore the fact that there is still a global pandemic raging around us, creating an added layer of pressure for all members of the community.

We are grateful for all the administration has done to facilitate our gradual return to normal school life, but we would like to ask them to empathize with the stress of juggling academics, relationships, residential life, extracurriculars, college applications, living away from home, and a global pandemic. As students, we are living with an unsustainable burden on our shoulders, a problem which we feel needs to be addressed immediately.