By: Victoria Quaynor | January 1st, 2020

Victoria Quaynor – author

Ready, one, two, three, ready, gooooo! This sounds familiar, right? Yes, it is what is often shouted to kickstart most racing games. However, this time around, it is for the long-awaited reopening of our schools.

Schools are resuming in January 2021. That is not to say that some schools are not in session, but the focus here is that majority of the schools will be in session in 2021. To some students, it is a great relief filled with joy. A period to reunite with friends, and enjoy the physical space of the campus. It has been months since schools were locked down. On the other side, others would have still preferred to continue their online studies from home.

But the question still holds, why are some happy and others sad about the reopening of schools? Well, I guess those excited are looking forward to the opportunity to experience physical interaction with teachers and lecturers, meet with long-time friends, and appreciate the physical school setting.

To the other group, staying at home was just the best experience as they had more time to spend with family and fulfill other commitments.

While students may have varied reasons for missing or not missing school, the fact remains that schools will be in full session from January 2021.

It is exciting to know that I can finally go back to school after staying home for almost nine to ten months. Let me quickly state that while at home, I had the opportunity to join an online class organized by my school, but the issue is that it hasn’t been efficient at home.

Staying at home came with hurdles such as boredom, which did affect my mental health, change in eating patterns, and fear of contracting the virus. I remember informing my immediate family members the importance of our hands frequently and doing it the right way. The news on the spread of the virus spearheaded by our media platforms frightened me. It got me depressed. The alarming death tolls of COVID-19 shook me to the core. These uncertain times motivated me to pray more, this is not to say I don’t pray, but I poured out my depression through prayer.

Before I forget, I had a series of incidents that fueled my depression, but that will be a story for another day.

In the meantime, I realized I was not myself and was getting moody all the time, but my mum was there to encourage me. She always prayed for me and assured me everything would be fine. She emphasized that I should never let the thought of me contracting COVID-19 grow in my mind. She canceled it with the name of Jesus. You know how refreshing it is when you have a prayerful Mum and a motivator. Her assuring words light me up and give me the needed strength not to be afraid of all that is happening around me.

In a bid to solve all that I was going through, I took a sabbatical leave from social media and ceased following COVID-19 stories. I channeled my energy and mind to what I loved doing best. I took strolls, learned new recipes, and guess what called some very few friends to chat. I also joined some online activities and started an online show called #FridayFeelingTips, where I get to share what I had learned in a week with others, and it cut across all topics from health to education, and you name it. It was a weekly show, so I had to learn new things to share with my audience.

So, do you understand why I said it wasn’t easy for me now?

Based on all these experiences, I have been able to get over it because I had some support.

However, the thought of some students still going through tough times keeps ringing in my mind. But what can we do about it now that school is re-opening? From my point of view, physiological support should be targeted to all students in school. This can be fulfilled with the assistance of teachers or lecturers. In schools with mental health clubs, they can assist with initiatives that will improve the well-being of students.

Secondly, various educational stakeholders should help reduce the school fees for this academic year. It has been a tough year, and economically many have been affected. A conscious effort to help reduce the school fees will go a long way to relieve students.

Lastly, all protocols on COVID-19 should adhere. Hygiene practices should be encouraged in schools. The school washrooms should have the necessary hand washing material. Similarly, there should be basins and soaps at vantage points on campus to help students wash their hands. This practice should be consistent.

Wearing of nose mask should be encouraged. Students should save lives by wearing a mask.

To wrap it up, my friends, I know we miss each other so much but let’s refrain from the hugs and all other close contacts so that we don’t contract the virus and infect other vulnerable people we are living with. It takes us all to make school safe and have a smooth transmission back to school.