Omicron and its Impact on Pioneers


Graphic made on canva; The Charge Staff

Patriot students impacted in the world of Omicron.

Sanya Sewani, Staff Writer

Several strains of the coronavirus have emerged across the globe. Two variants of concern at the moment include the Omicron and Delta variants. The Omicron variant was first reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Nov. 24, 2021, after it was detected in mutated specimens in Botswana and South Africa. 

Omicron has taken the world by storm, increasing total cases by 55% globally in a week. This variant can cause massive problems. Symptoms according to the CDC include dry throat, fever, chills, cough, nausea, and headache, which are much harder to catch and are much more contagious than the other variants. 

In light of the new variant, some students are raising concerns. Last school year learning was done on Zoom, is that what will happen soon due to the new variant? Will students’ lives once again transform? Will freshmen and sophomores get their first year in the building cut short, will juniors never get a full year of high school, will seniors not have their graduation? These questions are yet to be answered. 

Sophomore Gloria Mondal missed out on her freshman experience of high school due to COVID. 

“In freshman year I didn’t feel like I was in high school,” Mondal said. “I just felt like I was just doing a bunch of work.”

Mondal continued to mention how she didn’t get that “true” high school experience. The responsibility of having a bunch of work on a person yet  feeling as if  they can’t relate to other high school experiences due to time lost can be difficult. 

In a New York Times’ piece, teens expanded on the isolation they felt during the pandemic. 

“When you’re with friends, you’re completely distracted and you don’t think about the bad stuff going on,” said teenager Aya Raji. “During the beginning of quarantine, I was so alone. All the sad things I used to brush off, I realized I couldn’t brush them off anymore.”

This relates to plenty of people as it shows by increased numbers in mental disorders. Omicron could be enough to put students back into quarantine and it can be considerate to be more thoughtful of teenage minds, feelings, and emotions.

 According to NCIB, the article states, “increased phone usage, decreased physical activity… College students’ anxiety regarding the pandemic was associated with their place of residence, source of parental income, whether living with parents, and whether a relative or an acquaintance was infected with Covid-19 (Cao et al. 2020). Some students might be at higher risk of social isolation and the development of mental health problems during the Covid-19 crisis.”

 This information supports how along with mental health, physical health and activity was decreased. As for some families they were unemployed. They no longer have a source of income and that is not only stressful for the parents but even their children may feel guilt and anxiety.

Senior Esther Ko missed out on her junior year, which is known to be the hardest year of high school. Ko talked about her mental health and the possibility if we ended up going into lockdown. 

“It would impact my mental health so badly in a bad way. It would ruin my work ethic so much,” Ko said. “If my graduation and my prom would be canceled I would be so sad because our junior prom was canceled too.” 

In a report by the CDC, data shows that in August and December of 2020, significant increases in the percentages of adults who reported experiencing symptoms of an anxiety disorder (24.5% to 30.2%) and depressive disorder (24.5% to 30.2%) took place.

While the pandemic impacted adults immensely, the emotional consequences of the pandemic response seem to have hit younger people as well. Among teens, depression, anxiety, and behavioral issues shot up, affecting two-thirds of children mid-pandemic as opposed to just one-third prior. There was also a increase in tic-like disorders among adolescents, the doubling of eating disorders, and the rise in suicide attempts among girls ages 12 to 17.

The increase in symptoms of depression and anxiety can be detrimental regardless of age, gender and more. It is important to take precaution to help minimize numbers of mental health disorders to maintain a good mental wellbeing among teenagers.

As COVID is still around and some variants continue to come out more contagious and deadly than others, it is important to acknowledge the safety of all students. Superintendent, Dr. Latanya McDade, has even made the decision this past week to continue the mask mandate, requiring all PWCS students to continue wearing masks in hopes of controlling the schools cases. It is clear that many people had a hard time during quarantine and don’t want to go through the same experience again. The more Patriot students stay alert and take care of themselves, the more it will benefit the school and well-being of everyone.