Not All Bad: Three Pandemic Positives from 2021

Vikesh Dheeriya , Reporter

This past year in lockdown caused many changes to the Palos Verdes learning environment, but not all of them were negative. 

The ability to simultaneously learn about the Industrial Revolution and sip a mug of hot cocoa while in your pajamas has never been possible in previous school years. 

From using your own PC setup, to waking up two minutes before Zoom starts and still being on time, the added comfort from online learning is undeniable. 

However, one of the most important changes to the quality of life of students has been the elimination of commute time. 

“It is normally a 35 minute drive to school,” said junior Kyle Kan. “Because of online learning, I can get at least an hour more sleep than last year.” 

The suggested yet unreasonable 10 hours of sleep recommended for growing teenagers is only recently plausible. 

Although some students have struggled to adjust to online learning, one can struggle comfortably. 

In previous years, the adults of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified District (PVPUSD) made most of the decisions regarding students, without student input, yet because of the pandemic and the major changes to the way of life, students felt that their voice should be more highly regarded. 

When major changes to the block schedule at PVHS were being considered, the student outcry was heard and understood by PVPUSD. 

The student input will continue to be a part of the district in the form of the recently formed PVPUSD Student Board, where students from all schools in the district, at any grade level, can be a part of and give their opinion on anything regarding school. 

Mental health has been a controversial subject in PV’s competitive learning environment, yet the changes to online learning only amplified the feelings of stress and depression among some students at PVHS. 

However, the topical subject of improving mental health increased as the year went on. 

Eventually, the One Hill Project, a student-run committee, was created in which they surveyed students at Palos Verdes and Peninsula high school to gauge their general state of mental health. 

During the first semester, 86% of the 707 student responses claimed that they have not utilized the schools mental health resources, where 30% were not aware of the services at all. 

Along with the important survey, the One Hill Project suggested the implementation of asynchronous Wednesdays and a partial credit mandate. 

“[Asynchronous] classes on Wednesdays give me a break from all the Zooms during that week.” said sophomore Tyler Campbell. “Allowing me to go at my own pace has really helped in certain classes.” 

 Although mental health among students has certainly not improved due to the pandemic— action towards a healthier learning environment is always a step in the right direction.