Even before Thanksgiving break, 18-year-old Katie Knox, a senior at Framingham High School, diagnosed herself with a condition most commonly associated with the end the school year: she had, she said, a severe case of “‘senioritis’.”

“My friends and I are all stuck in this funk where we can’t think straight,” she said. “We have no motivation at all.”

Like thousands of other students across Massachusetts and the country, Knox has wrapped up the first quarter of the academic year without ever entering a school building. Instead, she logs onto her classes from home. Learning from afar may be the safest option during a pandemic, but high school seniors across the state who are chronicling their experiences for GBH News’ COVID and the Classroom series echo Knox’ assessment: When school happens via a screen it’s easy to feel disconnected.

"One word I'd use to describe it, would probably be tiring, It's hard to get up in the morning and find motivation to do school work, sit at my desk for six hours straight."
Laura Nelson, Senior, Marlborough High School

Many of the seniors participating in GBH News’ COVID and the Classroom series describe the year as a lonely one.

Thomas White, the captain of the cross country team at Boston Latin School, considers himself lucky - sort of. His team was able to practice and even compete this fall with restrictions, including masks and a much smaller than usual field of competition. But when Boston’s COVID numbers climbed in late October, the city shut down all public school sports.

“We’re really grateful to have what we had,” White said. “It’s just upsetting to lose out on something that, just in short term, I’ve been working for last six or seven months.”

Of course, not all schools are fully remote. But even students who spend part of their time inside a school building have limited contact with their classmates.

“One of the hardest parts about this year is not being able to see all my friends in school,” said Hannah Charron, a senior at Apponequet Regional High School in Lakeville, which is using a hybrid system of remote and in-person classes. “We were broken up into two cohorts alphabetically, so half our senior class isn’t even there while I’m there.”

During a fall when many seniors have missed out on everything from college admissions tests to the annual pep rally, few are counting on experiencing other rituals that commonly mark the last year of high school - including prom or a traditional graduation.

“Instead,” said Charron, “we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”

Hear more from the high school seniors GBH News is following this year for our COVID and the Classroom series in the video above produced and edited by Greg Shea.