Students Reconnect with Friends as they Return to School


Aidan Mason

Enjoying being outside together on a beautiful day, seniors enjoy the time together as they eat their lunch.

Masks cover the faces of everyone, and the threat of a COVID resurgence looms on the horizon. Everything is definitely not the same, and after being away from in-person learning for more than 18 months, Dominion has finally returned to mostly active operation. Students are back in the building, interacting with teachers and other classmates, which is much different than last school year’s barrier of google meets and icons. 

Senior Sarah Yohey has certainly been helped by the return. “I [personally] became even harder to contact,” said Yohey, referencing her time during quarantine. She notes that part of the benefit of returning is that her mental health has improved, and she’s spent much more time with friends.

Similarly, Senior Jenna Stacy notes that she struggled with depression and loneliness during quarantine. “I partly became more depressed, more alone, because I didn’t have anyone that [cared] about me enough to talk to me.”

Both Stacey and Yohey say that their friend groups have improved since the return to school. 

Ben Coppage, also a senior, said, “[I] did basically nothing, but play games.” Coppage noted that the return back to school helped increase his productivity, but has disrupted his sleep schedule, which he’d formed during the pandemic.

Beyond the student perspective, counselor Nicole Winfree noted that during quarantine, students’ mental health was different for each student, with some feeling stressed by the quarantine, and others feeling much more relaxed. “It was very much a spectrum of feelings and emotions,” she says.

In terms of reconnecting with friends, Winfree noted that it was like learning to ride a bike after a break, in that they’d be a little rusty, but would eventually get the hang of it once again.

As Mrs. Winfree noted, “I am very hopeful that, by the end of this school year, students feel more comfortable being in school, being around people in larger groups, and that they feel as if their mental health and their social health is in a more positive place than it was in the beginning of the school year.