Fiona Luzano, Reporter

Even with school reopening for the second semester, Seminole High School (SHS) has been facing significant shortages of not only students, but teachers. The reason for these large absences is because of the current pandemic. COVID has been rampant for approximately two years, but it is still progressively getting worse. Vaccines have been created, but the virus itself is adapting and growing more resistant. As of now, a new variant known as Omicron is only elevating the risk of exposure. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Omicron variant is more likely to spread than the original virus. Symptoms for the Omicron variant are notably less severe than those associated with the original virus. Common indications of Omicron include a sore throat, runny nose, and nasal congestion, which are closely related to that of a common cold. Such similarities can result in people believing that they are asymptomatic or do not even have the Omicron variant. This misunderstanding can result in teachers and students COVID without them even knowing they have contracted it, only furthering the spread and effect.

The presence of a substitute is often enjoyed by many students; the presence of repetitive substitutes is concerning and often disruptive in regards to learning. Teachers often leave out a curriculum for the students to follow, but it is often difficult for the students to follow without difficulty, and often disregard it completely. After last year’s primarily virtual platform, students are taking it especially hard because of a lack of continuous learning. Moreover, the third quarter is one of the most important quarters in a school year as it is the last fully learning-incorporated quarter. Fourth quarter is usually filled with standardized testing and AP testing. Without a teacher to review the content and prepare students for the exam, success rates will go down and stress will rise,

Health Academy Junior Caitlyn Campbell says, “I think it’s disrupting my learning, there are a lot of exams coming up and I would feel more prepared if they were here.” 

Tara Chandra, another SHS Junior in Health Academy, expresses that: “My teachers being absent has changed the way I have been learning and my expectations. The regular work I expect going into class is completely changed. I feel thrown off course with specific classes that I need my teachers for. The assignments being given while my teachers are gone aren’t fulfilling my learning expectation.” 

Many students feel the same way because they are not learning anything even with a substitute taking over their class. These two juniors are worried about the lack of content they are learning and the time it is taking. Junior year is a very important year, in which colleges really look at your grades and progress.

SHS senior William Anderson says, “It’s my last year [at SHS] and it’s not what I was expecting, I barely learn anything in classes that have substitutes. Yes, I can teach myself the lessons but it’s still not the same and some even expect their students to learn everything on their own which is not fair at all.” 

The students are put up to the expectation of keeping up with their studies and it is bringing them down. COVID has impacted all of our lives, to which we have adapted. With teacher absences though, how must we adapt next?