The Malta Independent 20 January 2022, Thursday

What do the Easter holidays mean for students in a semi-lockdown?

Bettina Borg Sunday, 28 March 2021, 09:00 Last update: about 11 months ago

The Easter holidays act as a well-needed break for students of all ages to be at liberty with how to spend their time. The holidays this year, however, prove to be enigmatic. With Covid-19 restrictions instructing citizens to keep in-person socializing to a minimum and restaurants closed until the Easter holidays conclude, students are at a loss with how to pass these next 2 weeks of holidays.

Bettina Borg spoke to three students and asked them what the Easter holidays mean for them in a semi-lockdown, and what plans they have to pass the time until they are back behind their screens learning once more.

Liam* is 12 years old and is in Form 2 in secondary school, Mia* is 14 years old and is in Form 4 of secondary school, and Peter* is 18 years old and is in his final year of sixth form.


Pre-Covid, what do the Easter holidays mean for the students?

Easter marks the Christian celebration of Jesus Christ resurrecting from the dead, however none of the students said they associate the holidays primarily with religion.

"Besides Easter itself and the Seven Visits, I don't feel a religious connection to the Easter holidays", said Peter. "It's more about getting a break from school, taking time off work and studying. You would study a little bit here and there of course, but mainly it's about relaxing and spending time with family and friends".

Liam and Mia echoed Peter's sentiment.

"The Easter holidays means I can go out with friends and go to friends' houses. Ideally, my family and I would be going abroad over the holidays", said Mia.

"If it wasn't for Covid, I would be playing football and meeting my friends", said Liam.


With the new Covid restrictions in place until 11 April, how do students feel about the next 2 weeks of holidays?

With the current Covid restrictions in place, many students are left feeling aimless, with little to look forward to.

"The Easter holidays are going to be quite boring because we can't do anything", said Liam. "My birthday is coming up and I won't be able to spend it with my friends because of lockdown".

For some students, online lessons have given structure and meaning to their day which will be lost over the course of the next 2 weeks.

"Online schooling keeps us occupied because we have something to do and we have homework to focus on", said Mia. "It's good to get a break from the laptop when you're on it all the time, but then again there's nothing to look forward to. Without school, we're not really doing anything and we don't have any plans for the Easter holidays. There's nothing to look forward to, that's all I can say".

Other students are unable to take advantage of the spare time because they have exams to work towards.

"I have exams coming up that I need to focus on", said Peter. "I have A-Levels in June and I have school exams a week after we come back from the Easter holidays, so it feels like I have no holidays at all. It's more of a long study session. Unlike most years, I won't be able to relax as much as I would have wished, which is quite ironic because this is the year where you would need holidays the most! It's been a stressful year."

Mia, similarly, said that she plans to study throughout the holidays to improve her performance in school.

"We just had our mid-yearly exams and we got our results", she said. "I didn't do too badly, but I didn't do as well as I could have, so I want to work more over the holidays.  I'm sure my friends in school feel the same. I can't concentrate online as much as I can in person. Sometimes the explanations aren't clear, or I'll get distracted by my phone. I try not to use it but it can be quite hard when you're in lessons all day. We also didn't have annual exams last term, so we didn't have the pressure of studying and being assessed. It's a lot to catch up with this year".

Liam also has plans to study over the holidays due to problems with connectivity in online lessons.

"Sometimes the lesson lags online and you get kicked out of the call", he said. "By the time you return, you've missed out on the explanation. I want to revise more during the holidays to catch up with the online lessons. If I was going to school in person, I'd be focusing more, while also being surrounded by my friends".


Will the Easter holidays act as a good break from online teaching for students?

Working from home has blurred the work-life balance for many students, since there is no geographical separation from school and home. With students compelled to stay inside this year to minimize the spread of Covid, will they get a well-deserved break from work?

According to students like Peter who have deadlines on the horizon, it wouldn't appear so.

"The holidays will serve as a good break from teaching, but I wouldn't say they'll serve as a good break from school in general", said Peter. "Everyone my age has A'Levels coming up, so we won't get a chance to have a break from school itself. It's well-needed that we have a break from online teaching and lessons because all that time spent online isn't healthy. In terms of school though, I won't get much of a break."

Despite focusing on his exams, Peter hopes that he'll find some time to pursue other goals.

"I'm working on getting my driver's license, so I have something else to focus on," he said.

Liam and Mia also have hobbies of their own to pursue over the course of the next 2 weeks.

"I'm looking forward to doing football from home," said Liam. "You can't play football with your team in person, so we do exercises over call together."

"I would go to dance lessons online," says Mia, "however the lessons stop during the Easter holidays. On the bright side, tennis lessons are still allowed, so at least that can keep me occupied."

Despite it being harder to meet friends, the students expressed that they wish to spend quality, leisurely time with their families over the holidays.

"I hope to take advantage of my family since I can't meet my friends too much. Maybe we'll cook some nice meals together and visit my grandparents - at a distance of course," said Peter.

"My family and I can go for walks and bike rides together," said Liam. "And I hope we get to rest! We all need it right now."




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