What Are They Thinking? An Insight into Student Quarantine Experiences

Krista Gypton · May 20, 2020

Quarantine. Social distancing. Shelter in place. These are now common phrases in Photo Credit: Lillian, 8th grade, MI every household around the world. We have watched as schools everywhere have worked to adjust to distance learning and have a renewed sense of what is really important. We have experienced first hand the grind of working to create and innovate. We have watched in awe as educators around the globe have transformed their classrooms into virtual spaces where creativity and connection are thriving. We have also heard the stories of exhaustion and heartbreak as everyone, young and old, try to balance all the obstacles that come with the current situation. Although we still have a long road ahead of us with many learning opportunities, we have asked some students from around the country to share with us their reflections and learning so far. Here are their insights:

“Quarantine has been a little more boring, we can't go anywhere.  Homeschooling has been good, we get our work done and are free to play after. We've played a lot of games.” - 5th grade

“Wynter is only 5 but when asked she said...she is safe at home, because the virus is bad and she misses her Grandma, friends, teachers, & school too.” - Kindergarten Parent 

“I love learning online with National Geographic. I know how far 6 feet is. I really miss school and friends. I am used to learning online, but it is weird.  When we go on a class chat, everyone talks at once and it's noisy.” - 2nd grade

“Quarantine has been boring for me because I can't play sports. I can't see my friends and family. And I can't go places so I just have no other choice but to sit inside and that's boring to me.” - 5th grade

“I have learned that I like school but sometimes you just have to change your routine. I have learned that I miss everything.” -3rd grade 

“It is really boring and I want to play with my friends.” - 5th grade

"It has been boring, disappointing and confusing.  My math is hard online as I can't get the help I get when at school. I love hanging out with my family (we've gotten closer) and we've gotten creative, cleaned a lot and have a lot of fun.  We make our schedule. I miss my teacher, my grandparents and friends.  I have learned to bake a lot and we've made some cool forts and crafts." - 5th grade

“Quarantine has been a hard thing. Me, a student thought this was going to be a good thing. No school, how much better can life get?. But as we went in it became more boring and less thing to do. I felt sad and didn't want to do anything. One thing I want to say is just getting outside whenever you can even if it's just to sit outside. It helps a lot. I also put off some work cause I thought well they can't do anything about it now but that's not a good mindset to have. Just do it cause even though it might not seem important now it might help later. I also have got pretty close to my neighbors. We all pass the ball back and forth 6 feet apart but sometimes we just talk and this Quarantine has taught me that we take a lot for granted. It has been weird but remember to stay safe for yours and other's safety.” -  Lillian, middle school

“My ten year old said, “Stocks.” I was expecting a deeper life lesson type response from her, but I guess I’m happy with her answer. I've been teaching her about the stock market, and I created a stock market simulation account for her so that she can trade stocks. We’ve been checking it daily and researching companies. She fights doing her school work each and every day, so I’m glad she’s having fun learning something new. Life was so busy beforehand so I probably would never have taught her about this if we didn’t suddenly have all this free time on our hands.” - 4th grade Parent

 “Don’t take anything for granted.” - 8th grade

“There are things that I can appreciate now that I didn’t before.”  - 6th grade

“The world right now is in a state that has never happened before. Many countries are shut down and will be for the foreseeable future. My view on all of this is that the U.S and the rest of the world could have done a better job of handling COVID.” - Ethan, middle school 

“If I could take anything positive aways from quarantine time, it would be that people should enjoy the outdoors and see the wildlife. When this whole thing is over I will definitely be going outside and just taking in the new sights and smells I can find on walks, or even just looking out a car window.” - Gwen, middle school 

“Sometimes it can be frustrating staying at home and not being able to go anywhere or do anything. However, we must not forget that staying home doesn’t mean doing absolutely nothing all day and being lazy. Instead, I believe it is important for us to look at this situation positively. This is a very rare opportunity we have all gotten to explore ourselves and find new things to do. Something to keep in mind is that it’s very important for us to stay active. On a nice day take some time and go outside for a walk or run or maybe even a bike ride. This will not only keep your body healthy but it will also give you a break from your work.” -  Jayna, 8th grade

“For me, quarantine has been an interesting journey so far. I’m sure my experience has been very different than that of other kids considering that I have had a lot on my plate considering animals. Recently my family decided to hatch some quail and add to our growing flock of chickens, so for the past month I have been busy with building coops and taking care of animals. However I am still feeling the social distress that comes with no social interactions other than parents and siblings.” -  Lydia, middle school 

“The past couple months have been really crazy and it doesn't matter who you are, either way we’ve all been affected by this quarantine but in this time of need, we have people that are willing to stand up and take this battle to the frontlines, such as doctors,  nurses, and even teachers are doing something very important in this pandemic. I feel like all of our ideas matter at this point because times are tougher than ever and we need to communicate somehow at home. Thanks to teachers we don't just throw away everything we learned this year because of a virus, they are dedicated to seeing us succeed so much that they are willing to take time out of their day to help us.If I were to say anything to my teachers, it would be to keep moving forward and helping your students because even though they may not realize it yet, education is important.”  - Musa, middle school 

“I’m honestly not sure how I feel about quarantine. I’ve looked at it as a break and as punishment. Of course it would never truly be punishment, because I didn’t cause it, but sometimes it feels that way. Sure, it’s nice to not have to put on normal clothes everyday, or get up at a strict time, But i’m really starting to miss that everyday routine that I was used to.”  -  Zach, middle school 

“It's been so weird.  We have more downtime and that's nice but I miss my friends and school routine.  My grades have gone up though because I have more time to do it on my own.  I've gotten closer to family and have realized who my true friends are during this too.”  - 9th grade

“I have had a lot of family time. It has made me and my family grow closer together.” -Savana 10th grade

“That growth never stops and that just because something didn't go as planned doesn't mean it's negative or positive. It also made me much more creative.” - Lindsay, 10th grade

 “I learned to never take school for granted again, because it's honestly fun and better than staying home doing nothing. Although I also learned it's important to spend time with the people you love and learn to follow rules of social distancing.” - Alize, 10th grade

“I miss school and my friends and teachers. I sadly don’t feel like I have learned much this semester. But most of all I miss playing the game I love, softball. I will not take these things for granted again!” - 10th grade

“This quarantine has helped me realize not to take anything for granted. Being able to see your friends, going to school or even hugging your family members is now considered a dangerous task. I only hope one day that when and if we find a vaccine for the coronavirus I'll be able to do all the things I enjoyed doing before this quarantine.” Andrea, 10th grade

“Over quarantine and over breaks, in general, I realize how the education system strips students of their free time to explore their curiosities. Students who may be the most productive in the classroom are in some cases not proficient in their life outside of it. Over quarantine, I've been able to explore my interests in photography, art, meditation, yoga, running, golf and so much more. Categories that as an honors student I've never been able to really take my time on. Quarantine has given students a chance to figure out what they would like to really grow on. It's helped me become a healthier person, as well as given me time to create and follow through with a great daily routine. Some students may still be sitting at home all day. But for those exploring their interests. Those are the students the schools should really be awarding. I was glad to help yearbook earlier in quarantine to produce track and field photos for the yearbook. Which without doing that we would have a really blank page. I've gotten into gardening and even deepened my knowledge in investing. I have invested 100$ over quarantine and have made 300. I have informed my father and made him tens of thousands. Quarantine and breaks in general from our everyday robotic style life gives us a chance to be kids again. And a chance to really find out what makes us happy.” - Michael, 10th grade

“I've learned not to take things for granted and don't wait to start new habits. If you want to do something new do it, make the most of bad situations.”  -Davi, 10th grade

“During this quarantine, I have learned our lives are prone to change; when there is a major change in the world there must also be major changes in our lives to accommodate that change regardless of how sudden or seemingly alarming that change may be and we as a society and a world are capable of taking on these changes.I also learned how to make butter, which makes me extremely happy so I must tell everyone.” - Ivy, 10th grade  

“During this quarantine, I've learned to have patience. Patience with how people act and patience for when this quarantine is officially over. I've also recently learned to improve my drawings in my spare time.”  -Jayde, 10th grade

“Through this quarantine, I learned how to stay more humble and grateful for what I have. With both of my parents working still, I found a way to stay active. If anything, quarantine has made me more responsible by applying for jobs.” - Maya, 10th grade

“I learned in quarantine life doesn't go as planned. I also learned to live every day productively.” -Bianca, 10th grade

"Quarantine has been both terrible, yet amazing at the same time. I've gotten so many things done around the house, completed tons of little projects, and have gotten much more sleep. Although it's tough not getting to see my friends all the time, or go to the gym, quarantine has taught me patience, which is probably one of the things I struggle most. Having no other option but to wait this thing out, being stuck inside has taught me that having a little bit of patience, drastically impacts my mood." - Josh, 10th grade

“During Quarantine I've learned how to better manage my time better and how to connect with people without actually being with them. It was really hard at first to reach out to people but it's becoming routine, this is the new normal.” - Mallory, 12th grade

It doesn’t seem to matter what your age we can all agree that this time has been challenging. It looks like we can also agree that it has provided us with a special opportunity to slow down, reconnect, and explore. It has given us space to learn new things and be reminded of things we once knew but had unfortunately forgotten. It has reminded us of what is really important and that focusing on gratitude will not only help us get through the now but is a beneficial habit to take with us into the future. 



Krista Gypton

Krista Gypton taught for 19 years and has received numerous awards for her teaching and student community service, including the 2008 Arizona Teacher of the Year Ambassador for Excellence. She is an emphatic believer in the power of service to others and has traveled as far as South Africa with students to give back. She has been a keynote speaker and trainer for the past 11 years, both nationally and internationally.