Student-run morning announcements morale boost school needs

Reported+loneliness+among+adolescents+has+been+on+the+rise+since+the+late+2000s+with+the+increased+use+of+personal+technology+and+social+media.+These+numbers+have+only+been+escalated+by+Covid-19+related+isolation+that+has+resulted+in+many+mental+health+issues+among+teenagers.

Courtesy of Our World in Data under creative commons licensing

Reported loneliness among adolescents has been on the rise since the late 2000s with the increased use of personal technology and social media. These numbers have only been escalated by Covid-19 related isolation that has resulted in many mental health issues among teenagers.

Elizabeth Thompson, Editor-in-Chief

“Goooooooooooooooooooood morning West Springfield! Please stand for the Pledge of Allegiance,”— It’s too early for this on a Thursday morning. Students are still rubbing the sleep from their eyes, but it’s just one more day until Friday, the weekend, and sleeping in. No one ever thought they would miss this until now.

Now students wake up to a computer screen in the morning, still tired and bleary-eyed but lacking the human interaction that kept them going throughout the school day. A screen lacks the spirit that used to line the halls of WS, making it difficult to show the camaraderie that used to draw us together when we are now at a distance in a virtual setting. For all the things that have been taken away from us this school year, however, it is time to take our morning announcements back.

In a time where mental health is more important than ever, the return of student-run morning announcements could greatly boost morale. According to the Council on Recovery, Covid-19 has led to “odd sleeping patterns and overall dysregulation, which can impact coursework, family relationships, and mental health” for teens. Aside from a loss of structure in the daily schedule, teens are also limited to fewer social interactions with other peers at a developmental stage where having friends is crucial to maintaining good psychological health. As shown in a study from Our World in Data, there has been an increase in teens reporting feelings of loneliness since around 2007 with the numbers increasing more since the start of Covid-19 isolation. Although a return of student-run morning announcements would by no means be sufficient alone to prevent such loneliness in the student population, it might still help remove some general feelings of daily melancholy. Hearing general school information from peers instead of teachers would offer a break from the constant flow of administration emails and notifications and would give them a sense that things are actually happening within the school community that might help dispel any feelings of isolation. Even a daily mantra or piece of wisdom would be much appreciated, anything to add some variety to the school day.

The best part is, it can be done virtually. The students who run the announcements can submit audio of them ahead of time to be played before the Pledge of Allegiance video. Even if this system might not be possible for every day, it could certainly be done at least once or twice a week. In the very least, it would help reestablish some type of normalcy.