Students are feeling the fallout from COVID-19

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By JASMINE RODGERS

@TheEtCetera

A recent survey by the Texas Association of Community Colleges shows that taking classes online is only one of the challenges students are facing as a result of COVID-19.

This is true of 73 % of students who are facing financial insecurity, 47 % of students who lack regular internet access, and 16 % of students who do not have computers, reported the student needs survey titled “Covid-19 Pandemic,” administered by The Texas Association of Community Colleges.

The survey also found 21 % of students are very likely to enroll in fewer classes, 26% are very likely to delay graduation and 19 % are somewhat likely to delay graduation as a result of the pandemic.

Dallas College sophomore Jasmine Smith is one of the students who’s been affected.

“Because of all the changes that were happening this semester, I decided to take fewer classes just to make sure I don’t get too overwhelmed,” she said.

Due to the fact that Smith has reduced her school hours to part-time instead of full time for the fall semester, she anticipates a delayed graduation.

Losing income has been another effect of COVID-19, with a reported 57 % of college students losing income and/or work hours. Catherine Gutierrez, a sophomore at Mountain View, was laid off from her job as a law firm intern toward the beginning of the pandemic.

“I have no form of income,” she said.

Gutierrez has been able to rely on assistance from her family, but some students do not have this support. 

The pandemic has also affected Gutierrez’s social life. Spending time with friends has always been her preferred way to relieve stress, but now that in-person contact with friends is limited, Gutierrez said her stress has increased.

She has fallen behind in her studies as well and said she may not be able to graduate in 2021 as planned.

While many students have lost their jobs, some have had to pick up extra hours to support their families. El Centro student Maria Monsivais is among the 57 % of community college students who have opted to take increased hours at their place of work as a result of the coronavirus.

“It has been a hard time adjusting to everything,” she said, “My [two] little brothers are still in high school and my mom doesn’t work, so I had to take some extra responsibilities at work.” 

While her father has not been laid off and continues to make decent pay, she felt as though it was her obligation as the oldest sibling to help her family.

Monsivais noted that while her educational obligations have not been heavily impacted by COVID-19, her social life has definitely suffered. Since the pandemic began, she has lost her grandfather and cousin, both of whom lived in Mexico. Neither died from COVID-19, but due to the pandemic, Monsivais’ family was unable to travel to Mexico for the funerals.

“It has been really hard on my family,” she said. “I wish this could all just be over.”