A Note on Mental Health

We care, just not that much.

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A message on behalf of the Stuyvesant administration:

Here at Stuyvesant High School, we are committed to the success of our students. While we spend a lot of time caring about your academic performance, extracurricular activities, and college admissions, we have been told that your mental health is supposed to be important to us too. We recognize how difficult the transition to remote learning has been for all of you, and we see your struggle. We see it in your eyes which blatantly look at phones on camera, we see it in your 4:00 a.m. e-mails asking for extensions, and we see it in our slipping rankings on Your struggle is our struggle, so we extend to you these words of encouragement and a number of new policy changes implemented through extensive student feedback.

We recognize the extraordinary circumstances you are all experiencing each day, and we are truly in awe of your perseverance. We know that the weight of isolation can be a lot to bear, and for that reason, we encourage you to keep your cameras on during live instruction. We miss seeing your beautiful disillusioned faces, and having your cameras on is the best way to simulate the face-to-face interaction you so desperately need.

We know that many of you feel overwhelmed by everything going on in the world. We all have different coping mechanisms for our stress, and for many of you, that means distracting yourselves with video games, Netflix, and other forms of idle entertainment. Now, with our new and improved homework policy, you will have a minimum of four hours each day to experience the wonderment of mental expansion, ensuring that none of the world’s issues concern you during that time. For teachers who couldn’t find homework they deemed “necessary” for their course, we’ve supplied various online resources that will automatically assign and grade menial work to help you seek reprieve from this cruel, desolate world we call home.

While more homework may help ease the anxieties of our students, we know that you all eagerly await grades too. To make this process more personal, we’re now requiring all teachers to grade submitted work using digital stickers. The stickers will be distributed based on student performance, with smiling rainbows representing exemplary work and crying chinchillas given to our lower-performing students.

Regarding your final exams, we’ve made the process as straightforward as possible by allowing teachers to continue to teach during finals week! Continuing live instruction during finals week provides you all with much-needed structure, but that’s not all. We understand that there is confusion over what will be on your final exams, so we’ve collaborated with each department in making mandatory review assignments to encapsulate your semester of learning into one easy assignment. Though this assignment is comprehensive and will count for a project grade, it will not impact any of your preexisting cumulative assignments, as we know how dedicated you are to harnessing your creative spirits through in-class projects.

At Stuyvesant, we recognize the strength of our community and the collaborative spirit of our students. We, the administration, have received a multitude of comments regarding extracurricular activities, and we are aware that it’s difficult to make new friends while isolated. Still, we would like to clarify that you are not allowed to use ARISTA tutoring services as a means of soliciting human interaction. Our tutors are busy enough as it is, and these spurious requests are overwhelming our systems. Instead, our new student-led outreach team may be of interest to you. We want you to be a part of this process. Rather than taking away student voices by developing any ideas ourselves, we’re enlisting your help to draft and implement new activities for your fellow students all on your own! This will be an exciting and low commitment (five hours a week) opportunity to socialize with your peers and better our Stuyvesant community.

Though we only contact you through e-mail blasts, we want to assure you that your well-being is among our top priorities. We are doing our best to make this transition as comfortable as possible for you all, but there’s only so much that we can do. We believe in the potential of each and every one of our students, and it’s for that reason that we say all of you have the power to make the choice to be happy.