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The sun sets west of A.W. Mumford Stadium and the campus of Southern University on Feb. 1.

Sometimes, I will find something of value in that deep dark hole of illusion called social media.

I’m not easily impressed and I’m skeptical of a lot of stuff on these platforms, especially Facebook. Recently though, Southern University professor Revathi Hines made a couple of pronouncements on her Facebook page that got my attention. It did help that I know her and am aware of her dedication to her profession. A couple of things she mentioned about students returning to in-person classes after fighting through the pandemic and related issues gave me pause.

The noted political science professor of some 24 years on Southern’s Baton Rouge campus said students were having to adjust to the daily grind of getting up and commuting to school, and some students were dealing with stress, confusion and personal problems, all linked to the new normal.

Many students were fine, but a few weeks into the semester, others showed signs of exhaustion, she said. They had to relearn how to study, how to take examinations and how to just focus for long periods of time in a classroom.

But there was more, she observed.

Think about this, she said. Students returned to full-time, in-person classes after losing a family member, friends of the family and others close to them because of COVID-19. After witnessing multiple deaths and sicknesses, “some of them may have been asking themselves ‘when is my number going to come up?’” she said. And, now they are in classrooms.

Some students had been using the additional free time that online classes allowed them to get jobs to support themselves and their families.

“I had a student who was a single mother of two who lost her job as a school bus driver and took a job driving for a well-known national delivery service, and would log onto Zoom classes while she was driving. I would ask her to turn off her camera,” Hines wrote.

Some still have their jobs, which they now need, and are dealing with employers who refuse to adjust to their new situations, she said.

There are students who were freshmen last year just coming into in-person classes now for the first time, after classes were shut down. It has taken them time to adjust, she said.

Early on this semester, she witnessed the quick burnout of some students. The new normal was not working, and it showed itself in the early examination periods, she said. “I could see there was a serious problem ... But you still have to teach them.”

She pointed out that during the online period students had a lot of time to devote to other things because they didn’t have to pay special attention to getting ready for classes or commuting. Taking tests online is different from taking tests in the classroom. Now, all of that is gone.

Seeing the issues with her students in her Political Theory, American Government and Black Politics classes, “I had to rescue my entire class by giving them a self-care day off, with a bonus assignment attached to it so that students would not feel burnt out,” she said.

Her challenge and that of other teachers was to “figure out how to help many of them study again and take a test in person ... It was different,” she said. Her doctorate in Public Administration/International Relations/American National Politics did not have this lesson.

On one occasion, she had a collective talk with her students about their situations: “I told them to speak from your heart ... tell me what your situation is so that I can help you.”

“I could have gone about teaching them as I would at any time before the pandemic. But I feel responsible that I am educating them ... I have to know that they are learning,” she said. Operating classes the regular way just wouldn’t work.

The students showed improvement toward the middle of the semester. And, now it’s finals times.

“I’m not as anxious as I was earlier in the semester,” she said, believing the different approach has reached the students. “I feel better about where we are. I think we are good.”