Kids from across the country sound off on the challenges of learning in a pandemic: 'We probably can't hug each other'

·Senior Editor
·4 min read

“I would rather do school at school, because it’s easier to learn.” Those are the wise words of 12-year-old Kennedy, a seventh grader in Maryland. Still, she’s one of millions of students in the U.S. who will be learning remotely this year — and one of four kids that Yahoo Life checked in with directly to hear their feelings about returning to school, whether from home or in-person, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s a bit of what they had to share…

Noah, 10, New York City 5th grader, remote until hybrid begins on Oct. 1

Going back to in-person school, he says, “I'll feel good because I get to see my friends again that I haven’t [seen] in a couple of months.” But, he adds, “I would rather wait because, everybody is still nervous about the coronavirus and like, it’s slowly going away… so I would rather wait a couple of more days to go back to school.”

And wearing a mask all day? “Well, it's going to be OK, because my mom got this mask that I can be good in. And also, I just got used to wearing a mask. So, it's not that bad.”

Beyond the all-day masking up, Noah’s anticipating some other changes: “Like sanitizers at our desk and we might have to clean it off during midday… And we probably can't like hug each other or shake hands or anything — or else we’d have to use hand sanitizer [after].”

Kennedy, Noah, Juliet and Sofia
The kids who spoke with Yahoo Life, from left, Kennedy, Noah, Juliet and Sofia. (Photo: Yahoo Life)

Juliet, 7, New Jersey, 2nd grade, remote for now

Thinking about her return to the classroom, Juliet says, “I feel excited. But when I was little, I was really, really scared. But now that I’m all grown up, I feel excited.”

She has mixed feelings about the idea of having to wear a mask at school all day, saying, on the one hand, “It's not uncomfortable. Sometimes when we’re at the beach, I didn’t even feel it!” But on the other hand, she adds, “it’s so funny, it might make you uncomfortable on your nose, like once my mom wore it, and her nose hurt.”

But there are challenges with at-home learning, too, Juliet explains. “Sometimes my baby brother makes a lot of noise, it was really hard… Like, if my baby brother’s screaming all day, I can't get my work done.” And then there’s increased concern about doing something incorrectly. “Maybe you don’t do your work on the right day, or sometimes you don’t follow directions by accident,” she says. “That’s why we use pencils, in case we make a mistake.”

The best part of being at home? “I get to do a lot of things I can’t do at school, like I get to go in the basement, and in the basement is our art room.”

Kennedy, 12, 7th grader in Maryland, fully remote

“The best part of going to school at home is that I have a lot of breaks and I get to eat more,” she says. “The worst part about going to school at home is that I have to stare at a computer.”

Meanwhile, she’s taking the following steps to try and fend off the virus: “My mom has me drink hot water, ’cause somebody told her it killed the coronavirus. And she bought me Flintstones gummies — they’re vitamins — to help me build up my immune system.”

Sofia, 9, 4th grade, California, remote for now

“When I think about the coronavirus, it does give me little worries — like, I think about masks and things, but it doesn’t make me too worried, because I know it’s kind of rare to give it to you as long as you wear masks,” Sofia explains. “But it could just ruin your future, maybe.”

Returning to the school building gives her mixed feelings, too. “I would be excited to see my friends in person, but I know that we're going to have to wear a mask and we're going to have to, like, have folders between us and have to be separated six feet apart. So, I'm not excited about that, but I'm excited to see my friends.”

At-home learning has its own difficulties, Sofia says, noting, “It's harder than when I would do it normally at school. Cause I just have a lot of distractions around me, like my dog barking constantly and, like, the dishes being done and all of those things. It's kind of hard to concentrate.” But the best part about being home, she adds, “is that I get to hang out with my family, and see them.”

Video produced by Stacy Jackman

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