The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on B.C. secondary school students’ schooling experience: A survey inquiry and thought experiment

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School climate
Social relationships in school

Attending school in-person in the year 2020-2021 was a different experience for many secondary school students in British Columbia. Safety measures such as mask-wearing and reduced interpersonal interaction were introduced nationwide. I conducted exploratory research to understand B.C. secondary school students’ in-person schooling experience in this survey study. Survey items in this present study investigated the impact of COVID-19 at school and students’ perceptions of school climate. In addition, I included a thought experiment where participants were randomly assigned to improved COVID-19 scenario or worsened COVID-19 scenario and asked to think about how their perceptions of school climate might change in response to the assigned scenario. The result of the present study showed about half of the participants worried about getting COVID-19 while they are at school, and almost all participants reported attending school in person felt different this year and preferred that school go back to the way it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, there was a small but statistically detectable correlation (r77 = -.29, p = .01) between participants’ perceptions of the impact of COVID-19 at school and their perceptions of school climate. Furthermore, based on the results of the thought experiment, the COVID-19 progression on participants’ perceptions of school climate appeared to have a greater impact on students’ perceptions of peer relationships than student-teacher relationships. In conclusion, this rapid survey during the COVID-19 pandemic provided timely feedback and opinions from students about their in-person schooling experience during this unusual year.

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Philip Winne
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.