How COVID-19 has impacted the new student process

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Jonathan Sulgrove

Senior Jonathan Glaum attempts to figure out where to go.

Jonathan Sulgrove, Opinion Editor

This year, new students around the nation are struggling to thrive in their new schools. Unfortunately, social distancing and online learning are not helping students acclimate.

Solomon Thomas was a new student to PV last year. As a kid in a military family, he has been to six different schools. Fortunately, he found the transition to PVHS relatively easy.

Yet this year he is concerned about social interaction limitations, especially for new students. “Everything feels less personal. I think it would be hard for someone new to make friends and fit in because social interaction is important to making connections.”

Thomas elaborated on the issues that may arise from this lack of community: “No social interaction can lead to feeling lonely, and being lonely can cause all types of problems mentally.”

Typically, being a new student at PV would involve meeting a student ambassador, who would take the student through their schedule to help them learn the layout of the school and their classes; and for the first week of school, they would walk with the student to class and introduce them to other students as well.

However, COVID-19 changed all that. There are still ambassadors, but the event where they were to meet the new students, the New Student Get Together, was canceled, making it even harder for new students to integrate into PV.

According to Michele Kipp, the counseling office secretary, “The returning students are at least familiar with the building and know other students. New students have to learn where their classrooms are, meet new teachers, and try to make friendships all with only being here every other day, wearing a mask and social distancing.”

Her advice to current students: “If anyone looks lost or alone, a friendly ‘Hi’ works wonders; ask if you can help. Go out of your comfort zone and strike up a conversation with someone you do not know. Remember what it is like to be new somewhere – show a little kindness to make the transition easier.”

Being a new student is tough, especially during these crazy times. Yet overwhelming kindness from students throughout the school may just be enough to help them feel welcomed and accepted.