"The students are fine."
Translation:Las estudiantes están bien.
I was reading this interesting discussion and you explained quite easily. However you should note that there is a very big difference between ¿cómo estás? and ¿como estas?. The first one is what you really meant (how are you?) while the second one means "like these?". The accents in Spanish exist for some very good reasons and its misuse can lead to confusion!
It depends on the context and mostly, I think, in the tone of your voice. It sounds a bit different depending on what you mean. Try saying these phrases, the tone should be a bit different in every phrase ¿Cómo estás? --> How are you? // Cómo estás --> How you are ¿Como estas? --> Like these? // Como estas --> Like these ¿Como estas? --> Do I eat these? // Como estas --> I eat these ¿Como estás? --> As you are? // Como estás -- As you are
I'm not sure about the last translation, but there's the idea :)
Spanish has two words for the English "to be". This is one of the most confusing parts of Spanish for English speakers to learn. But to keep things simple, "estar" is usually more temporary and "ser" is more permanent.
Los estudiantes están bien, or the students are fine is termporary because other times in future or past the students might not be fine.