EDUCATION

What Do The Kids Say? K-12 Students Sound Off On School

Aug 11, 2020, 7:59 AM
A teacher starts to reset up her classrooms at Freedom Preparatory Academy as they begin to prepare...
A teacher starts to reset up her classrooms at Freedom Preparatory Academy as they begin to prepare to restart school after it was closed in March due to COVID-19 on August 5, 2020 in Provo, Utah. The school is planning to have students return on August 18 for five days a week instruction, but with reduced hours during the day. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — Parents have weighed in on reopening schools. Teachers have weighed in. Public health experts, too, along with cities, states and President Donald Trump.

But what about the kids themselves? As the grown-ups fret, kindergartners to high schoolers faced with a range of scenarios for virtual and in-person classes are expressing both fear and glee over leaving home to learn.

Many said they’re most worried about fellow students breaking the rules on wearing masks and keeping their distance, especially in areas that are hot spots for the coronavirus.

“We’ll be home in a month,” said a skeptical Peter Klamka, an eighth-grader in Las Vegas, in a county that logged 95% of new coronavirus cases reported in Nevada early last week.

The 13-year-old will return to his private school in about three weeks.

“Some kids will be more responsible than others. I’m not looking forward to it but I’ve got to go school so I’d rather be there in person,” Peter said.

Not yet 5, kindergartner Rivington Hall in Westport, Connecticut, will begin her first big-kid year on Zoom after finishing preschool at home. That may change later in the year.

“I’d rather go to school because it has more toys and it’s more fun,” she said as she munched on animal crackers and sipped from a juice box.

Anxious parents around the country are looking to schools that have already opened for signs of how it might go. One, North Paulding High School in suburban Atlanta, rescinded a five-day suspension for a student who shared photos and video of crowded hallways and few students in masks after doors opened this month.

The school has since suffered an outbreak of COVID-19, along with other schools in hard-hit Georgia.

Nearly 50 miles away in Alpharetta, Georgia, 10-year-old Collier Evans will attend school remotely when he begins fifth grade Aug. 17. He could have gone in person full time or picked a blended option but said he was anxious about returning to school.

“My parents and me, we said we don’t want to go in a classroom, get sick and then I’d bring it home and get my family sick,” Collier said.

As for distance learning, he said: “I hope it’s going to go better than last year. You had to wait in a queue for like 30 minutes to ask the teacher one question.”

In Tuscon, Arizona, 10-year-old Simon Joubeaud Pulitzer returned to his private school Aug. 3, his blue button-down uniform shirt and tie in place. He was happy to see his friends again and have face-to-face access to his teachers.

Did he feel safe?

“Not the first day but after, yes, I felt a bit safer,” Simon said. “All kids were following the rules.”

Those rules include masks worn indoors, socially distanced desks and only two kids per outdoor picnic table at either end for lunch.

Most American parents said it was unsafe to send their children back to school, with more than 80 percent favoring school conducted at least partly online, according to a new Washington Post-Schar School survey conducted by Ipsos. But many expressed displeasure at the quality of online instruction.

As summer winds down, the mixed feelings mirror the lack of consensus around the country on how to balance virus risks and schooling.

Some Scandinavian countries with far fewer cases than in the U.S. reopened schools with new safety protocols and have had no outbreaks connected to their operations. In Israel, schools that reopened when virus activity was low ended up shutting down a few weeks later when cases spiked.

In the U.S., some school districts plan a mix of in-person classes and online learning to help maintain social distancing. Other districts, including those in Miami, Houston and Los Angeles, are starting classes online only.

Ella Springer, 14, of Kenosha, Wisconsin, will start her sophomore year of high school at home after her school board rescinded an in-class option to open the fall semester. That could change as the year progresses.

“At first I was wanting to go back to school in person but I feel like, watching the numbers in Wisconsin, it makes more sense to go back virtual because it’s rising,” she said. “It’s pretty boring at home but what can you do? Last year the virtual was easier for me to slack off at home because it was a loose kind of thing, but I feel like this year will go a lot better since they’ve had the whole summer to prepare.”

Aiden Anderson, 11, in Orlando, Florida, will begin sixth grade at home for two weeks, then happily head out to school in a state that’s among the nation’s worst hot spots for the virus.

“I don’t like that there’s two weeks online,” he said. “At home it’s so easy to get distracted.”

In Littleton, Colorado, 8-year-old Will Asbury is going into third grade. School starts Aug. 24 and he’ll be there in person. There was a distance learning option but Will and his little sister, Luca, wanted to go.

“I’m going to feel good because I get to see my friends. Masks are a bummer but at least we get to play with our friends during recess and see them at lunch,” he said.

Of distance learning, 6-year-old Luca got right to the point: “I didn’t like it.”

She’s hoping for a unicorn mask to wear when she returns to the classroom.

Alec Blumberg is a high school freshman and his sister, Amelia, a high school senior in Great Neck, New York. Their school, for now, decided on full time, at-home learning to start in September with a possible staggered approach in person later on, allowing half the students in at a time.

“I really want to go back. It would be nice to interact with people and have a more separate life at school and home,” Alec said. “But if the school lays out a plan, will the kids follow it? I’m really not sure.”

Amelia, 17, said exactly how responsible students will be is what worries her the most, based on what she’s seen among peers.

“Some people aren’t as careful as others,” she said. “They aren’t following any type of safety measures, which really scares me. But I really want to go back. It’s the last year. We didn’t even get to say goodbye to any of our teachers when we left last year.”

School for Indianapolis, Indiana, seventh-grader Maria Beck started July 30. The 12-year-old is attending online full time. At first, her school district was going to offer some in-person instruction, then changed its mind. There’s been a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in her area.

“I’m a big extrovert,” Maria said of missing face-to-face school. “But so far, it’s been going very well. I do hope we get to go back some day.”

Her third-grade sister, 8-year-old Felicity, said she, too, is OK with distance learning. Among the things she misses most about real school? Lunch.

“I’d be scared that I’d get sick,” she said of returning to school, “but I’d be really happy that I’d be able to go back.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Education

Baker-Berry Library on the campus of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, U.S., on Friday, ...
Amir Vera and Melissa Alonso, CNN

Dartmouth College eliminates undergraduate student loans, replaces them with scholarship grants

Dartmouth College announced Tuesday it was eliminating student loans for undergraduates and replacing them with "expanded scholarship grants," the university said in a news release.
8 days ago
FILE: The U.S. Supreme Court is shown on April 25, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Kevin Dietsc...
MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press

High court rules religious schools can get Maine tuition aid

The Supreme Court has ruled that religious schools can’t be excluded from a Maine program that offers tuition aid for private education.
8 days ago
A Davis County School District getting ready for it's new lawn....
Jed Boal, KSL TV

Davis School District showcases their water saving efforts

Many Utahns are cutting their outdoor watering amid the drought. The Davis School District aims to cut their outdoor water use nearly in half.
14 days ago
Salt Lake Community College...
Madison Swenson, KSL TV

SLCC found to have violated Title IX, Section 504 following pregnancy discrimination investigation

The Salt Lake Community College was found Tuesday to have violated Title IX and Section 504 after the school allegedly encouraged a student to drop a course because she was pregnant, and did not provide her with academic adjustments or necessary services during her pregnancy.
14 days ago
Active shooter training is underway at Roy High School....
Dan Rascon, KSL TV

‘We are preparing for the worst’: Utah officers train for an active shooter in a school

Officers from five police agencies across the Wasatch Front are at Roy High School this week for some critical active shooter training.
16 days ago
(KSL TV)...
Tamara Vaifanua

Teachers sharpening STEM skills at conferences across Utah

School is out for summer, but some Utah teachers are using the time to sharpen their STEM skills.
20 days ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
What Do The Kids Say? K-12 Students Sound Off On School