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A closer look at mental health in quarantine

Photo by Lily ’22

As quarantine persists with no end in sight, I find myself becoming accustomed to life at home. I have mastered getting ready in under five minutes for my Zoom classes and I am on a first-name basis with my local Postmates driver. However, this new routine is impacting my physical health and mental health severely. This year’s schedule change is negatively impacting students’ mental and physical health and should be revised.

Last March, when Californians were advised to stay at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and Marlborough moved online, our classes were shortened from 70 minutes to 45 minutes. This change was made to help students adapt to the significant change – virtual learning. Now, not much has changed as we are still advised to stay at home, and are still virtually learning. However, our school schedule has changed to 65-minute classes.

Just because this is our second semester of online learning does not mean that we have fully adapted. We would still like to be afforded the same opportunities and luxuries that we were last March. Last year’s shortened schedule allowed me to get outside and improve my mental health in such a bizarre time. Now, I am at my desk from 8:30 am to 10:45 pm almost every school day because of classes and homework. It is almost impossible for me to step away from my computer to do things like getting outside, exercising, eating, or even checking in with my family. This is not healthy. Students should not have to pick between succeeding in school and bettering their mental health.

Marlborough should adjust the schedule to incorporate shorter classes, longer flex times, and long lunch breaks. With shorter classes, students would have more time to work on their mental and physical health by stepping away from their computers during the day. I believe that 45-minute classes would give students more free time and also be a sufficient amount of time for teachers to give a lesson.

When we were on campus, long long ago, we had natural breaks throughout the day. Our passing periods allowed us to get up and stretch our legs and community time was an opportunity to socialize and relax. Now, we do not have that same luxury. Instead, our passing periods are spent searching for the next zoom link and our community times are less social and relaxing. This year’s schedule has us spending an absurd amount of time in front of the computer which, according to a research study from John Hopkins Medicine, is linked to depression, headaches, and many other health problems. As virtual learning prevails, with no return date in sight, Marlborough should consider revising the schedule to accommodate students’ mental and physical health and help make quarantine a little bit easier.