Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Missing Hours: COVID Shutdown and Afterschool

By Sam Piha

This fall, after nearly a year of isolation, youth are likely returning to school full time. What did young people experience during this time? A recent article in the NY Times, The Missing Hours: 7 Students on Losing a Year of After-School Activities, by Juliana Kim, quoted young people about their experience during the last year of shut down. 

Julianna writes, “From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. That block of time, between the end of classes and the beginning of dinner, were for millions of teenagers everywhere the golden hours of the day. They provided a release from the pressures of school or an escape from a stressful home. It was a time for friendship and fun.”  

Below we provide some excerpts from this article. To read the full article, click here

Source: NY Times,
Lila Barth

I’ve done the Y.M.C.A. from sixth grade onward. It started because my mom was working, my dad was working, my sister was working, so my mom needed to find somewhere I could spend my time instead of staying home alone. I haven’t gone to the Flushing Y in a year; it’s tough. I really miss going. We still have our meetings but they’re online — very rarely do I get to go outside and see my friends or counselors, so it’s a big adjustment. Sometimes I feel like I’m just far away from the world.”— Samir, 16 

 

Source: NY Times,
Lila Barth
The 96th street library on the East Side was my second happy place, after home. I would go there after school, get my work done, then go home. The security guard knows me, some staff know me. It was like a family to me over there… Libraries were the place you could rely on and have peace. I’ve been through shelters since I was 8 years old. My dad kicked out my mom, and she took me and my little sister with her. It was a lot of back and forth. Some kids out there might go to a cafe, but they have to buy something if they want to study. So it’s hard. The library is really the only option. When they were opening up schools, I was like, OK, are they going to open up the library? But they mentioned nothing about the library. What’s the whole point of opening up schools if you can’t go to the library?” — Sam, 18


Source: NY Times,
Lila Barth
 . This year, remote learning has been very isolating for me. My mom works at a hospital and my dad is a taxi driver so it can feel very lonely at home. And I haven’t danced after school since March. There’s no space to dance but also, I’ve become more self-conscious. I realize how important it is to have company when you do activities that might spark insecurities, like dancing. I feel like there’s been an insensitivity about youth mental health. There’s a huge emphasis on taking care of and making time for yourself, but the best way to take care of myself was through my extracurriculars. I feel like a part of myself has been erased.” — Meril, 17


Source: NY Times,
Lila Barth

These activities and organizations are so important. They might just save somebody’s life, you know?” — Rafael, 15



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