• Jacqueline Campos, Monica Cruz, Alejo Peña Soto, Fatimah Rasul & Ana Ramón • IDRA Newsletter • August 2021 •

Excerpt from Report

During the summer and fall of 2020, four high school and college students led a participatory action research project to collect insights from our peers about the impact of COVID-19 on students and how the pandemic has worsened or changed the challenges young people face in their schools.

The project stemmed from IDRA’s partnership with Seek Common Ground, which launched its COVID-19 Recovery Action Accelerator to support state and community-based organizations pursuing equitable and sustainable education policies and experiences.

IDRA announced in September 2020 our student team: Jacqueline Campos, Monica Cruz, Alejo Peña Soto and Fatimah Rasul. IDRA trained and supported us as we created, distributed and analyzed surveys about the needs of families and students during the COVID-19 pandemic. The key findings of the research and excerpts from student survey respondents are below.

Three out of four students reported struggling with mental wellness issues.

“I felt isolated and unmotivated constantly and online school became overwhelming.”

“I don’t really talk to any of my friends anymore and I feel extremely lonely, I have breakdowns more often now, and every other day I feel awful about myself.”

“Isolation and the constant fear of getting my family sick has dramatically increased my anxiety and depression and has made me lose all motivation to pursue anything in life.”

“I feel bored and sad and cry a lot of the time now and just feel like I’m drowning at school.”

Students carried additional burdens due to virtual learning.

“There is often no separation from my school life and my home life. I’m always mentally thinking about the next assignment I have due and it keeps me up at night and increases my stress and anxiety.”

“I am constantly on a laptop and my eyesight becomes strained throughout the day. Sometimes I’ll get headaches from this as well. I often forget to eat.”

“I don’t ask as many questions like I would if I was in person. I think many teachers think that because we are home, we just do nothing all day. That’s not the case at all.”

Students faced pressure to maintain their education while also managing responsibilities outside of the classroom.

“Sometimes being off camera is helpful along with helping the little kiddos [at home] with their school as I’m listening through my air pods.”

“I have family members in the hospital, and schoolwork is a stress that is hard to deal with especially because of the increased workload.”

Our report will be available soon at www.idra.org. Also see IDRA’s new eBook, Ready – Reopen – Reconnect! Proven Strategies for Re-engaging Students Who Need You the Most


Campos, J., Cruz, M., Peña Soto, A., Rasul, F., Ramón, A. (August 2021). Student Reflections on Schooling During COVID-19 – Student-Led Research Project Explores Effects of the Pandemic on Students and Schooling. San Antonio: IDRA.

Ramón, A. (March 2021). Student Researchers Collect Insights from Peers about the Pandemic’s Effects on Schooling. IDRA Newsletter.

At the time of their research, Jacqueline Campos attended Young Women’s Leadership Academy in San Antonio ISD, Monica Cruz attended Texas State University, Alejo Peña Soto attended Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio ISD, and Fatimah Rasul attended Byron P. Steele High School in Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD. Ana Ramón is IDRA’s deputy director of advocacy. Comments and questions may be directed to her via email at ana.ramon@idra.org.

[©2021, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the August 2021 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]