David Gardiner, 22, said refusing invites to hangout with friends has grow increasingly difficult. Photo credit: Jocelyn Galloway

Students are experiencing COVID fatigue as they continue to try to abide by safety protocols.

A small poll of 10 students, who responded to a questionnaire, were asked if they have experienced COVID fatigue. Seven students replied yes, they have experienced it. Three replied no. All 10 students replied yes to the follow up question which asked if they believe COVID fatigue exists.

“I believe it does exist, but not everyone is going to have issues with it,” said Nicholas Hancin, 22. “Some people like being isolated, others have ways to socialize through other means online. I believe that some people will be feeling down that they can’t get face to face interactions with people.”

COVID fatigue is a term that has been used by Dr. Theresa Tam, the chief public health officer of Canada. The term has been used to describe how the changes in socializing patterns have been challenging for some people and in some cases creating symptoms such as fatigue.

Dr. Tam’s tweet, on Aug. 4, uses the hashtags #COVIDFatigue and #COVIDCoping.

Since entering Stage 3 on July 17, Ottawa saw the largest jump in positive cases of COVID-19 since May, according to a special statement by Dr. Brent Moloughney on July 20.

In this statement, Dr. Moloughney points out an increase in positive cases amongst younger people falling into the 20-to-29-year-old age group.

The majority of Algonquin College’s student population lands in this age demographic. Students between the ages of 20 to 24 make up 41 per cent of the population. Students under 20 make up 36 per cent of the population and age 25 or older students make up 23 per cent of the population.

“Despite being allowed to go into public spaces and restaurants,” said Maksym Drobotiy, 21, “you still feel really isolated due to the way everyone looks at each other. You are afraid of getting a cold, as you will be segregated and looked at as being dirty.”

For some students, the stress and fatigue have not been triggered by a lack of normal social interactions but a lack of support.

Manvir Singh, a 21-year-old international mechanical engineer technology student, said he has experienced COVID fatigue. He had his lease expired in April, forcing him to move in the middle of a pandemic. Singh looked for a room through virtual online tours. His decision was solely based off of what he saw online, as being able to see the room in person was not allowed. After he settled on a room for rent, he could not find anyone to help him move during the pandemic. Singh was forced to move all his belongings by himself.

All of Singh’s family lives in India with the exception of his brother.

“I did not see my eldest brother for a long time,” said Singh. “He lives in Cornwall. That part of my life was hard as he’s the only family here to help me in every situation. The rest of my family is back home.”

For students like Joshua Hammersley, 28, the safety of his personal relations and the children he works with are his number one priority.

Hammersley is an early childhood educator specializing in primary care and special education needs. As part of his career he needs to stay vigilant and aware of new relevant medical information to incorporate safe practices into his professional and personal life.

“Being a full-time student as well only lends credence to my feelings,” said Hammersley. “As I am more likely to experience Zoom fatigue than any frustrations over something so dramatically out of my control. All I can do is make sure I’m acting in a manner that is safe for myself, my loved ones and my community.”